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New publication from Dr Kristen Kreider, 'Poetics & Place: The Architecture of Sign, Subjects and Site'

Posted on 05/01/2014


Poetics & Place

The Architecture of Sign, Subjects and Site

by Dr. Kristen Kreider

How do artworks 'speak', and how do we 'listen' and respond? These questions underlie the investigation here of Roni Horn's Pair Object III: For Two Rooms, Emily Dickinson's later manuscripts, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Passages Paysages, Fiona Templeton's Cells of Release and Jenny Holzer's Lustmord. The tenets of critical performance, art-writing and site-writing inform the critical method used in Poetics and Place. Each chapter is dedicated to one of these five artworks, and is arranged in order to fulfill three main objectives: to understand how the artworks generate meaning through a material poetics in relation to place; to develop a critical methodology for engaging with them; and to investigate their ethical potential and political imperative. All of this, ultimately, facilitates the development of a triadic relation between theoretical concepts of sign, subjects and site at the crossover between poetry, art and spatial practices. This extends each artwork beyond the dyad of a critical encounter in order to offer - and allow others to grasp - an appreciation of how the artwork figures meaningfully, as well as configures meaning, in the wider world of objects and things. The book concludes with a discussion of the ethics of reading from the second person, opening up a debate concerning the role of empathy within contemporary, politically-engaged practices in art and poetry.

Publication Date: 18 Dec 2013 | ISBN-10: 1780763379 | ISBN-13: 978-1780763378

Now available to order on Amazon here

‘Kreider probes poetics and place like a tongue testing a sensitive tooth: with care, dedication and minute attention to detail.’

Maria Fusco, Chancellor's Fellow, Edinburgh College of Art, UK

‘This book makes words break open the order of things. It is intense and meticulous thinking; indeed, it shows you what research can be. If your care is for art writing and the relations we make between ourselves, our cultural objects, practices and theories, then you must read this book, and read it yet again.’

Yve Lomax, Professor of Art Writing, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK

‘In Poetics and Place, Kristen Kreider develops a “material poetics”, a way of thinking and writing with and through the meaningful qualities of matter as these emerge in art. In closely argued and eloquent passages focused on work by artists ranging from Emily Dickinson to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Jenny Holzer, Kreider’s propositions unfold through empathic reading and multi-sensory experience. Simply, the book is compelling; it animates a reader’s desire to explore the material and spatial effects of texture and text, situation and site, visuality and voice, as they intertwine in the production of meaning. Never losing sight of the ethical and political imperatives of “listening” closely to art, Poetics and Place provides a timely intervention that connects sensuous empathy with social engagement and reiterates the responsibility of critical writing in the present, where the “silence of the unsayable” threatens to overwhelm at every turn.’

Marsha Meskimmon, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Theory, Loughborough University School of the Arts, UK

‘In a climate in which entitlement to place is so tensely contested, in which people are subtly and routinely excluded from political space, we urgently need a criticism capable of addressing the meanings of social environments, ways of speaking which understand the relation between language and its defining sites. In this acutely original contribution to the criticism of situational poetics, Kristen Kreider goes a long way to providing just such a language. Through a series of stimulating readings of site-specific works – from Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts to Fiona Templeton’s activist texts – Kreider arrives at an image of the expressive subject which is properly relational. Her book should be read by anybody who wants to understand how artistic language might negotiate a contemporary politics of place.’

David Herd, Professor of Modern Literature, University of Kent, UK 


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