Spastic Logic: Artwork as intervention in social relationships, formed in retrograde through writing

Evans, Chris (2018) Spastic Logic: Artwork as intervention in social relationships, formed in retrograde through writing. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral Thesis)
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If we consider the hidden relations behind the evolution of an artwork to be a negotiation of beliefs, social status and ideological positions, how might an artwork intervene in these relationships, reconfiguring the context through which it is informed rather than being confined by it? I propose an understanding of methods that place an alternative ethical universe upon the financial, material and social hierarchies that operate in the background of artistic production. The research signals that, within these relations, strategies can be enacted that relentlessly produce fictions of autonomy and agency.

I begin by taking a specific artwork of mine as a model—one which began in 1987 as an unsolicited brief to rebrand the British Marxist newspaper Morning Star—
asking the editors to reconsider what might be an accepted relationship between class and form. Over eleven chapters, at dated intervals along a timeline from the
present back to 1987, I move between a number of approaches to thread particular ideological rationales with their counters, contingent factual information,
and characters of varying social status and interests. My research becomes the evolving history of the model itself.

Throughout the research I envisage a mechanism that I term ‘spastic logic’ as a conditioning characteristic of meaning. Spasticity is a manner through which
something becomes contorted or displaced when stimulus provokes an act of reflex. The writing of the chapters is an attempt to introduce stimulus that would provoke this sense of ‘spastic logic’. Instead of relating a precise genesis of an artwork, I aim to form its history through a fitful relationship between content that is heterogeneous and proceeds associatively rather than by incident. Meaning is shaped through contingency, the structural interstices between an artwork’s thematic parts are remodelled and scenarios can be introduced in which expected ethical positions are displaced.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Contemporary art writing, relational aesthetics in reverse
Subjects: W100 Fine Art
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2020 13:33
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 18:36

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