A Pattern Language: Intimacy Gradient

21st Nov–19th Dec 2004

Installation shot of 'A Pattern Language: Intimacy Gradient', 2004

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Carol Bove - November 21st to December 19th, 2004

HOTEL presents ‘A Pattern Language: Intimacy Gradient’, an installation using sound, sculpture, furniture and drawing, by New York based artist Carol Bove.

In any building – house, office, public building, summer cottage – people need a gradient of settings, which have different degrees of intimacy. A bedroom or boudoir is most intimate; a back sitting room or study less so; a common area or kitchen more public still; a front porch or entrance room most public of all. When there is a gradient of this kind, people can give an encounter different shades of meaning, by choosing its position on the gradient very carefully. In a building which has its rooms so interlaced that there is no clearly defined gradient of intimacy, it is not possible to choose the spot for any particular encounter so carefully; and it is therefore impossible to give the encounter this dimension of added meaning by the choice of space. This homogeneity of space, where every room has a similar degree of intimacy, rubs out all possible subtlety of social interaction in the building. [Alexander, Christopher, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Oxford University Press, 1977)],

The term 'Intimacy Gradient' has become sociological shorthand for 'improving the emotional usability of a social space', after this key passage in Christopher Alexander's essay. Carol Bove has taken this notion as a guiding principal for her exhibition at HOTEL, which is congruous with her ongoing investigation into the philosophies and aesthetics of the late '60s and 1970s. In the main HOTEL gallery space, Bove will create a reflective environment designed for contemplative listening, reading, and looking, and will include sculptural installation and a visual peep-show. The room will be permeated with a spoken-word soundtrack - a recording of pioneering Orientalist philosopher Alan Watt's 'The Future is Ecstasy' - an essay which was originally published in Playboy magazine in 1971. It follows a fictive narrator's impressions of the future, as he 'reports back' on the sociological landscape of the year 1990. The narrative voice for Bove's audio version is 'F.W', one of the patrons of her work, and his specific vocal accent and delivery, along with the relationship of ‘F.W.’ to the artist, heightens and complicates the already estranged message of human development in the article. The soundtrack has been pressed onto vinyl, and the records will be available throughout the exhibition.

Other works will be displayed around the domestic framework of rooms that surround the gallery, including watercolour and 'string' drawings also referencing 70s visual material. Bove was born in 1971 in Berkley, California and brought up during the first wave of progressive intellectualism in the USA, and this period of cultural, philosophical and sexual change is the starting point for her ongoing examination into the codes, constructs and 'coloured' memories that make up a society’s image of itself.