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Title: Constellating the real
Author: Doohan, Carmel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 0987
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis comprises a novel and a critical essay. Both investigate the philosophical, political and aesthetic implications of trying to understand and write the real, focusing on mimesis, interpretation, boundary-making and the possibility of connection. Although each piece can stand-alone, they have been developed in tandem, with each feeding into and informing the other. My critical essay draws on a wide range of theoretical arguments to explore the possibilities for a new multidisciplinary understanding of realism. The importance of the mimetic faculty in our existential reality and a focus on the materiality of language are crucial to my argument. I explore how pattern decipherment is a fundamental part of our being-in-the-world and offer a re-working of the post-structuralist split between word and thing. Responding to arguments discussed in the essay, my novel questions the idea of fixed boundaries and the dangers of binary thinking. It consciously shows how narrative is co-created through a cognitive, pattern-making desire to form a whole from disparate parts, problematizing any realism that claims to impart a fixed truth or objective 'external' reality. The novel explores the material and linguistic ways in which narratives are created, incorporating discourses of epigenetics, big data and psychometric testing. Its fragmented style combines theory, scientific discourse and autofiction to create the experience of an everyday in need of constant interpretation, a dissonant paradox that combines a deeply interconnected materiality reality with an experience of it that is continually interrupted and alienated. Through fragmentation and the play of the seemingly random, I critique the information-overload of our contemporary digital everyday, exploring how the logic of equivalence and simultaneity can affect the sense-making patterns that structure our reality. The novel functions as a constellation, achieving narrative through a mimetic reading of relation, resemblance and analogy. I argue that the constellation - as an arrangement of the unfixed yet readable, and the creation of meaning through open, changing relations rather than fixity - offers a form able to interact with, and write, the interdependent, symbiotic real it exists within.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.F.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: NX Arts in general ; PN Literature (General)