Tate Modern Conference

Transforming Place: Site and Locality in Contemporary Art

Tecoh, a 17th-century hacienda in the Yucatan jungle transformed by Jorge Pardo, is the departure point for this symposium examining the complexities of place, locality, culture and ecology in the commissioning and production of site-specific works

Tecoh Ochil main house living room and terrace

Tecoh Ochil: Tabernaculo guest house at night

Tecoh Ochil: main house roof garden at dusk

Through the lens of contemporary art, design and architecture, speakers address site specificity, place making, commissioning and the institutional models needed to explore these issues. Opening up the idea of the expanded ‘sculptural house’, the symposium will highlight the experimental production process at the heart of Teco, which draws out questions around the potential of architecture to transform not only physical space but also to enable a different way of being in a place.

The tension between cultural preservation and revitalisation, and relationships between the artist’s studio practice and the local production networks will also be discussed, drawing on the folding of site and studio during the six year production period for Tecoh.

Confirmed speakers are: David Adjaye, Jorge Pardo, Alex Coles, Michael Govan, Huib Haye van der Werf, Pamela Lee, Claudia Madrazo, and Miguel Angel Corzo.

About Tecoh

In 2003, Claudia Madrazo commissioned Jorge Pardo to intervene into a 17th-century Hacienda in the Mayan jungle of Yucatan, Mexico, in order to transform it into a work of art.  The intention of this exercise was to co-create a live work of art that explored the frontiers of art and the aesthetic creation of daily life, including design, architecture, cooking, conversation and other social expressions. In addition, it included investigating the process of cultural creation.

This symposium is organised in collaboration with the TAE Foundation (Transformación, Arte y Educación, A.C.), a non-profit organisation based in Mexico and focused on cultural evolution through the integration of Art and Nature for social& development and Alex Coles, Professor of Transdisciplinary Studies, School of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Huddersfield.


13.00 Welcome by Nora Razian and Alex Coles

13.05 Jorge Pardo in conversation with Claudia Madrazo and Michael Govan
The discussion will focus on Pardo’s past and recent work, including the seminal 4166 Sea View Lane 1998 and significant influences on Jorge’s work such as Donald Judd’s Marfa, Texas. Speakers will highlight the context and development of Tecoh as an open artwork and the impact of this on curatorial practice.

13.35 Pamela Lee: The Global Hacienda
This paper will use Tecoh as an example to consider what the historic form of the hacienda might tell us about site-specifity and the global art world.

14.00 Alex Coles and Jorge Pardo: Studio in the Yucatan
Pardo initially moved part of his studio to nearby Merida to work on Tecoh – recently relocating his entire studio there. The conversation will focus on how local conditions impacted upon the studio's working method during the design and fabrication of the hacienda.

14.25 Discussion and Q&A with audience chaired by Michael Govan

15.00 Break

15.20 Introduction to session two by Nora Razian

15.25 Miguel Angel Corzo: Conversations that Matter
This presentation will focus on the expanded dimensions of Tecoh, particularly how its physical components create a discursive ‘space-time’, engaging the audience in a creative exchange about spaces that reflect the experience of living in an evolving cultural landscape.

15.50 David Adjaye and Huib Haye van der Werf in conversation
This discussion will look at pedagogy in relation to place and architecture, focusing on the impact of Tecoh and other site specific works on pedagogical practice, as well as opening up a dialogue on the relationship between architecture and art.

16.20 Discussion and Q&A with audience chaired by Michael Govan

17.00 End

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

18 October 2013 at 13.00–17.00