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Title: Unforeseen outcomes :the role of aleatory and rhizomic processes in sculptural form and text equivalents
Authors: Keay, Catherine
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Unforeseen Outcomes: The Role of Aleatory and Rhizomic Processes in Sculptural Form and Written Equivalents The aims of this research are subsumed under two main questions: • What means and materials can be used to balance the relinquishing of authorial control in sculptural production with outcomes which retain formal and semantic coherence? • Is it possible to devise a written equivalent both to elucidate this aim and reflect subjective creative processes in sculptural practice? The research aimed to apply aleatory, generative and research-based approaches to contemporary art practice in order to articulate an experience of abjection. A review of relevant writing on these themes developed an argument for abjection to be understood as a state of ambiguity or being overwhelmed. A review of relevant artworks suggested clay, physical text and natural processes of change as materials and methods appropriate to answering the first research question. The work submitted in response to this comprises three distinct but connected bodies of art work: • Four terracotta sculptures of script, submerged in seawater, as substrates for living marine organisms to determine the final form of the works. • Eight large sculptures, an accompanying etching and two videos whereby monologue was rendered in extruded clay and shaped by gravity to express the vulnerability of its speaker. • Six digital prints in which interventions by colonies of ants on ineffectual imperative slogans are juxtaposed with photographs of 1930s Italian architecture for children. In response to the second research question, and in line with the aleatory strategies of writers and artists influential on this project, five separate booklets without a predetermined sequence present background research relevant to particular aspects of this practical work. The writing of these reflexive discourses draws on the prose style of Sebald, a writer whose work is analogous to the creative processes of contemporary visual artists. Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the rhizome provides a non hierarchical model for such practice as a structure which establishes connectivity between apparently disparate ideas. In the thesis, the production of the above works are described and discussed in relation to the contextual review and thematic concerns. The contributions of the research are outlined. The adoption of chance strategies and generative processes enables a fresh understanding of abjection to be expressed in contemporary sculpture; these are best deployed when the artist embraces abjection by allowing these processes to overwhelm their work. The more artistic control is relinquished to aleatory practice, the more innovative such strategies are in articulating this idea of abjection. Directions for future research building on these conclusions are suggested.
Description: PhD Thesis (Multimedia items accompanying this thesis to be consulted at Robinson Library)
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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