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Title: Affect Transmission Through Seemingly Functional Mechanical Sculptures
Author: Manganis, Stelios
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 2570
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2010
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The scope of this practice-based research is to understand how seemingly functional mechanical sculptures can generate and transmit notions of affect and how preventing their activation by gallery visitors might enhance the effect of affect transmission and their overall understanding of the work. In practice, this research undertakes a novel methodological approach informed and guided by affective notions, as it attempts to shed light on an affective dynamic between the artist, the artwork and the spectator. Consequently, this study examines the gap in research between affects, mechanical symbolism and the use of mechanical artworks in contemporary gallery settings. The starting point of this research has been the diagrammatic, mechanistic drawings of Francis Picabia and the Dada movement. Parallel research was conducted on specific mechanical works of other artists known for their portrayal of emotional conditions or personal characteristics, such as Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. The theory of affect has mainly been informed by the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari on affects and the encountered sign and the ideas of Carl Jung and Aniela Jaffé on symbolism. Additionally, works by Brian Massumi and Jean-François Lyotard have been examined. Particular attention is paid to Jaffé’s comments on abstraction versus the figurative whilst I attempt to establish how the use of a handle in a mechanical artwork might succeed in closing the gap in what Jaffé describes as the ‘bridge to the unknown’. Emphasis is also given on recent writings by Jill Bennett in relation to affect, trauma and contemporary art and those of Simon O’Sullivan on rhizomatic connectivity. At the same time, writings by other authors and artists have been employed in creating a solid understanding of mechanical symbolism in art and the use of mechanical artworks in gallery settings. During the period of this research, a number of mechanical artworks have been developed and exhibited in galleries throughout the UK in an attempt to establish and record the presence of any affective transfer between the works and the viewers. Case studies emerging from these exhibitions based on PANAS-X questionnaires, CCTV footage and participant observation reveal practical and conceptual issues surrounding the use of mechanical sculptures in affect transmission, whilst it is concluded that their sense of functionality combined with a lack of physical interactivity, rather enhances than restrains their intended purpose.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available