The anxiety of the relation: the image as prosthetic perception
AffiliationSchool of Art
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-08-22. This item is currently available to University of Melbourne staff and students only, login required.
© 2018 Stephen Palmer
This project is concerned with an investigation of the image, and the technical apparatus through which it is produced, as a prosthesis. I develop a thinking of the prosthetic function of the image through a concentrated reading of the writings of Samuel Beckett, in whose work prostheses figure in various guises. My reading of Beckett is developed from his early critical writings on painting and literature, in which he explicitly questions the relationship between the artwork and the world it presumes to capture. This critique is connected to developments in Beckett’s prose work which come to demonstrate a prosthetic logic; which I elaborate here in relation to the use of this term in the work of Jacques Derrida. The image as prosthesis enacts a problematisation of relations implicit in the production and viewing of images: between the body and the world, the eye and the camera, phenomenal experience and its mediation in memory, photography or writing. The creative component of my research takes cues from Beckett’s work, yet seeks to explore how this prosthetic function can operate through different imaging apparatuses, including photography, video, drawing, and installation. This work is motivated by the acceleration of image technologies in the context of everyday life, and their disorienting and alienating effects. In taking cues from Beckett, I explore the way in which an artwork can reveal the prosthetic dimension of perception, and question the conventional positing of subjective experience in the production and viewing of images.
Keywordsvisual art; Samuel Beckett; Jacques Derrida; prosthesis; installation art; video art; photography; literature; philosophy
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