INSITE Overview 1992–2018

Founded in 1992, INSITE is an initiative committed to the production of artworks in the public sphere through collaborations among artists, cultural agents, institutions, and communities. INSITE has produced six editions over the past twenty-eight years, each with a different curatorial and artistic perspective, but always privileging the long-term engagement of artists developing projects conceived for specific contexts. The conceptual framework of INSITE is rooted in the notion of the public—both in the context of experiences, interventions, and installations in the public domain, and of geographical spaces that have inspired artists to imagine the civic and social arena.

Conceived as a binational initiative, INSITE was based, for its first five editions (1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2005), in the Tijuana/San Diego border region at a moment of vigorous discussions within the artistic field about site-specificity, globalization, multiculturalism, and geopolitics. The impetus behind the first edition, IN/SITE 92, was primarily the desire to encourage a collaboration among a broad range of the region’s institutions—from its largest museums and cultural centers to its many university galleries and smaller alternative spaces—working in the genres of so called “site-specific” and “installation” art. From 1993 onward, the project was reimagined as taking shape “…within the frame of San Diego/Tijuana’s intertwined history, in a space defined by both cartographic juncture and rift, amidst a political momentum marked by the conflicting signals of NAFTA and Proposition 187.”[i] The constantly changing and oftentimes contradictory conditions of the border region provided a unique context to test the boundaries and impact of artistic practice in a dynamic political, social, and cultural terrain. In turn, INSITE sought to develop innovative platforms and structures for artists to conceive multifaceted projects along with regional and international curators and interlocutors through site-specific installations, performances, exhibitions, conversations, publications, public programs, and residencies.

For its most recent edition (2013–18) INSITE continued to engage contemporary artists, but this time in a venue specifically designed for the sixth version of the project. inSite/Casa Gallina, which took the intersection of artistic practice and daily life as its curatorial focus, was based in a house that operated as a hub for a variety of artist projects, programs, and other activities that unfolded in a working-class neighborhood close to Mexico City’s historic center. Essential components of the house included an urban garden, communal kitchen, library, and areas for workshops and residencies—all of which functioned as multilayered spaces of hospitality, learning, conviviality, and sharing from and for the community. In parallel, the invited artists designed, together with residents of the neighborhood, projects that stemmed from their common interests, aspirations, and expertise.

About this Site: Documents; Journal; and Current and Future Projects

This site is conceived as a platform for (1) INSITE Documents. an expanding archive of artist’s commissions and public programs realized through the six editions of INSITE (and parallel projects) over the past twenty-eight years; (2) the INSITE Journal, a quarterly publication of commissioned texts focused on the intersection of art, spatial practices, and the public sphere; and (3) updated information about INSITE’s current and future projects and plans.

[i] Sally Yard, “Introductory Note,”inSITE94: A Binational Exhibition of Installation and Site-Specific Art, (San Diego: Installation Gallery, 1994), 6.