On Smoke and Fog: Performance Revisioning, Remembrance and Reclamation

Research output: Thesis (awarded by external institution)Doctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This thesis, On Smoke and Fog: Performance Revisioning, Remembrance and Reclamation, critically evaluates two research residencies (September 2017 to August 2019) and a series of performance works titled Notes for a Performance. The practice-led research looks to establish performance art practice as a vital means of engaging with heritage sites and archives. Considering how performance art practice can extend and embody heritage sites and archives by applying an anachronic methodological approach to historical material. The hypothesis being that to reveal the archive one must recognise the layers, loops, folds, and cracks of history. That to understand historical collections and heritage sites, artists must acknowledge the impossibility of truly defining fixed historiographic narratives. That any reading of history can only be understood in the present and embodied ‘now’ as defined by François Hartog as Presentism and Hayden White and Frank Ankersmits narrativisit philosophy of history, and that performance art is the ideal way to articulate this.

The performance works re-imagined the overlooked and uncatalogued in the sites and archives, presenting a ficto-factual reading of the past that montages the historically known and the unknown alongside cultural references, collective memory, and meta narrative structures. Working with un-catalogued and partially catalogued collections the performance series embody the historical variables in these disordered and fractured archives. The performances mined the multi-directional presence of the historical sites supporting a contemporaneous fictioning (as defined by David Burrows and Simon O’Sullivan) that collates past, present, and future.

The performative qualities of smoke, fog and mist are applied in the performance works to create an obfuscated and temporally disjunctive embodiment of the historical material within a contemporary art space. These miasmas are discussed in the thesis in the context of collective memory, cinema, and transmission of affect (as defined by Teresa Brenan). The Notes for a Performance series, accompanying publications and thesis contribute new knowledge in the fields of chronopolitics and performance art practice, situating the research in relation to these contemporary art forms and creative meta-narrative writing.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Leeds
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Taylor, Chris , Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Dec 2021
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

In 2021 I submitted and passed a Practice Led PhD in the School of Fine Art, Art History and Cultural Studies at Leeds University. This practice – led PhD was funded by Audrey and Stanley Burton scholarship to the sum of £53K. My PhD title, On Memory; Smoke Mist and Fog - Performance Revisioning, Remembrance and Reclamation was supervised by Prof. Chris Taylor, Emma Rushton, and Dr Nick Cass. It critically evaluated a series of artist residencies building on my research working with heritage sites and archives. The practice methods looked to establish contemporary art as a vital means of engaging with historical locations, collections, and objects. Considering how art practice can extend and embody heritage sites and archives by applying an anachronic methodological approach to historical material. Outcomes included a performance series, photographs, drawings, and publications contributing new knowledge in the fields of heritage, memory studies, fictioning and chronopolitical contemporary art practice.

Keywords

  • Contemporary Art
  • Performance Art
  • Memory Studies
  • Heritage Studies
  • Chronopolitics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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