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Title: Space and illusion : a practical and theoretical investigation into the critical status of illusion in social space
Author: Joseph-Lester, Jaspar
ISNI:       0000 0001 3593 1807
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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In this thesis I examine how disorientation, immersion and entertainment have come to characterize our understanding and experience of social space and consider the way representation - traditionally reserved for the visual, literary and aural disciplines of painting and poetry - has developed into ideological and experiential phenomena. However, rather than a single line or logical flow running between contemporary social space and the ideological imperatives of global capital, I argue that differentiated modes of spatial illusion exist in a turbulent and contradictory system of relations. Consequentially, this thesis explores the critical status of illusion. Taking spaces of retail and leisure as the focus of my inquiry I ask if the highly fabricated structures of shopping and entertainment provide some insight into new developments in global economy. More specifically, the relation between the 'experiential placemaking' of urban design and the 6experience economy' is analysed through their relation to discordant modes of illusion. Instead of extending the old categories of truth and illusion, I assess the histories, movements and interactions of highly constructed spatialities to ask if we can begin to think more openly and positively about the role of illusion in social space. It is through my work with video, installation, and projections that I consider the effect of global economy on social space. By editing and projecting geographically distant spaces and activities into a single narrative I analyse the fictional realities that shape our experience of shopping, travel and leisure. Throughout the text the relation between the global and the particular is interpreted as a critical relation between 'representational' and 'transcendental' spatialities. With this empirical analysis I investigate (i) how well known tropes of illusion - traditionally thought of as 'mimetic representation', 'phantasmagoric effects' and 'religious transcendentalism' - have mutated into a spatial form; (ii) what relation these highly constructed modes of disorientation, immersion and spectacle have on both one another and our relationship with space; and (iii) the potential for thinking and experiencing the production of fictional realities as a critical portal into the otherwise hidden workings of global capital.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral