Final room: encountering the body through absence
AffiliationSchool of Art
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-04-04. This item is currently available to University of Melbourne staff and students only, login required.
© 2018 Aaron Hoffman
When I look at images of pain, my mind enters a nexus of complicated reactions. When met with images depicting bodily injuries, deformities, disease and open lacerations, my eyes wince - as if apprehending the amount of visual information travelling through my eye and into my brain and then into my body is too much. In the absence of implied physical danger to myself as the viewer, my mind plays out a psychological dread enabled by proprioception. Parts of my body that normally lie dormant of pain are suddenly awakened through empathy and metamorphoses, gauging how that pain might feel. These concepts are juxtaposed with an altogether different scenario, that of an emptied gallery space. When a viewer is faced with a bare room their desires are challenged. In place of objects and stimuli, my rooms ask that the viewer’s interaction with the work become the impetus of the work itself, activating the work. In this research project I wanted to bring two of the following two subjects together: I wanted to reconcile the situation of the viewer encountering a bare room inside a gallery. The characters here are the viewer and the empty space. The viewer brings their body in its physical and mental state. The bare room brings the semblance of a void, or a manufactured emptiness by means of a lack of objects or materials. This paper investigates the relationship between interior space and the body, seen through a lens of absence and loss. These installations pose a void that removes the art object as the primary focus, shifting the focus to the viewer. My art process incorporates a reductive approach, focusing on the minimal forces that space can exert upon the body to negotiate absence or loss. This paper documents this development through a series of three installation works primarily concerned with bare rooms, while exploring the deactivation of desire and mechanisms that can trigger proprioception. The final outcome of my research project was an immersive installation in a seemingly bare room. In this instance, the material gesture was contained to the locus of the walls. Hundreds of 23-gauge hypodermic needles were pinned into the walls like spines from a cactus. The needle tips were only visible from the wall when standing close within two metres from the wall.
Keywordssculpture; installation; void; absence; loss; absent body; vent; final room; trauma; proprioception
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- School of Art - Theses