This paper derives from our pedagogical interest in exploring ‘site’ through the concepts of exchange, proximity and temporality in the making of an artwork. In the Temporary Practices Minor in Art + Design at AUT University, our programme is underpinned by four key frameworks; site, participation, publication, and collaboration. We propose a characterisation of site as an around, about. Site in this conception is not bound by the usual technical depictions of physical site (with edges or borders), but is formed by way of distribution, interaction, and exchange. It is an active bringing-together where site relations are generated in the ‘when and where’. For us, When-with modalities of distribution in social art projects create a perimeter, and Where-with relations form via exchange and proximity to conceive these around, about sites. The public is critical in this framing of site; their receiving and reception provisionally constructs a perimeter around, about a given project and what we consider the site-of-exchange. A site-perimeter can endlessly extend and stretch like a rubber band, predicating the idea that nothing is out of scope. As artists and educators, we assemble temporary communities through projects that highlight local goings-on, distribute ephemera, and involve passers-by in chance encounters. The around, about understanding of site stretches to hold these points of contact, even if only temporarily. This expansion and contraction of proximity is understood as a relational tension that can form and reform different ways of being-together across distances and time scales. Like George Perec in Species of Spaces, who takes us from the page to the bed, to the bedroom, onwards and outwards to the street, the neighbourhood and beyond, our focus is on how the site-of-exchange extends intimate relations to local-social relations, ‘past frontiers’ and out into world-relations.
Emily O’Hara, Monique Redmond and Lucy Meyle are artists and lecturers who work together in the School of Art and Design at Auckland University of Technology in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. They make work in the inter-related fields of socially engaged art, object-making, installation and publication, frequently employing acts of invitation, exchange, participation and reciprocity in their practices. These methods and modes of practising make up the field of Temporary Practices.
Emily O’Hara is a spatial designer who works through extended duration iterative processes in the form of; performance-with-installation, photography, moving image and drawing. Through these modes she explores ideas of temporality—particularly as connected to lunar and solar cycles—alongside notions of language, silence and ineffability in relation to mourning, the maternal and otherness.
Monique Redmond works across social art practice, installation, temporary and event-based practices, which are formed primarily through collaborative, material, and photographic processes—focusing on the event as a durational space for everyday gestures of exchange and reciprocity. Collective/solo research is commonly published through durational art projects (exchange-events).
Lucy Meyle uses sculpture and publication as sites for re-imaging/re-imagining our relations to what is human and more-than-human in this climate emergency. Humour and playfulness form key aspects of her works, acting to re-orientate perspectives or subjective interpretations through propositions that seem absurd, yet which materially demonstrate their own potential.