Critical Spatial Practice

Palimpsest Performances (2010-2014)
  • Sarah Breen Lovett (with WeiZen Ho, Alan Schacher, Honi Ryan, Ben Denham, Monika Books & Clare Cooper) | Woodford Academy, Woodford NSW Australia

  • Palimpsest Performances, supported by the Blue Mountains City of the Arts Trust Cultural Grants Program 2014, is the first series of contemporary art performances at Woodford Academy, exploring ways of simultaneously drawing forth the past and layering present interpretations of the unique site. Rather than seeing the retelling of historic knowledge of the site as paramount, three sets of contemporary artists will create alternative narrative constructs that sit at the threshold between the real and imaginary, the experiential and ideatic, the human and machinic. Through various communication techniques with and through the site, the performances question notions of belonging, and the complexities arising from the creation of new narrative structures when the recorded historic significance of a site is so vast. The chosen performers all have a sensitivity of working with site and an agility in using various communication devices that at once engage and question the role of the spectator within the site as part of the alternative narrative construct.


    Dr Sarah Breen Lovett is Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Manager of the Future Building Initiative at Monash University, funded by the Faculties of Art, Design and Architecture and Engineering.  With a prominent art practice and curatorial career, she has been exhibited in many international and national exhibitions and festivals. Notably her curatorial project, Expanded Architecture was held at CarriageWorks Sydney, The Rocks Pop up, Harry Seidler’s Sydney CBD buildings, with symposium at the Museum of Sydney. Sarah was also co-curator on the Cinecity Architectural Film competitions, it rose to international attention with judges such as Bernard Tschumi, Zaha Hadid, Jane Rendell and Juhani Pallasmaa.  Writing on substantial curatorial projects has been published, including Expanded Architecture as in Bauhaus Edition 47.


    This project explores Rendell’s ideas of critical spatial practice, where various historic layers are re-interpreted through ritual, and myth making. It reflects upon Hill’s ideas of immaterial architectures, where sounds from the site, voice and instrumentation create acoustic layerings that alter experience of site.i It examines Böhme’s notions of atmospheres, how the experience of site is not just informed by the architecture, or the known history, but also by what each of the practitioners and audience members brings to the project. Where they have been and what they have done is seen as contributory in the process of meaning making, and experience of site.

    i Jonathan Hill, Immaterial Architecture, (London; New York: Routledge, 2006).

    ii Jane Rendell, ‘Site-Writing: Critical Spatial Practice,’ in Expanded Spatial Practices: A symposium exploring the conditions and possibilities for cross-disciplinary approaches to spatial practice ed. Linda Walker and John Barbour (South Australia: UniSA, 2009).

    iii Gernot Böhme, ‘Fundamental Concept of a New Aesthetics,’ Thesis Eleven 36, no. 1 (1993).

    Critical Spatial Practices
    Socially Engaged Art


    Siegfried Ebeling, ‘Space as Membrane’, (London: The Architectural Association, 1926/2010)
    Frederick Kiesler, ‘On Correalism and Biotechnique’, (1939)
    Laszlo MoholyNagy, ‘The New Vision, from Material to Architecture’, (New York, 1932)

    Other projects:
  • not nothing (August 2019)
  • Stori Mwd (A Story of Mud), (2019)
  • Time on Site (2019)
  • Caring for Communities (2017-2019)
  • Matter of the Manor (2015-19)
  • Viscous Myths (2017/2018)
  • The Pass (October 2017–June 2018)
  • Portal Zaryadye: A Portal Not Only to Heaven, But Aslo To Hell (24 July 2018 – 12 July 2018)
  • Bamboo dialogues (2016)
  • Hanging Matters (2014)
  • Civic Pedagogy, learning as critical spatial practice (2019)
  • A Weird-Tender in progress (2019)
  • A walk in your words (25.01.2019)
  • Text-isles: sowing an idea, October (2018)
  • Objects removed for study (2018)
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Request for the unrequested voluntary interlinguisticality (2017)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • a place called … (Spring 2017)
  • Uppland (2016-18)
  • P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces (2016)
  • Music for Masterplanning (2016-17)
  • In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Having not felt like eating, but eaten, I sat down to eat / tea … (2016)
  • Alternative Arrangements: Walking the Border in Ireland (2016 – ongoing)
  • The First World Congress of the Missing Things (2014)
  • Private Choices, Public Spaces (2014)
  • A Game of Dominoes (2013)
  • Lina & Gio: the last humanists (February-June 2012)
  • Learning-through-Touring (2012)
  • Empty Words Build Empty Homes (2012)
  • Ridley’s (2011)
  • Palimpsest Performances (2010-2014)
  • Expanded Architecture (2010-2014)
  • Negotiating Conflict: Bordering Practices in a Divided Beirut (2010 – 2014)
  • Unfixing Place: A Study of Istanbul through Topographical Practices (2008)
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