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AbstractThis study constitutes the written component of a practice based Masters by Research in Fine Art. The research arises from my practice as an artist working in film and video in which I have come across links between the representation of ruins and aspects of narrative structure that have suggested the possibility that the ruin represents a nodal point in the work. Ruins have tended to be treated thematically by art historians and theorists and I will demonstrate that there are very few attempts to take the subject beyond the role of metaphor or allegory. However, Jacques Derrida has taken the idea of ruins into the idea of origin and it is this insight that lies at the core of this study. This leads to the idea of the ruin as a condensation of the end and beginning thereby giving it an important role in relation to narrative structure. The circular narrative is a form in which the end and beginning are stitched together at the same theoretical point as the ruin. In terms of practice the circular structure is explored in the form of film and video loops in which the circle structures the way the works physical production, its contextual background, its content and the ways in which it can be interpreted. Underlining this is Derrida's idea that the ruin is always already present at the origin of the work. These ideas are also combined with Freud's theory of the Death Instinct which is rooted in the compulsion to repeat. I have extended Peter Brooks' linking of the Death Instinct with linear narrative structure to include the circular narrative and tested this against my studio practice and the work of another artists, a writer and a film maker. In combining this link between the Death Instinct and the circular narrative with the ruin I have used the Freudian Theory of Primal Phantasies. This was also done to resolve the link with fantasy that was identified at the beginning of the project. My argument ends with the consolidation of these strands with Elisabeth Bronfen's use of the navel as a symbolic intervention into the conventional structures of psychoanalysis. In conclusion the identification of this nodal point in the structure of the work is shown to present an example of the ways in which theory and practice in contemporary art can be dynamically combined. In this way the art work is not only the result of the context from which it has emerged but also provides the means of interrogating that context.
CitationHon, G. (2003) 'The ruin and the circular narrative'. Masters by research thesis. University of Luton.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionThe written component submitted to the University Research Degree Committee in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MASTERS BY RESEARCH in Fine Art
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