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  • The Relationship between the Visual and the Verbal within a Comedic Moment: After the laughter

Thallon, Norma-Louise, 2011, Thesis, The Relationship between the Visual and the Verbal within a Comedic Moment: After the laughter PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This research looks at comedy and question what its function is. It identifies the gag as a specific moment that solicits laughter and examines what is expressed within and through a gag and whether a gag can trigger a change in our thinking. What are the structures, functions and outcomes of a gag? The project approaches these questions through an examination of the relationship between the visual and the verbal within the gag. This examination involves two very different types of comedy, silent and stand-up, and considers specific gags from both. The methods used for this examination take the form of both a body of visual artwork and a written thesis.
The visual work consists of photographs, videos and text pieces. It is within the video works that the relationship between the visual and the verbal is most readily seen and this is due to the mimetic techniques used to make the work. The videos are a series of re-enactments of silent and stand-up moments and involve my re-performance to camera of selected gags. I have removed certain elements from the gag while emphasizing others through mimicry. In doing so I hope to make the viewer of the relationship between language and gesture within a gag.
The writing begins with an examination of what it is that constitutes a gag. The relationship between gag and narrative is looked at first, then the relationship between the comic performer and the audience, and finally the ways in which the comic performer manipulates the medium that is used to create the gag. Following this comes a close reading of three comic performers’ work: Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr., Richard Pryor’s Live in Concert and Jo Brand’s Barely Live. The gags in each work are examined in order to see how the relationship between the visual and the verbal is used to solicit laughter and then further examined in order to discover what effect the gag has on its audience. How do language and gesture work together to challenge the audience's thinking?
The methods used in both the practical work and the writing are empirical in natures. The source material is examined closely: gags are unpicked and put back together again. This approach allows the research to tease out some propositions surrounding the relationship between the visual and the verbal.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W600 Cinematics and Photography > W640 Photography
School or Centre: School of Fine Art
Copyright Holders: Royal College of Art, The Author
Date Deposited: 12 May 2011 16:43
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2011 16:24
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/396

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