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Title: A practical and theoretical exploration of process based participatory and interdisciplinary artistic practice informed by ethnomethodology and live art
Author: Echarte, Maria Arantzazu
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis examines practices derived from socio-anthropological methodology and performative strategies within Live Art, practices that rely on ethnographic fieldwork methods and participant observation positioning. Through the examination of practices in which both practitioners and participants commit to open-ended and unpredictable processes, the thesis explores forms of artistic practice that are ethical and democratic in terms of authority, participation and authorship. Key projects are: Jeremy Deller's Social Parade (2004), Gillian Wearing's Drunk (1997-99) and Sophie Calle's Gotham Handbook (1998). This examination forms part of a wider discussion of the discursive proposition, made notably in Hal Foster's 'The Artist as Ethnographer' (1996), as to whether a paradigmatic shift has occurred within artistic practice and with what consequences. The thesis consists of eight chapters. Chapter one introduces the aims of the research project and presents the nature, structure and discursive context of the project, focusing in particular on Clare Bishop's essay 'The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents' (2006). Chapter two investigates the mutual interest that exists between art and anthropology and introduces critical terminology with regards to the specific context of this research project. Chapter three presents the understanding of Live Art as contextualising the examined practices, and introduces liveness as a method. Chapter four argues that the practices examined can be understood as ethnographic practice of fieldwork. The practitioners are defined as Radicants or nomad cultural agents whose actions set identities in motion. Chapter five discusses in detail Hal Foster's 'The Return of the Real' (1996) and Mark Hutchinson's 'Four Stages of Public Art' (2002), proposing a shift in the paradigm of the ethnographic turn. Chapter SIX negotiates ideas of authority, authorship, fieldwork practice and representation through the analysis of James Clifford's 'On Ethnographic Authority' (1988). Lastly, chapter seven discusses the modes of representation used by a specific set of practitioners, proposing that their work could be understood as following an archival method. This thesis advances a theoretically informed, process-based participatory and interdisciplinary artistic practice. It presents an analysis of such practices, including my own, seeking to demonstrate that this exploration could be relevant to artists, anthropologists and ethnographers alike. The thesis also contributes to the shift in understanding of contemporary art practice proposed by Nicolas Bourriaud and others that emphasises flexible modes of collaboration and various forms of social engagement. This thesis is presented in two volumes. The first volume contains the discussion of the theory and methodologies that underpin my research, relevant practitioners and my own practice. The second volume presents my own practice and how it contributed to this research. This format also seeks to demonstrate that data gathering is integral to the physical manifestation of my work. Both volumes can be read independently but are designed to be complementary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available