Possible worlds: recycling as a process of transformation in fan cultures and contemporary art
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationTemin, K. (2007). Possible worlds: recycling as a process of transformation in fan cultures and contemporary art. PhD thesis, VCA - School of Art, The University of Melbourne.
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© 2007 Dr. Kathy Temin
This research assesses the recycling of artistic practices as a process of transformation within popular culture, with a particular focus on the culture of fandom. The influences of Pop Art, Minimalism, Feminism and biography in the practices of Eva Hesse, Andy Warhol and Kylie Minogue are introduced and discussed. This provides an historical framework for a relational dialogue of biography, celebrity and branding in contemporary art and popular culture. The writings on fan cultures by Henry Jenkins and on Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud are discussed, and I put forward that they share correlations, as both these practices are engaged with the sociability of the participants and the audience. My work in the PhD exhibition My House, My Kylie, My Chateau....My everything at the VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery explores these themes. In the work and in the dissertation, I also reflect on the influence that relational dialogues and representations of women in art history and popular culture have had on my practice. The exhibition represented different aspects of my practice that incorporate recycling as a process of transformation, with the aim of generating new meanings. The first room displayed sculptural objects in a dolls-house scale, based on the personal knowledge of houses in which I have lived. These interiors incorporated references to past experiences and my own previous works, remade in miniature and displayed inside the houses in the form of video and mixed media. In another room is documentation and objects that were generated from the My Kylie Collection project, which was a visual and relational dialogue about the escapism of being a fan, through a series of felt and glass pictures, mirrored perspex objects, photographs and videos. In the third room the My Kylie event was a screened via video projection. This project in particular provided source material for both the exhibition and the dissertation, and includes interviews with the performers that demonstrate a variety of identifications with the reception of Kylie Minogue. This event took place at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London during 2004, and came about by an open invitation to the public to perform any Kylie Minogue song. An auditioning process revealed a range of interpretive modes and identifications with Kylie. They include women identifying with the femininity and coquettishness of ‘Kylieness’, of camp and drag interpretations, of women in popular culture, and of adolescent imitation and improvisation. This PhD explores the transformation of an image or memory through the process of recycling, linking with both Relational Aesthetics and fan cultures. Jenkins uses the term ‘filking’ for describing the common fan practice of interpreting existing texts, and he examines the association between the practices of the fan, the artist and the academic. Therefore, his work is central to my study, and its relationship to Relational Aesthetics is a topic of exploration in this dissertation. I posit that Relational Aesthetics and fan cultures share similar methodologies, where the dialogue between the performer and the audience helps to develop the work, and create new meanings.
Keywordspop art; minimal art; feminism; fans; identity; idealism in art; popular culture
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