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ItemOh the humanity! Humour and performance in a contemporary art practiceCOULTER, 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.