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Materials Matter: The Politics of Posthumanist Performativity in Contemporary Studio Practice

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Materials Matter: The Politics of Posthumanist Performativity in Contemporary Studio Practice

Meloche, Jaclyn (2015) Materials Matter: The Politics of Posthumanist Performativity in Contemporary Studio Practice. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Written through the eyes of a doer, “Materials Matter: The Politics of Posthumanist Performativity in Contemporary Studio Practice” narrates a philosophical complication of materials in a studio practice through what feminist quantum physicist Karen Barad names a posthumanist performative framework - a theoretical model through which all that is nonhuman matter [phenomenon] becomes active, and agential via methods of intra-activity and embodiment. In other words, through an open-ended apparatus, Barad suggests that materials perform. Provoked by the idea that materials in a studio practice, in the words of Barad, do, I deconstruct the ways in which material agents in contemporary art, such as lines, taste, place, and smell, become lead actors who complicate the historical and philosophical entanglements between the body and a thing.
Leading up to a thoughtful epilogue about the material choices that I make in my studio practice, I turn to three examples of contemporary women artists who are also engaged with ontological explorations of matter. Jess Dobkin, through the collection, and distribution of breast milk, challenges the traditional practice of performance art by problematizing the relationships between human and nonhuman agency in The Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar. Katrin Sigurdardottir’s spatial installation High Plane V exemplifies the ways in which the space of place embodies locational performativity, while Kim Faler’s site-specific intervention Untitled (99 44/100% pure) stages the performativity of smell. In response to the question – how do materials in a studio practice do – all of the women in this study, including the author, challenge the limitations of human agency in contemporary art by reassessing the ways through which their materials become performers in the studio, the art gallery, the museum, and the everyday.

Divisions:Concordia University > Research Units > Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Meloche, Jaclyn
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Humanities
Date:27 April 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Salter, Christopher
Keywords:research-creation, performance, performativity, contemporary art, studio practice
ID Code:979987
Deposited By: JACLYN MELOCHE
Deposited On:16 Jul 2015 14:55
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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