Site-Specificity for Inexistent Worlds: On Post-Critical Exaptation


In Šum #20 Adaptation, 2023. Link

Since there is no thinkable thought without a world to localize the possibility of thinking that thought, the overcoming of epistemological and axiological obstacles is dependent on modeling inexistent worlds from which to enable the non-adaptive encoding of sensitivity for a speculative condition. Here, there is a great deal of potential for the domain of art since it is a field, unlike the sciences, with no disciplinary fidelity to explaining the ‘what is-ness’ of reality. That said, capricious leaps of trivial speculation into the purely delirious realm offer only a cheap escape from the present, evacuating art of its political dimensions under the unconditional celebration of imagination. At the juncture between historical worlds, specifically the inherited conditions of Euromodernity that through its techno-historical path dependencies confronts us with inhabiting an environment in common for the first time in human history, and an as of yet unworlded planetary epoch, through what means can we sense and make-sense from such an entangled, multi-scalar reality that cannot be inductively accessed because it is without precedent? In a movement between the diagnostic recognition of conceptual-material what-is-ness of this world (the stuff at hand), and propositional experimentation with what-could be otherwise realized, we may apply the idea of ‘situated speculation’. Situated speculation amounts to the need to locate non-adaptive encodings of inexistent worlds from within which to comparatively sense and perceive, yet this need to ‘locate’ is not bound to a given location in the here and now necessarily, but rather demands the invention of models to localize and offer semantic valences to ideas embodied by artifacts. This can be seen as a partial continuity of the genealogy of site-specificity in artistic production, which broadly speaking, adopts a context-sensitive ethos, including the inseparability of the adjudication of an artwork from its material and discursive conditions of exposition. The position adopted here is to assert that this context-sensitivity and a ‘politics of location’ emanating from the legacy of site-specific artistic practices does not necessarily limit us to given sites readily available in the here and now that can be experienced, but can also adopt an abductive, non-adaptive function when shifting the criteria of situational attachment from the place of location to procedures of localization.

Patricia Reed, "Site-Specificity for Inexistent Worlds: On Post-Critical Exaptation," in Šum #20 Adaptation, 2023. Link