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Space Exploration: In Rejection of Frontiers

About the Exhibition


Aug 30, 2022 – Aug 30, 2023


Tisch Library / Medford

Is the architecture we inhabit in everyday life neutral? Many argue that the answer is yes: that built space itself does not imply or enforce social meanings, but serves as a background upon which social formations create meaning. A bedroom provides a place to sleep, for example, but has no inherent connections to experiences we might associate with it, such as family, (dis)comfort, or privacy. Others, however, would posit that bedrooms are constructed with such experiences al-ready in mind—explicitly shaping our emotional reactions to them.

These differing interpretations of the built environment hint at the complexities and subtleties at play in the deceptively simple task of inhabiting spaces. Informed by radical, theoretical approach-es, Space Exploration: In Rejection of Frontiers mines TUAG’s permanent collection for represen-tations that subtly and powerfully confront reductive, spatial frameworks with nuance and curiosi-ty.

In The Poetics of Space, the philosopher Gaston Bachelard considers how psychological experi-ence complicates physical, spatial divisions. He writes: “How concrete everything becomes in the world of the spirit when an object, a mere door, can give images of hesitation, temptation, desire, security, welcome and respect.” Read by an architect—or, perhaps more accurately, a fugitive from architecture—structural binaries (such as outside/inside, objective/subjective, space/time) are nei-ther as well-defined nor as clearly delineated as common social, legal, and philosophical classifica-tions indicate.

Curated by Tufts University Art Galleries 2020 Graduate Fellow, Gray Golding, MA22.