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The Institute of

The Institute of

Exploring the psychological and social narratives — the institutional structures — that allow seemingly disparate institutions to occupy the same building.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA
May-July 1989

The building that housed the prior incarnation of Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art was formerly a police station. The installation was conceived as a section through the building, and physically occupied five levels: the main mezzanine, three stair landings, and the sub-basement (used as storage space, but opened for this exhibit).

The exhibition does not attempt to provide a definitive history of the ICA nor the Boston Police Department. It makes use of history, reinscribing aspects of the past and the present back onto the building. It explores the psychological and social narratives — the institutional structures — that allow seemingly disparate institutions to occupy the same building. It is the similarity, nor the disparity, between institutions, and between institutions and architecture, that allows this interchangibility of inhabitation and management. Architecture participates in the managing of subjects because its structuring is not dissimilar to the structuring of the institutions that it “houses.”

It is in this manner that institutional architecture (and institutional language) functions — both as and under authority, both structuring and being structured by institutions. This structuring is examined in this installation through the tactics of placement and displacement:

Design: LeClair Lucas