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Title: Turning tables : war, psychoanalysis and the politics of subjectivity in the work of Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer and Doris Salcedo
Author: Stasinopoulos, Konstantinos
ISNI:       0000 0004 6348 1980
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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This dissertation explores works by Mona Hatoum, Jenny Holzer and Doris Salcedo produced in response to recent wars in which subjectivity is examined as a precarious condition rather than fixed certainty. Following in the footsteps of their feminist predecessors and previous efforts of artistic resistance to war, these artists continue to investigate the capacity of subjective experience to intervene in authoritative war and art discourse. Through the productive dialogue between art and psychoanalysis this thesis examines the deep fantasy investment these works demand from their viewers and how spectatorship is considered as a politically charged experience. Insisting on the importance of the psychic dimension of war, these works deploy identification as an artistic strategy that produces an interval for reflection in which silence emerges as resistance to dominant, patriarchal historical narratives. These artists position the table as a specific object of interest in representations of violence, capable to produce informed insights on the subjects that gather around it and the relationships formed between them. The table’s structural and theoretical capacity traces a rising artistic awareness of the horizontal axis of lateral relations and the need to negotiate difference beyond the vertical, Oedipal paradigm that results in unyielding debates on war and subjectivity. Specifically, by tracing war to the unconscious and examining the intricate relationship between individual and state aggression, the artists interrogate the perpetrator, the victim and the witness as interchangeable positions that the viewer is called to occupy. Turning tables and the domestic and familial or bureaucratic and institutional associations that they invoke, these works examine the protagonists of war as subjects that emerge from relationships based on interdependency and kinship rather than rigid opposition. This thesis argues that the effort for a collective understanding of the war phenomenon is dependent on assuming individual responsibility for one’s own violence.
Supervisor: Applin, Jo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available