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Title: Border crossings : (re)presenting gender in surrealist film
Author: Thomas, Martin Darren
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 2494
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is in two parts: a theoretical section (60%), which provides an analysis of gender identity in Surrealist film through consideration of a range of Surrealist films; and a practical section (40%), consisting of a body of original creative work (collage, film and assemblage), which builds on and is in dialogue with the theoretical insights of the research. Transformation is seen as central to a mapping and remapping of the spaces, (supposed) limits and frontiers of Surrealist notions of gender identity. In particular this thesis examines how Surrealist film makers engage with representations of men and women: problematising any single or unitary (fixed) reading but rather blurring boundaries between masculine / feminine (as process / flux) in order to deconstruct them, with the ultimate aim of criticising a society that encourages the positioning of men and women according to (binarised) patriarchal discourses. I examine the implications of these 'gender crossings' for the spectator by developing the concept of 'bisexual switching' – which posits a mobile spectator who actively negotiates the various (gender) positions / identities in a kind of dialogue with the text and film maker. Practice, is understood here as a dynamic, integral part of the production of meaning, providing new ways of reflecting upon texts and the processes (such as spectatorship) by which we engage with them. It is argued that this approach is in keeping with the notion of Surrealism as a form of research conducted by artist-researchers, wherein the artworks created are not to be viewed in aesthetic terms but rather as research tools or documents of the research. Following the discussion of the case study films I engage with my own practice in relation to the former, as a series of interlocking dialogues, confirming and challenging the findings of the written thesis (and practice), offering new perspectives on gender identity in Surrealist film.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: South Essex College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Film ; Surrealist film ; Gender in film