Re-presenting the Physical Act: An Exploration of the Physical Presence of the Body through its Screen Representation

Chance, Véronique. 2012. Re-presenting the Physical Act: An Exploration of the Physical Presence of the Body through its Screen Representation. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis considers the dynamic relation between the physical presence of the body and its
presence as a screen image, through which I examine the impact of visual media technologies on
our conceptions and perceptions of the body as a physical presence. The effects of these
technologies on traditional notions and conditions of physicality and representation mark, I suggest, a
shift in our relationship to, and understanding of the body as a physical presence as we become more
used to interacting and communicating with the body through the immediacy of screen images.
This has led I further suggest, to questions regarding the body as a material presence and to the
technologically mediated image becoming associated with notions of disappearance and
disembodiment. I understand however, the condition of the body as being very much embedded in a
material world and I approach this project therefore, through the proposition of ‘the physicality of an
image’ through which I argue for a reconceptualisation of the materiality of the body through its
physical presence as an image.
The research examines the relationship between video and performance in fine art practice, through
which I consider the rhetorics of presence in relation to the politics of representation and reproduction
inherent throughout the histories of their close alliance. It is my assertion that early experiments by
artists using video to document performance acts during the 1960s and 1970s reveal a prescient
understanding of the development of visual media technologies in ways that prefigure our
contemporary moment.
My understanding of this dynamic is extended through a consideration of concepts of visibility and
invisibility and of formal structures of representation, to arrive at the paradoxical notion of embodied
vision through an affective dimension of the body as it could be applied and conceived of as material
or physical in relation to (or as a consequence of) temporal concerns in film and video works

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


The Body; The Body and Representation; Presence; Physicality; Materiality; Screen; Screen Image; Screen Technologies; Digital Screen Technology; Materiality and Technology; Moving Image; Video Art; Film and Video; Video Installation; Performance and Video; Performance Studies; Performance Art; Performance Documentation; Document; Recording; Technological Reproduction; Embodiment; Technology and Embodiment; Subjectivity; Spectatorship; Embodied Vision; Temporality; Technology; Body and Technology; Mediated Image; Liveness; Realtime;

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



May 2012

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2014 08:44

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 11:29


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