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Title: Art, the architectonic and functionality
Author: Beesley, Thomas Charles
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 8191
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2017
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What is the status and position of the ‘functional’ art object? My research has sought to consider the role of the object in recent examples of socially-engaged art practice, by examining the notion of the ‘useful’ in contemporary art as conceptualized by theorist Stephen Wright and his advocates. By interrogating the praxis of the Turner Prize winning architectural collective Assemble and the deeper social-engagement of American artist Theaster Gates, I have sought to decode the institutional structures supporting their work, permitting a more nuanced assessment of the status of the useful object as art. During my research I undertook a six-month collaborative project with the staff and students of an M.Arch module at the Sheffield School of Architecture. The module addressed issues of local energy generation and use within a geo-sociological context and gave me the opportunity to create a body of work in response to these themes of utility. Through the development of my own praxis, the concomitant practice-led research and the critical distance this has permitted, I have been able to consider art’s relationship to objects of utility within the epistemologies of both my art and design background. For, as I conclude, it may be better to view these objects as the result of socially-engaged creativity – as critically-engaged architectonic design – rather than objects of art, thereby encouraging contemporary art practice to continue to stand in autonomous opposition to the instrumentalizing forces of capitalism.
Supervisor: Lewandowski, Simon ; Day, Gail Sponsor: WRoCAH
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available