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Title: Stillman : the surface of the city and the depths of the psyche
Author: Shon, Kyung Hwa
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 6037
Awarding Body: Royal College of Art
Current Institution: Royal College of Art
Date of Award: 2019
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Stillman: The Surface of the City and the Depths of the Psyche offers an attempt to grasp not only a way of thinking about city space but also a new way of conceptualizing a subjective vantage point for this process. This practice-led research project aims to question subject-object dualism, in order to explore a third space (between absence and presence, between the invisible and the visible, between subject and object) and the potentiality of a new figure, which is a ghost-like entity called 'Stillman'. Stillman is a 'figure-being' that implies significance both to the process of writing and to art practice. Such a non-indexical character goes beyond the notion of a discreet subject. It is neither fixed by time, visibility or by embodiment along the lines of gender. Within the attributes of such a spectral character, the usual type of procedure whereby knowing and recognition occur is radically displaced. This then is effecting a doubled displacement for we cannot be certain about the designation of objects or places or subjective perception. My impulse has been to introduce both stitching (actual) and switching (virtual) operations that create new space (a third space) of encounter in which entities might create reconfigured modes of designation. This implies a new mobility of perception on all levels, thus everything is animated and on the move. This might ordinarily imply a theory of the fragment in conjunction with a de-centered notion of the subject, but I wish to make a step beyond this in order to challenge the very process by which we might begin to suppose a constitution of knowability, or at least an order of representation. In my research, the concept of the city is not based solely on the pragmatics of the urban planner or architect's drawing board, but rather one that is related to the disjointed mode of dwelling to be found in the recesses of imaginative projections of aesthetic becoming. With the alternating rhythm of rupture and suture1, the surface of the city and the depths of 1 Although this term, 'suture' draws from a history of the concept of 'Suture' by Lacan, Miller, and cinema studies, I am not necessarily drawing upon this entire history of use. However, concepts with such a dense history unfold other trajectories of use particularly when placed into play with another concept such as rupture. They rhyme but they also open out discord. Concepts contain the psyche occur as a folded rhythm within my conception of urban space, which oscillates between fiction and reality or actuality and virtuality. The project focuses on the moment of aesthetic shock or de-familiarization arising in the context of the city of glass. As such, the condition of the unsettling that is embedded in the nature of Stillman and the city of glass is revealed in art practice and writing, which together include fragments and noncasual factors. In attempting to understand the spaces of the in-between, the actual materiality and with it the sign economy of the city starts to recede as a source of representation and in the wake of this dissolution various trace elements of glass, mirrors and spectres hover within the half light of perception. This process of condensation runs parallel to my aesthetic modes of presentation. On a concrete theoretical level I have examined the dynamic of absence and presence, the idea of spectrality, the development of montage, Far Eastern aesthetics and the idea of emptiness, theories of temporality and the image, and the play of the poetic and philosophic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: K440 Urban studies ; V500 Philosophy ; W100 Fine Art