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Ian Robertson
Watershed II: Place & Displacement


Unit 2 Gallery

September 30 - November 7, 2004

curation, two pieces in exhibition

Watershed II was a Crossover-UK project

Visit the Crossover website


Crossover-UK, of which I was chairman until 2005, is comprised of artists, designers and academics who aim to facilitate the exchange of ideas and research between communities of different cultural origins and backgrounds. Using the visual arts as a vehicle for initiating discussion across disciplines, in order to address questions of social and ecological concern both locally and globally.

The key platforms for disseminating of Watershed II were exhibitions, artists’ talks and a symposium at the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

My contribution to Watershed II consisted of a reflective enquiry into the relationship between our "real" experience of place and ways in which place is imagined, constructed and represented visually, and the role of aesthetic, libidinal, and ideological forms in this process.

Of the two pieces submitted one dealt with representations of the East End of London, evidencing differences and oppositions in the representation of place, the second dealt with representations of destruction, in this instance the bombing of Hiroshima.

Both outcomes re-engage with formalism through the writing of Terry de Duve and with phenomenology through the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, specifically his notion of situatedness.

Slideshow: Ian Robertson - Watershed II: Place & Displacement

I also curated as part of Watershed II the exhibition Place & Displacement mapping out the following questions, that were taken up in the Whitechapel symposium:
Head Space - psychic content of space, actual versus imagined experience.
Far Away and Nearby - place and identity, boundaries/separations, how does this affect social and cultural relations?
Routes Through - means and paths used to transverse space order our relationships in specific ways.
The Social Life of Space - what makes space social and how does this affect the way it mediates interactions played out within it?

Other venues for Watershed II events were The Ecology Centre in Mile End Park, Furniture Works at London Metropolitan University and The Whitechapel.

Watershed II was funded by Arts Council England and the Scottish Arts Council.

back to Ian Robertson home page

London Metropolitan University