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Title: Use and abuse : the beautiful, the ugly and justice in live arts
Author: Robins, Stephen John
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 7412
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the twin conceptual tropes of beauty and ugliness and their appearance in live art, and asks how artists use or abuse the terms in their work. In chapter one, investigating the historical and philosophical evolutions of the terms of beauty and ugliness and taking these concerns into my own performance work, I develop a mode of enquiry which is both philosophical and practical. By close readings of contrasting theorists, I consider the ways in which I and other artists use beauty and ugliness formally in performance. I examine the tendency to celebrate ugliness in work that is provocative and sensual, work which challenges a normative view of beauty. Artists I use include La Pocha Nostra, Ran Athey, Franko Band Kira O'Reillv, The "use" aspect of the thesis considers to what extent live aesthetic practice addresses modern concerns of beauty by confounding its ideologically suspicious past with forms and practices more readable as ugly. The modern commentators Theodore Adorno and Mark Cousins write extensively on the relationship between beauty and ugliness and offe r 'complications and detractions' on beauty. They treat ugliness as either symptomatic of the wrongs that ideology in beauty does, or separate ugliness as a correlate term to beauty entirely, stressing its 'unique and fearful' nature. Reading Elaine Scarry, the "abuse" aspect reverses the suspicions against beauty and asks whether beauty can be recovered from reification to work in conjunction with a more plural understanding of aesthetics, in effect 'rethinking beauty as a positive force' where aesthetic practice can be read as synonymous with 'becoming responsible'. My own performance work in the documentation expresses concerns for the relationship between form, content and responsibility in art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available