the Svada controversy
And speaking of site-specific art, let's take a look at the Svada Manifesto. Now that the debate has finally died down, I think we can look back safely and calmly, without hurting anyone's feelings. I must admit that I was surprised at the level of acrimony that characterised what has now come to be known in certain circles as "the Svada Controversy." I am particularly appaled at the fact that none of Svada's detractors have truly understood, or even tried to understand Svada.
First, why did none of the detractors even attempt an analysis of the phenomenological implications of Svada's deconstruction of the local/global dichotomy? Any understanding of Svada must spring from this fundamental understanding: that Svada's basic goal is not (as some have implied) a destruction of identity in the highly information-saturated enviroment of the global metatext, leading back to an authoritarian narrow-nationalistic conception of space/place/identity, but rather to explore - even create - a topology of negative space. The mapping of these radical, nomadic discursive options is Svada's true goal; the Svada movement, then, not as characterised by normative discourses, but rather as a free flow of experiential, ad-hoc descriptions. The construction of a gridwork of identity overlapping and encompassed by the framing of traditional manifestations of authoritarian "stable" identity is not an intentional aspect of the Svada discourse, though such ephemera may briefly bloom in the early phases of a Svadic movement.
Svada takes place in an ironic non-space: the nowhere/everywhere-spatiality of the global information matrix, and the selfless void of the "browsing" non-individual. Self and identity construction are removed, here, from striated space, rather to be accepted into the radical, smooth space of discursive-topological flow which the global nomad moves through. The being/thinking/experiencing Being is, as should be clear from the manifesto ("1. Not Dada - Svada"), a fundamentally ironic in-der-welt [or rather: non-welt]-zein.
This is, of course, a necessary antagonism to traditional discourses of space/place/identity, and one - if I may be so bold - which has surely come to characterise the neue unsachlichkeit-movement. And yet no criticism has surfaced which attempts to analyse or discuss - let alone mention - these almost heideggerian tendencies of Svada's phenomenological/existential/experiential manifesto. This is why it is so upsetting to those of us close to the Svada movement that most of its detractors claim that Svada is merely deconstructive, destructive, dissolving of categories. It is surely not. Svada takes a third way approach, attempting constructive topological flow through the erection of a new non-specific framework of non-ideologies: "4. We propose three paradigms to frame this otherwise fluid and unstable process: phenomenological/experiential, social/in-stitutional and discursive/even more discursive." Personally, I can think of no better way to begin re-arranging, re-mapping, re-living the ad-hoc topology of being alive in the modern world.