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Title: The feral, the art object and the social
Author: Locke, Lana
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 1077
Awarding Body: University of the Arts London
Current Institution: University of the Arts London
Date of Award: 2017
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This practice-based research explores the nature of the feral, as manifested in an object-based installation practice of contemporary art that scavenges - physically, socially and metaphorically - in the gap between defined spaces. My conception of the feral draws out the political promise of this indeterminacy: the state of being partly wild and partly civilised. The page is also constructed materially, as a space where heterogeneous elements meet: different voices expressed through the writing and images of my practice. In claiming the feral as a critical concept, I reject its more common, derogatory, usage. In particular, during the 2011 London riots, the former British Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke labelled the rioters a “feral underclass”, seeking to fix them in this uncivilised, abject position. I unfix this separation, through a feral interpretation of my objects, as they interpenetrate domestic, institutional, and civilised public spheres. Mother’s milk solidifies as plaster-filled condom bombs, at once phallic and breast-like, poised to ignite a pyre of social theory texts in a gallery project space, a former factory; haphazard conglomerations of plant matter and urban debris are strung together in bunting on an inner-city community hall. The feral becomes here a rival concept to Julia Kristeva’s formulation of abjection, as the seeping bodily organs evoked by my objects are not defined in terms of the individual, but reflected on through the formless mass of the social body, the displaced undercommons of Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, the wild of Jack Halberstam, the rioters of Joshua Clover. The feral has an antagonistic quality, but it cannot fit the relational models of art put forward by Chantal Mouffe and Claire Bishop that seek to civilise this antagonism. Neither can the positivity of Rosi Braidotti’s posthuman new materialism extract the hybridity of materials I use from the precariousness of the social conditions from which they are drawn. My practice, like the feral, resists these separations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fine Art