Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Fine Arts

Program

Visual Arts

Supervisor

Kelly Wood

Abstract

This thesis dossier, in combination with an exhibition at the McIntosh Gallery, considers whether an archival collection can generate an alternative narrative other than that which may already exist in the original film and photographic documents. Rather than represent a singular truth, I seek to articulate the transformative realities of collective memory by re-orienting the material for broader viewer identification. I have mined photographic and filmic materials from a personal family archive to focus fragments that specifically record the gesture of the turning face—the turning towards the observer. This “turn” then includes both the turn towards the initial film-maker embedded in the documents, and, a later, fragmented turn which is re-oriented and looped to construct a new narrative which turns its gaze towards the art observer. Thus, the “turn” is both formally and metaphorically suggested and variously defined in this dossier. I used the action of the turn as a way to consider re-orientation, and, even disorientation, as a means to discover new ways of seeing. The thesis discusses my use of this specific gesture and the relevant archival materials in the context of contemporary art production and reception, calling on the three key theoretical themes: knowledge production, feminism and film theory. Through a close examination of the archival materials and these theoretical considerations, I found that, by articulating the archival image through seemingly disparate spatial and temporal relationships, an alternative narrative could be produced.


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