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Title: Signart: (British) sign language poetry as Gesamtkunstwerk
Author: Pollitt , Kyra Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 8313
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis explores the phenomenon of poetry in British Sign Language. Whilst previous scholars have examined the form from linguistic and literary perspectives, no work has yet fully addressed the unique visual properties of British Sign Language as it is exploited creatively. This study situates current understandings of sign language poetry, tracing the influences of ocularcentrism and logo centrism on the discipline of deaf studies. 'Sign language poetry' is then recontextualised through the phenomenology ofMerleau-Ponty and Derridean grammatology to emerge as Signart - the performed and performative, visual and embodied artform of sign language communities. In addition to examining the theoretical frameworks through which academic, literary and artistic institutions might perceive and encounter it, Signart is explored through interviews with Signartists, their audiences, and those who have not previously been exposed to Signart. A pilot translation of a Signartwork uncovers the significance of image in the form and leads to the adoption of a/r/tography as 'blurred' research method involving art practices, research and translation. A collective of visual artists is established to examine image in a core sample of four Signartworks, and further data is collected through two public events staged at the Royal West of England Academy. The results of these investigations suggest Signart as not only blended acts of literature and drawing (here called illumination), but also of gesture-dance, compositional rhythm and cinematic properties which effect a social SCUlpture of deafhood within signing communities. The blend of artforms within Signart invites comparison with the concerns of the modernist project; with ideas of synthesis, of synaesthesia and particularly of Gesamtkunstwerk. To illustrate the relevance of these concepts to an expanded understanding of Signart, the thesis draws on art epistemology and the ideas and works of a number of modernist and post-modernist artists - notably Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Joseph Beuys.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available