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Title: Nihilism in theory and praxis
Author: Tekin, Orhan
Awarding Body: Heriot-Watt University
Current Institution: Heriot-Watt University
Date of Award: 2006
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Although the formal inspirations behind the author's sculpture works feel as though they arise spontaneously and subconsciously, they do not in fact emerge from an intellectual vacuum. They represent intuitive reactions to the author's physical, social, political and economic context, mediated through his personality, experiences and education. This PhD Thesis provides the opportunity to step back from the practice of sculpting itself to examine and document the creative process and the many forces of which the sculptures are a product. Purely for the purposes of organisation, this PhD presents an examination of the creative process in three parts - Background, Theory and Praxis. In truth these do not form a linear sequence as in: the sculpture is produced by his or her formative years and background, the sculptor then adopts a philosophical framework through education and reading, the sculptor then goes on to create three -dimensional artworks. Each part, rather, feeds into and reflects the other parts. The development of Theory affects the background, in opening the individual up to new perspectives, while the Praxis of sculpting brings to light a deeper philosophical knowledge of the significance and limitations of materials and forms. These discoveries also play a central role in developing the way the sculptor's context is experienced. The three parts are detailed as follows: The author was born in 1969 in Aksehir a small town in the south of Turkey and spent his childhood in many different cities in Turkey till he was 15 years old when he was moved to Ankara, the capital of Turkey. The author's family was large and he was not raised in poor or insecure circumstances, but the family did need to be careful about spending money. Many things in our house were recycled or repaired and the budget dedicated to basic requirements (food, clothing etc.). Anything worn out or broken was never thrown away but repaired or kept for future use. To take one example, a screwdriver with broken handle was fixed by melting scraps from other plastic items. A huge element of my thinking is based on my awareness that aesthetic values and norms are exclusive rather than inclusive, that society does indeed contain halves of weak and strong. My admiration lies with the weak for they are more ingenious by necessity and, in being forced into this position, are able to project new values and insights into a society that is otherwise stagnant and content to perpetuate accepted values, no matter how tired these become. Part Two: Nihilism in Theory: Social inequality and the phenomena it triggers are neither new nor limited to any geographical area or notion. Many of the author's concerns find echoes in Frederick Nietzsche's writings from over a century ago. To Nietzsche, the individuals furnish their lives by manipulating whatever materials are to hand to become tools. In a society, he argues, where accepted values reflect the taste and privileges of the wealthy, the poor (the 'weak' in his terms) have greater liberty as well as need to exercise their will to power. It is from their actions that new thoughts are realised and, eventually, new values established. To the author this process is shown especially in the way the weak create tools like furniture or kitchen utensils, mostly by converting de- valued, thrown - away or hidden materials. With this perspective the author tries to develop a parallel connection between the conditions such people live in and his own use of materials to make sculptures. Part Three: Nihilism in Praxis: This part is divided into two chapters. The first part is the theoretical approach to materials. New, unconventional uses release unrecognised but valid meanings inherent within materials. This is as if materials themselves have their own will to power, their own narrative (e.g. coal as patience, as diamond - in- waiting). Comfort and conformity with existing values denies openness to these hiding worlds; discomfort and the inability to conform forces them to be discovered. The second stage of this part explains how the literature helps me to accomplish the theoretical origin of my creation process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available