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Title: A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London, for the degree of Doctor of Fine Art
Author: Aoun, Caline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 4342
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2012
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I was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983 in the midst of the Lebanese civil war. Due to my country’s difficult circumstances, my family decided to move to Saudi Arabia when I was a few weeks old in order for my sisters and I to be raised in a stable environment all the while maintaining proximity to our homeland. My father worked in a company that organised fairs, and early on, I was exposed to the production of graphic banners, poster imagery, and vinyl sign making. I returned to Lebanon at the age of 13 to achieve my high school education all the while maintaining my fascination with the world of graphic imageries. My fascination eventually materialized with my move to London at the age of 18 where I decided to attend St- Martin’s School of Art. This expatriate move sublimated my cultural detachment from my homeland, which had already been preset from childhood. Since we could not vacation in our homeland due to the war, my family and I spent most of my childhood traveling to foreign countries. I was thus imbued with many different cultures during my formative years , none of which happened to be my home culture. The sense of detachment and ‘not-belonging’ to a source culture, as well as not having the time to fully adapt to a place, has been influential in the way I would eventually perceive the world. To my perception today, most things in our world look unoriginal, with ‘original’ denoting an object’s stem source that has gone through various conventions only to be presented to me through many layers of mediation. The sense of nothingness and blankness, partly affected by states of suspension whilst travelling as well as the complexity of information I was presented with, is always something I think about when I produce work today. The technical evolution of the production and dissemination of images is central to my research. My intellectual point of departure is French philosopher Bernard Stiegler’s (1994) statement that “man is nothing other than a technical living being” and that the becoming of man and technics are the same thing. My research interest is twofold focusing in first part on the evolution from analog to digital technologies in relation to our perception of images and how we acquire knowledge from them, and in second part on the role that imaging technologies play in the production of ideology. As a response to the evolution from the analog to the digital and the overload of information and media-based production, I exploit, in my current art practice, the material realities of the image – inherent in its digital or mechanical production or in its physical or virtual distribution – as a way to generate aesthetic production and meaning. I assert and define images as objects that are part of an active system with their meaning impossible to be defined as inseparable from their material realities. Relevant to the research is the recent emergence of young artists namely – Walead Beshty, Marcus Amm, Eileen Quinlan, Marisa Olson, Anthony Pearson, and Wade Guyton among many, who are driven by a sense of urgency, nostalgia and/or celebration of images’ means of production, circulation and interpretation in today’s world. The research focuses on Walead Beshty and Wade Guyton’s practices after comparing the art practices of Sol Lewitt with Agnes Martin, and discussing the art practice of Roni Horn. These three artists are known to deal with the concerns of materiality and immateriality in different ways; they call our attention to life’s moments of comfort and ‘full nothingness’ all the while exploring the contradiction of ‘being no more’, yet becoming ‘a lot more’ than what they really are. This sense of the “real” versus the “elusive” is what I try to explore and define when I create work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral