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When the Site lost the Plot


  • Justin Barton

  • Paul Chaney

  • Roman Vasseur

  • Nick Ferguson

  • Mark Fisher

  • Dan Fox

  • Ilona Gaynor

  • John Gerrard

  • Shaun Lewin

  • Robin Mackay

  • Yves Mettler

  • Reza Negarestani

  • Andrea Phillips

  • Matthew Poole

  • Benedict Singleton

  • Matthew Watkins


‘Site-specificity’ has never been invoked as frequently and meaninglessly as it is in the art of today, making this volume’s critique and de-mystification a crucial intervention.
– Mostafa Heddaya, Blouin Artinfo International

The critical concept of site-specificity once seemed to harbour the potential for disruption. But site-specific work has become increasingly assimilated into the capitalist logic of regeneration and value creation. The materialist critique of the art object has been shortcircuited by the franchised idiosyncrasies of international nomad flâneurs. And on a planet whose entire surface is mapped and apped, the concept of ‘site’ itself becomes ever more problematic.

How can we do justice to the particularity of local sites while unearthing their material conditions? What do a contemporary ‘geo-philosophy’ and the historical legacy of site-specific art have to offer each other? Can we develop methods for the controlled unpacking of the local into the global, avoiding trivial reconciliations between local sites and their global conditions? When Site Lost the Plot charts some of the ways in which site continues to be a concern for contemporary practice; and introduces the concept of ‘plot’ as an alternative approach.

Alongside artists discussing their practice and their approach to site and plot, contributors from various disciplines introduce concepts from cartography, mathematics, film, fiction, design, and philosophy.