Marcelo Cidade: Somewhere, Elsewhere, Anywhere, Nowhere
By orchestrating interventions in the built environment, Kadist artist-in-residence, Marcelo Cidade (b.1979), challenges the limits of the urban form. Following a generation of Brazilian artists who are increasingly unconvinced by the ideals of modernist architecture, Cidade produces offset typologies that propose and anticipate a reordering of the urban aesthetic. His application of anarchitecture evinces site-specific works that engage with socio-political and socio-economic transformations. Occurring both in the gallery and in the streets, these works often blur the otherwise fixed distinctions between private and public space.
For his residency at Kadist, Cidade borrowed from Guy Debord’s theory of the derive—a method of urban drifting that mapped affective and psychogeographic paths of movement through the city. Cidade began and ended each day of his residency roaming the mutable topography of San Francisco without purpose or direction, without the guidance of a map, and without prior experience of living in or having visited the city before. This fresh perspective allowed him to perceive the city through unexpected encounters and accidents instead of through preconceived expectations or destinations. The juxtaposition of San Francisco’s fenced-in parking lots, old train lines, and empty buildings, with the massive increase in local development, have shaped a physical, emotional, and mental map of Cidade’s experience of the city. From its aesthetic contours, to its psychic atmospheres, this experience of San Francisco has presented a series of dichotomies such as the relationships between location and dislocation, permanence and entropy, chaos and order, and the concrete and the contingent.
Somewhere, Elsewhere, Anywhere, Nowhere responds to these contradictions with a gesture of displacement. For the exhibition, Cidade has excavated the top layer of existing concrete from 450 Hayes Street, a past section of the Central freeway, current parking lot, and future condominium development site. The cut shape mirrors the exact floorplan of the Kadist gallery, where the exhumed concrete material has been relocated to fill every square inch of the gallery space. Through this concrete graft, Cidade inextricably links the city with the artwork. Cidade’s installation observes while it also inscribes an entropic building situation within this specific place in the city, and simultaneously, any place in any city. What was once a freeway destabilized during the 1989 earthquake, is now empty parking lot awaiting imminent demolition, and will soon transform into a new construction. And just as the lot was once defined by not being located anywhere else, so now it becomes repositioned and displaced at Kadist, at once somewhere, elsewhere, anywhere, and nowhere.