Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Oh the humanity! Humour and performance in a contemporary art practice
    COULTER, ROSS ( 2013)
    This Masters project discusses humour and performance through the use and presentation of a number of video and photographic artworks. Humour can be derived from the ability to imaginatively juxtapose imagery and ideas to create unexpected relationships and outcomes. Art and creativity can function in a similar manner. This MFA seeks to examine and develop a contemporary art practice, through contrasting imagery and ideas in a performative and humourous way. The project draws parallels between the strategies and functions of humour and art, exploring the possible relationships between the two. The thesis explores questions arising from the artworks produced resulting from an investigation of specific historical and contemporary artworks and a discourse around performance. Through consideration of art historical examples, some linages and links to ways of conceiving, thinking and discussing performance and humour are made. The research acknowledges the problems of taste and subjectivity as it applies to humour, in concert with art. The project reflects upon the role of the artist, his motivations and takes excursions into formal and material concerns of photography and performance to clarify their relevance and significance to contemporary art practice and this project. Themes and ideas brought to the surface are used as foils, something to defend or push against and experiment with. They sometimes act as shadowy motivations that assist in the production of artwork. These themes include mans’ relationship to the landscape, personal histories, digital and analogue photography in the age of technological convergence, the image, self and representation, notions of personhood, contemporary performance and art. Through discussion and uncovering the toil of artwork and ideas engaged with, the humanity of the project is revealed.
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    Casting an ensemble of objects: producing objects within a post-medium specific 'photographic' logic
    Adair, Paul ( 2012)
    This practice-led research project investigates the potential of an evolving relationship between photography and sculpture. The aim is to expand photographic discourse through the production of a cast ensemble of objects, within a post-medium specific ‘photographic’ logic. That is, a post-medium specific understanding of ‘photography’ that is not solely contingent on a photograph, as a material host, but rather, generative of sculptural objects in relation to images. The paper explicates a series of conditions or relationships, which can be seen as ‘photographic’, based on the photographic mediums facilities to reproduce, copy and multiply – as the principal impetus in not only the production, but also the presentation and perception of objects within the gallery space. A trajectory that originated from correlations made between the sculptural technique of moulding and casting to the technical production of photographic images. A lineage is drawn through a culture of copying pictures and images, commonly associated with appropriation art, and more specifically, the ‘Pictures Generation’, as a means to position the production of cast replica objects within a ‘photographic’ logic. Subsequently, links are made between the presentation and display of ‘sculpture’ within framing mechanisms, which includes the gallery space as a framing device, as a process of ‘image’ production and composition. And lastly, the paper considers our perception of everyday objects, in relation to images of the mind or memories as ‘psychologised objects’. Positioning replica objects as physical ‘ghosts’, which embody the absent object, they were reproduced from – as a conflated object image. The paper contextualises these processes, which form the parameters for the practice-led research, within a theoretical argument, leaving the greater ‘meaning’ of the work open-ended. The exhibition presents a series of recognisably commonplace replica objects, as a cast ensemble of interrelated yet discrete sculptural objects. The works are arranged and displayed predominantly on the floor of the gallery space, or on other objects, which act as host structures for display.