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Title: Encounters & spatial controversies
Author: Ricketts, Mike
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 4933
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2015
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Many contemporary commentators suggest that urban space and public space have no settled form – that they are forever subject to contestation. It follows that the spaces most of us occupy, act in and pass through day after day are, if not overtly antagonistic, then somewhat fraught and compromised. My practice explores this terrain by engaging with specific spatial controversies, getting embroiled in arenas of friction, overlapping with a variety of different ‘actors’ and processes. Works develop as I try to do things in spaces, often in urban environments, probing situations in order to try to grasp their dynamics. Trying things out in space as an independent practitioner, I run into many kinds of structures, boundaries and rules. How such encounters unfold and are responded to and/or recounted – these questions lie at the heart of my work. The form of the work has varied. I have, for example, created posters, performances and a film. Some works have taken the form of insertions of objects into existing arenas and processes. On other occasions, my exploratory investigations and activities are narrated in the work. The work has appeared in diverse contexts: fly-posted across a town; inserted into a planning-consultation meeting; hidden beneath an exhibition space. This thesis will introduce five specific projects. An iteration of Four Anecdotes forms my Preface; this work is then discussed in Chapter One. Chapter Two introduces Huis Clos Planningline; Chapter Three Reverse Consultation (Old New Town) and Cushion Distribution (Public Inquiry). Chapter Four is accompanied by a short film (attached) and is entitled The Vessel. Elaborations and analyses of these works will be augmented by discussions of works by other artists that are particularly relevant, among them Gordon Matta-Clark, Allan Sekula and Francis Alÿs. Uncaptioned images will run throughout the thesis, in parallel with the text. Overall, I will argue for the value of a type of ‘site-oriented’ practice that probes and investigates spatial dynamics and power relations through experimental involvements with a range of sites and actors. In particular, I will contend that practices involved with everyday encounters and mobilities – including my own practice, which focuses on mobile things as they traverse boundaries and jurisdictions – allow structures and relationships to be encountered and tested in their day-to-day operation, with the twists turns and wriggles of practice generating new materials, works and ideas.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Planning (Urban ; Rural and Regional) ; Housing