Embeddedness as Condition and Strategy in Contemporary Art and Cultural Production.
Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London
Abstract or Description
This thesis examines the concept of ‘embeddedness’ as condition and strategy in contemporary art and cultural production. Identifying embeddedness as a motif of contextual proximity and a strategy in contemporary art, the thesis proposes immediacy to be the result of intrinsic mediation. The project’s main concern is how embeddedness is contextualised by the current conditions that authors and cultural producers engage with. The primary question is whether and how embeddedness can convey a critical relation to the mediation that it undertakes. These concerns inform and arise from my work as an artist, and my participation in events, some of which I organise. The project claims that embeddedness in art is a critical condition and an editorial concept or a strategic plan that can be set up by the artist.
The investigation begins by looking at conditions of embeddedness by focusing on concepts of subjectivity and by elaborating strategies that I call ‘auto-direction’. For example, concepts of subjectivity are taken up in relation to Richard Serra’s video Boomerang (1974), in which the performer Nancy Holt reflects on her own spoken words, which are fed back with a short delay via microphone and headphones into her ears. Auto-direction, introduced with the example of Steven Spielberg’s initiative of a video diary exchange project between Israeli and Palestinian children, describes the activity of the producer, who self-directs his situated presence. Taking up idioms of embeddedness from artists like Phil Collins, Christian Jankowski and Erik van Lieshout the project examines embeddedness through a comparative analysis between contemporary art, visual culture, media theory, sociology, art theory, psychoanalysis and philosophy. These practices lead to an identification of embeddedness as an author’s immanent exposure, a claim taken up through analysis of theoretical texts and literature by Rosalind Krauss, Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida, Gregory Bateson, Hal Foster, Bernard Williams and Alfred North Whitehead.
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