CLUI Exhibit Featured in Holland
First of a Series of Planned International Exhibitions

1137 Installation view of the CLUI exhibit created for the Witte de With center for contemporary art, Rotterdam. CLUI photoIN SPRING 2000, THE CLUI created an exhibit for the Witte de With gallery in Rotterdam, Holland. Part of a larger exhibition called Scripted Spaces, the CLUI installation featured fifty images from the CLUI Archive, arranged in thematic sections throughout the upstairs wing of the nonprofit cultural center, located in the heart of that superlative industrial city.

The CLUI installation was entitled The Perceptual Arena of the American Landscape, and examined different types of fictive, or enscripted landscapes in the United States, from outdoor art environments to industrial emergency training grounds. The photographs were arranged into sections called "overlooks," each with an interpretive plaque describing the images placed on the facing wall. As with some other CLUI exhibits, without the ability to take visitors to all these locations, the photographs served as surrogates for the sites.

Wilhelm Schuermann, a curator and art collector, participated in the exhibit by displaying some of his remarkable image/artifact collection in vitrines in the gallery, such as material related to the re-archeology of the Cecil B. De Mille 10 Commandments film location site in Nipomo, California, including an eight millimeter format trailer for the film.

The CLUI installation took up a few thousand square feet, about a quarter of the Witte de With gallery space. The other half of the top floor featured an installation by Norman Klein and others (Norman Klein is the Los Angeles-based theorist of urban space and the "scripted" spaces of architecture and animation). Other installations in the gallery included videos, photographs, text, and artifacts assembled by Lara Almarcegui, Jan Kempenaers, Geert Mul, Jan Rothuizen, Julika Rudelius, and Nasrin Tabatabai. The exhibit was curated by the Director of the Witte de With, Bartomeu Mari, and was open to the public from February to April, 2000.

The Witte de With gallery is Rotterdam's primary nonprofit contemporary art exhibition space, and has a history of progressive programming. For example, it was the point of origin for Fish Story, Allan Sekula's exhibition about the international shipping industry. 

The port of Rotterdam is said to be the largest port in the world. It stretches for over 15 miles from downtown to the coast, a landscape of industrial inlets, container yards, and maritime manufacturing. Recreational activities, such as fishing and kite flying take place at the desolate western extremity of the port, amongst electricity-generating windmills and future port expansion zones.
 

From an interview between Gustinet Mari and Matthew Coolidge, published in the Witte de With catalog From, #2, discussing some of the exhibit:
We divided the exhibit into eight sections, with the captions printed on interpretive marker-like stands in front of each row of photographs, thus encouraging the sensation of these images as views of landscape. We named the sections "overlooks," each with a specific theme and title. The first group of photographs show the interpretive devices that you find usually at "natural" locations like parks and scenic overlooks. The traditional view of nature is as a sort of chaotic place. It is therefore particularly vulnerable or susceptible to interpretation; it seems to attract more interpretation because it is a non-human type system, alien. And as a result the mechanisms employed by interpreters, the managers of these facilities, can get really elaborate.

In this section we have selected a number of photographs that collectively present different kinds of attention "vectoring" that interpreting mechanisms can provoke. The six images in the first group coincidentally have this parallel with the "vectoring" system of crystallography. The lines of sight that you are supposed to follow, that are depicted on the sign or configuration of signs presented in the photographs, compare directly to the axes that occur in the six forms of natural crystal formation. There is an image of a glass cube-like window that you look through inside a dam to view migrating salmon. This is an illustration of "isometric" or cubic crystal structure. Another image shows a triangular interpretive structure, three panels that are meant to be viewed from a single point, and what you are looking at in the distance is a pyramid-shaped mountain. That evokes kind of a triangular or a tetragonal crystal structure. And so on.

Robert Smithson developed connections between crystallization and laughter, and we found it amusing, even humorous, to think of this perceptual "vectoring" as a form of laughter, using crystals as the model that they both shared. The "world view" that these examples of interpretive signage intend to create is simplistic and pure, even to the point of being sublime. The lines of sight and the objects they incorporate unite in a plain, axial geometry of experience, a perfectly composed structure, like the best in minimalist art. And like a crystal. When this connection is made, it arouses a sensation of pleasure, of clarity, of simplified truth, and this often stimulates an expression of laughter; the "titter," "snicker," "giggle," etc. of Smithson's crystallography...