Heroin kills : context and meaning in contemporary art practice
Heroin kills: context and meaning in contemporary art practice is a thesis comprising of two parts; the HK publication and a separate written submission. Since 2000 I have worked simultaneously as a Fine Art research student within the University of Leeds and as a professional artist within the context of contemporary art. This thesis aims to negotiate these two parallel yet distinct sites, within which art practice occurs. The two contexts make different demands of art practice. They do not operate within a common discourse and they do not necessarily use the same systems to validate art activity. As such, art means differently within each of these two contexts. This thesis uses these differences of context to enable a consideration of how art, in the form of objects, images and words, means. Concurrently, the thesis then uses this potential for different meanings to articulate the distinctions that exist between these two contexts as sites for art. The HK publication exists both as a component element of the thesis and separately outside of the context of the PhD as a handbook for the HK project. The HK project has been enabled by the context of contemporary art and this remains a principal signifying site for the publication. The PhD thesis re-presentsa nd reframes the HK publication. The publication functions through how and where it is positioned, drawing attention to the mechanics of its presentation as it does so. The written element of the thesis considers the relationship that exists between an artwork and the written word. The writing attempts to present an alternative method for taking account of the contexts for the production, exhibition and dissemination of art by constructing a narrative around HK that provides an account parallel to the HK publication. The two elements of the thesis work together to consider the context of the Fine Art practice PhD as a site for meaning for contemporary art. I hope HK, the project that resides behind, above and beyond this thesis, survives this process.