Dexter Sinister presents ``Under the Rubric `Envelopes,' '' tomorrow THURSDAY JANUARY 28, 7 PM at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, 1399 Johnston Street (Granville Island) as part of the exhibition An Invitation to An Infiltration at the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver. Dexter Sinister will talk about some recent furnitures. This is the third of five consecutive evening events. Details for each will be announced the night before together with a brief preparatory text:

In an astute summary of Themerson's intentions, curator Mike Sperlinger recently not-ed that all the talk of ``clarification of meaning'' is essentially parodic. The clarification that is actually happening, he suggests, is that it's impossible to ``truly'' clarify meaning because ``meaning is always going to escape and proliferate.''

In his small book The Shape of Time, for example, the art historian George Kubler proposed a model which broke apart and reconstituted the prevailing compartmentalization of the arts. In his new system, architecture and packaging --- both essentially containers --- were conflated under the rubric ``Envelopes,'' all small solids and containers under ``Sculpture,'' and all work on a flat plane under ``Painting.'' These re-classifi-cations already fell within Kubler's broader call to supplant the regular distinctions of Useless (=art) and Useful (=design) with those of Desirable (=objects that last) and Non-desirable (=objects that don't last). His new system emphasized objects that stood the test of time, regardless of whether they fulfilled a more quantifiable purpose (a hammer) or a less quantifiable one (a painting). Alternatively, in \textit{What is a designer}, the self-described cabinet-maker Norman Potter distinguished between ``Things,'' ``Places,'' and ``Messages.'' As far as I know, neither system was pursued beyond these two books, but they remain useful places to begin the productive destabilization of prevailing classification.


Posted 27 January 2010 13:38:30


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