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Title: Politicising agency through affect
Author: Hope, Claire Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 8922
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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The key concern of this practice-led PhD is that lived reality and visual culture exist in a personal and political relation, one which politicises a viewer’s search for alternatives through the image. This suggests that cultural productions are an ideal context for addressing matters of social change; it also reverses the classic critiques of spectatorship within Fine Art, which emphasise critical awareness, the transmission and possession of knowledge and also activity, or participation, in the promotion of political agency in spectators. In this thesis I have used my own moving image and live performance art practice as the basis for reframing these perspectives on spectatorship. The context for this research was, in part, the enduring influence of classic critical positions in fine art practice, such as Debordian analyses of the image and Lacanian readings of the viewer. Yet, the ubiquity of viewing today, and dominance of the image, seemed to call for a new analysis of the viewer’s experience, from the viewer’s perspective. For instance, I provide a reading of a spectator’s relationship to the protagonist they view in an image using Attachment Theory, linking attachment to agency in order to challenge the common identification of separation between the viewer and image. I undertook this research as a viewer of culture and maker of artworks, but also as an artist who makes artworks from a viewer’s perspective, in order to critically rethinking our relationship to the images that we view. My own artworks respond self-consciously to viewers’ potential expectations of images, and the protagonists in them. For this reason I choreograph human interactions, which are always implicitly directed at the viewer, in a way that might prompt them to recall their own desire to find agency through images.
Supervisor: Lewandowski, Simon ; Day, Gail Sponsor: AHRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available