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press: rirkrit tiravanija: mezcal vs. pulque

In a 2004 interview in this publication, on the subject of utopian concepts, Rirkrit Tiravanija stated: “it is hard for me to discuss the idea of a model because I think that one is already capable of existing in it, so in that sense it is about how you think of life”1—a comment made in the artist’s characteristic overly understated way. There’s an aspect of Bartleby to his broad inhabitation of arts and cultural institutions over the years since, in which he shows up to squat the given situation and, by his occupation, deconstructs the societally appropriate use for such. Melville’s character reveals the enervating ennui of the reproduction of law, Tiravanija’s, the vacuum of institutional pretense. His dark night of the soul must bring him to a place where all the situations he has set up to circumvent an institutionally encumbered society stare back at him as models in and of themselves. It’s a dilemma that never really gets resolved in his work and yet may be the most important byproduct of it, because he’s canny enough at this point to anticipate the oceanic reabsorption of his sandcastle models. This lends a monumental poignance to their provisional existence, where the poetry of place actually resides.