The Interpositionist Manifesto


–verb (used with object)
1. to place between; cause to intervene: to interpose an opaque body between a light and the eye.
2. to put (a barrier, obstacle, etc.) between or in the way of.
3. to put in (a remark, question, etc.) in the midst of a conversation, discourse, or the like.
4. to bring (influence, action, etc.) to bear between parties, or on behalf of a party or person.
–verb (used without object)
5. to come between other things; assume an intervening position or relation.
6. to step in between parties at variance; mediate.
7. to put in or make a remark by way of interruption.


A whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies forexploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians offtheir predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness ofthe urban landscape. (Joseph Hart, Utne Reader July/August 2004)

quale (pl. qualia)

A property, such as whiteness, considered independently fromthings having the property.

It seems implausible that our society could be gravely mistaken in its beliefs and at the same time that we would be alone in noticing the fact. We stifle our doubts and follow the flock because we cannot conceive of ourselves as pioneers of hitherto unknown, difficult truths.

--- Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy, 13

There are many truths, but we do not seek to question them. We seek only answers. Those who only seek answers are artists, or, in that they choose to depict the truth, are instead representationists. These depictions of truth, whether they are symbolic in their ethnography, or complex in their contemporary practice, have evolved from thousands of years of representative tradition. To suggest that we should stop seeking answers and seek only questions is to be foolish. Dissolving the ‘art world’ will not come to pass because man is a curious creature. There will always be those who will only depict the truth.

Leading such a one-sided practice to life leaves much to be desired. Questioning the truth, which is often difficult to bear, can have a reward just as fulfilling as the finality of
an ‘answer’. It can reveal new truths and it can reveal new ways of thinking, seeing, hearing and experiencing. Those who choose to question these truths are the interpositionists.

The interpositionists are not artists. They have formal training as artists – with a Fine Art curriculum – but the intention is not to create an object without context, to be viewed without context and to be experienced without context. They have more in common with the design fields than with the traditional fine arts. Their intention is to create an experience with context. This means that you will never see an interpositionist’s work by itself, in a gallery, during the operating hours defined by the society in which it would reside.

They do not create their work because they enjoy doing so. They are as selfless as builders can be and never expect any direct compensation for their interpositions. They consider their work a success when their audience participates in the site rituals that are designed within each interposition.

They may receive public funding for their interpositions as their work exists in the public realm, but it is understood that not everyone would experience the interposition the same way. Most will not understand it at all. This does not mean that this is an inaccessible work; it only means that the people experiencing it have yet to transcend their level of experience. Wolfgang von Goethe wrote three rules for his phenomenological method; three rules that represent three levels of experience. The first is to make observations of the world. The second level is to question the conditions of those observations, and the third is to question the observation itself.

Everything the interpositionists create is permanent, but it is not so permanent as to be preserved. Their work will knowingly fall into disrepair from consumption and weathering. It will not be repaired. In time, this allows for a new interposition to take its place over an old one.

The Interpositionists merge the fields of landscape architecture, philosophy and psychogeography. They design inhabitable spaces where qualia are physically manifested.
Their instruments of engagement include time, perception, space, multiplicity, texture, color, inter-relational objects and people. They come in between things and bridge toward things.

Interpositionists are not specialists. What qualia they choose to study, emulate or synthesize are of their own choosing. An interpositionist may become well known for a particular set of qualia, but they always think of themselves as builders and not celebrities. Their practice has tangible constructions and not superficial glorifications. They may be proud of their work but they will not glorify it. Glorifying work accepts the truth and does not question it.

All interpositionists are peers and are thus accessible to one another. No one is less or more superior in their bearing. They leave their mark on the landscape with humility. Their work does not live until it is inhabited but does not necessarily die when it is abandoned. Some work may not even be born until it has succumbed to decay. The interpositionist has the foresight to design the work to evolve, or for it to devolve. The interposition’s death can be identified when all the distinguishing marks of the work have either disappeared or are unrecognizable from the original intent of the work. This may take decades.

Not all of their work will be built. Some of it will be parasitic and grow on the foundations of others. Some of it will seem so esoteric to suggest the interpositionist has done nothing at all. Most of their work will have a ritualistic component to the physical manifestation of the interposition. This may be a trial of passage, a rite of commemoration, or an observance of introspection. This ritual is not theater and it is not performance art.

The interpositionists may not be remembered for the work they construct but their work will live on in the presence of their audience. In time, as a twist of fate, representationists may choose to depict interpositionism but the interpositionists are not interested in the preservation of their culture. Their reason for making is the demonstration of the physical quale in the now: always changing, always just out of reach.


// Jeremi Bigosinski / 18 May 2010