A Case for Boston as a Liquid Not a Solid

A gardenA paper presented at CAA 2006 for a panel entitled “Interrogating Boston as a Site for Contemporary Art”. Artists discussed include Teri Rueb, Glowlab, the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, and the Sifting the Inner Belt project. The paper was later published in the journal “Rhizomes”.

This paper makes a case for the city of Boston as a liquid, not a solid. This means that, when thinking about identity, the complexity of something like a site, place or city requires a kind of artistic interrogation that is radically different from the law or the monument. It necessitates the collaborative construction of a liquid identity: fluid, dispersed, provisional, temporary. Leaky and destabilized at every moment. Simply put, life escapes the solid. It always already exceeds the weight and mass of that which purports to symbolize it or represent it, whether through art, policy or statistics.

(Creative Commons license)