From “You are Here”, “You are here, art is not…” by Michael Petry


Installations are time-based art works. This is a statement that cannot be argued with, as it is one of the two main components of all installations, the other being the active use of space. Those works which are permanent, or on the edge of permanence, should be thought of as site-specific sculptures or paintings (…) The art that exists in an installation is in the experience of the work by the viewer. The viewer creates the art as he or she experiences it. The art in a painting is the object that is the paint, its canvas undersurface, its physicality; for a sculpture it is in its materials, modelling, carving, handling etc., but the art in these plastic works resides in the physical object. The art in a photograph is on the paper, frozen in a moment in time and printed via some medium onto a surface, but the art in an installation is the experience of time in a certain place with the intervention of the artist. The objects that make up the experience may be, and often are, objects that exist, objects that may even be works of art in their own right as sculptures, paintings, videos etc., but the objects are not the artwork that is the installation. It is the experience of them that is the art.”


1) If art in an installation is the experience of the installation rather than the objects that comprise the installation, and if an installation may have objects within it such as paintings, art objects etc., and if the art in a painting resides in its objecthood, what happens to a painting when placed in an installation? Does it keep its art-in-the-objecthood, whilst not contributing to the experience of the installation? Or does it somehow manage to be art as well as add to the ‘experience’ of the installation?
2) Why does the ‘art’ in a painting/ sculpture ‘reside’ in its objecthood rather than the experience of its
3) Why does the ‘art’ in an installation ‘reside’ in the experience of its being and not in its materials, site, etc.?
4) Are not all artworks are ‘time-based’, as all works require a temporal response, and there is no such thing as the instantaneous experience?



What? – empirical, materialistic
Where? – spatial
When? – temporal
Who? – identificatory
Why? – metaphysical
How? – practical
Which? – quantifiable, qualitative


The great questions of philosophy are fundamentally flawed. The questions philosophy asks are already determining the shape and form of the answer.
The structure of the philosophical question determines to a great extent the shape of the answer, indeed expects a certain type of answer, a certain set of parameters.


What is time?
Where is the mind?
Where do we go when we die?
When is the universe going to end?
Who created us?
Why must we die?
How was the world created?
How did we develop language?
Which is the best way to live?


I will try to focus my work on the problems of language.

Language is seen as a ‘hindrance’ to understanding, as if there is some problem inherent within it. (Re: Zen and other Buddhist belief-systems sceptical attitude towards language: moving beyond language)

Possible works with language:

Rhyme, punning, wordplay of many types.

Critique of use of language in philosophy.

Play with language to question the terms of meaning (cognition, visual recognition, contextual understanding).

Critique of the use of language in advertising.

Question what constitutes ‘language’. A broad sense of the word or a narrow linguistic definition? How many (in the broad sense) ‘languages’ are there?

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