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Illuminating History by Lily Díaz, 25.IX.2000

become relevant to the understanding of art. From this point of view, features of an art object, or art work, such as the treatment and organisation of space, can be seen as related to the actual site for which the work was intended, and not to some obscure symbolic reason.3 5Objects resulting from group efforts, such as Medieval illuminated manuscripts or Renaissance frescoed rooms, can yield information about how collaborative efforts at different times, and in different societies, were created. In addition, since the focus is on the relationship between the individual and the environment, an approach like this can potentially reveal a submerged history that is "almost silent, virtually unsuspected either by its observers, or its participants."3 6

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In order to better describe the relationships between an individual and her environment, we need a third component. This takes shape through the individuals acting as part of the networks within a community. That is, in order for an object to be seen as art, an understanding and consideration of it as art, prior to its viewing, is necessary. As is pointed by the work of Group Material, in contemporary art, much of this apprehension is constructed in the framework of the exhibition space.

Whether it be a gallery, or a museum, a public space that is dynamically configured for the purpose of showing art, or the electronic space of the Internet, these spaces are not neutral grounds, but rather, they embody within their networks a host of social institutions and sometimes contradictory and competing interests.XXX(Expand)

From this notion of discourse, two new relations are derived: Artist/context and Context/object. These allow us to follow, for example, how the mode and venue of exhibition effects the work of the creator on the object: A movie is determined by the context in which movies are produced and shown (e.g. the film industry, film theatres and large audiences). This is very different from the production, for example, of a

IMAGE imgs/index24.gif 34. Alpers, S., "Is Art History", Daedalus, Vol 106, Summer 1977, p. 1. 35. Alpers, S., "Is Art History?", p., 2. Insert note about Panowsky here. 36. Braudel, F., in "Is Art History", S., Alpers, p., 8.