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Title: Weaving and unravelling narratives of the self: representation of subjectivity in video art c.1970-2000
Author: Athanasiadis, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 6655
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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In the late 1950s, a new medium sprung out of televisual technology to become the latest tool of representation. Pioneering video artists affected audiences by targeting their perception of reality, opening space for new subjective experiences, and investigating the phenomena of consciousness. What was in fact revisited was the oldest inherent function of representation as cognitive device, exposing the manipulation of reality and of subjective experiences by the media, advertising, and entertainment industries. However, today, in a world overloaded with visual representations to the point that we are threatened with the end of the real, cultural theorists inform us that we came upon another paradox: the end of representation itself. Amidst these proclamations, the bravest explorations of representation by video art in its first steps have been conveniently forced into oblivion, purposefully overlooked, or artfully undermined. Providing an art historical narrative of video within the tradition of western representation, this thesis is structured around a single question: Has video art offered a new locus for the representation of contemporary subjectivity? The first part examines the new medium in an art historical context, introducing significant connections between the novelty of video representation of time and space, and its psychological effect on audiences as experiential subjects. It also provides the theoretical context of my investigation of representation's cognitive function in shaping subjectivity, by an analysis of a significant example for western art and culture, and by a review of the transition from the lived experience of the modem to the postmodern self as seen by contemporary psychoanalytic theory and practice. The second part examines how video art reflects the conditions that inform postmodern subjectivity (fragmentation, discontinuity, dislocation, decenterment), employing the clinical experience of narcissism and schizophrenia. The art of video seems to have offered not only new systems of representation that derive directly from these experiences, but also a potential locus where cognitive and perceptual conditions can be recast to achieve the therapeutic and conciliatory states of reverie and containment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available