Genius Loci: Four Experts Discuss Our Understanding of Place

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Guggenheim Forum: Genius Loci

What is the “spirit of place?” This week, an online panel moderated by Cabinet senior editor Jeffrey Kastner explores how our perceptions of place are colored by the ways in which we imagine and reimagine it according to our own experience. Artist Bani Abidi, radical cartographer William Rankin, and critic Sukhdev Sandhu join Kastner to discuss the ways in which our routes around the world are determined by memory, desire, and cultural context.

How do we negotiate between the representations created by art and the media and our directly observed reality? How have our definitions of the local, the remote, and the exotic changed? With shifting national borders and metropolitan sites marked by rapid development, what new, creative ways are there for locating ourselves?

The discussion unfolds over one week as part of the Guggenheim Forum, the museum’s ongoing series of moderated online discussions catalyzing intelligent conversation on the arts, architecture, and design. Several times each year, experts from a variety of fields inquire into and debate topics related to the museum’s exhibition program. “Genius Loci” will include a one-hour Live Chat with Jeffrey Kastner and William Rankin at 2:00 pm on Thursday, October 3, and is presented in association with the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative's first exhibition, No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, previously on display at the Guggenheim in New York and opening at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Hong Kong, on October 30, 2013.

“Genius Loci” includes as participants an exemplary group of thinkers from the worlds of writing, contemporary art, and radical cartography.

Bani Abidi is an artist who lives and works between Karachi, New Delhi, and Berlin. She has exhibited at galleries including Green Cardamom, London, and Project 88, Mumbai, and in group exhibitions including Documenta 13 (2012). Abidi is a participant in No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia.

William Rankin is assistant professor of the history of science at Yale University. He is also an active cartographer whose maps have appeared in numerous books, magazines, and exhibitions. His current book project is tentatively titled After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century.

Sukhdev Sandhu is a film writer for The Guardian and a former Critic of the Year at the British Press Awards. The author of London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined A City (HarperCollins, 2003), he is Associate Professor of English, Social and Cultural Analysis, at New York University.

Moderator Jeffrey Kastner is senior editor of Cabinet and a regular contributor to Artforum; his essays are forthcoming in catalogues for David Altmejd, Michaël Borremans, and Sarah Sze. Commissioning editor, with Sina Najafi, of the 2013 Venice Biennale catalogue, Kastner’s most recent book is the edited volume Nature (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery, 2012).