by Lilliana Ramos Collado
Ohio-based artist Ann Hamilton is completing  her Arte Público intervention at the Cabo Rojo Light House titled Línea. I have had the chance to exchange a few ideas with her on the project. What follows are some theoretical sketches written under her spell.
1. Collections and inventories: monumentality of place — The Cabo Rojo Lighthouse belongs to a collection: the collection of prestigious places considered “historical”, chosen as sites for the Arte Público project, but that have become useless with time. Arguably, the Lighthouse of Cabo Rojo is what Jean Baudrillard describes as an “ancient object”, whose sole purpose is “to signify”; it is completely devoid of functionality in a strict sense. Ancient objects are “obsolete” and stand as bearers of the meaning of “time”, a cultural concept. What does “time as cultural concept” stand for? Basically, I say, it stands for the Roman idea of “terminus”: the ancient object marks the beginning and the end of Time, tracing its limits and marking abutments. Origin and Death.
It seems that the Arte Público project has chosen places that are significant in this sense, thought they are out of the way; these places are “symbolic”, but are no longer intelligible; maybe what they mean no longer matters because society has just moved on. In fact, the call for proposals published by Arte Público clearly states the project´s purpose of restoring meaning to objects and places that seem deserving because of their singularity or monumentality, but whose cultural meaning has been lost (one is reminded of the arcane mystery that surrounds the statues of Easter Island, whose meaning has been completely lost apparently forever because no memory is left of how to “read” them…). Sigue leyendo