• Imaginal Travel: political and ecological positioning through fine art practice

Chong Kwan, Gayle, 2022, Thesis, Imaginal Travel: political and ecological positioning through fine art practice PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This thesis establishes the neologism ‘Imaginal Travel’ and asks how it might constitute a methodology in fine art practice. Tropes of travel can engender a framing in terms of fixing and ‘othering’ people and places so as to facilitate exploitation and degradation and continue neocolonial inequalities. ‘Imaginal Travel’ brings the term together with notion of the imaginal, characterised by Corbin, Castoriadis, Hillman, and Bottici as fluidity, a blurring of boundaries, and flux, to show how each can provide unique perspectives on the other. How might ‘Imaginal Travel’ provide perspectives and possibilities to observe, model, and contest aspects of political and ecological life that traverse the material and spiritual, modes of interiority and exteriority, and the individual and collective? The author’s own fine art practice is set out as instances which are rooted in her own visual myopia and ideas of near and far, through which to navigate. The reader/viewer is positioned as one element in a cosmology of objects, moments, participants, and experiences. This research is based around an individual methodology of fine art practice, but in addition it is one which manifests with and through social practices that engender change in the way that organisations and institutions can work with collecting, commissioning, remembering, conserving, and making meaning with audiences and artists. Other artists working with institutions take object-based approaches, such as Matt Smith who makes queer lives manifest in collections or those who work with politically charged materials, such as Susan Stockwell. Image-based approaches include artists that explore modes of categorisation and display, such as Helmut Völter. This research is unique in focusing on participation and interiority, which are developed through a contingent, dispersed, embodied, and expanded notion of photographic practice to act within and against histories of oppression associated with photography and the museum in strategies of decolonisation. This research asks how interventions in museums, galleries, institutions, and the public realm can question and challenge their acquisitions, modes of public participation, and the status of objects and collections and the ecologies in which they sit. ‘Imaginal Travel’ points to propositional attitudes in travel that involve thinking, making, and doing in the world as ritual and immanent acts in collaboration and in contemplation of inner life.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decolonisation; Museums; Imaginal Travel; Fine Art Practice; Collaboration
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2022 11:40
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 09:40
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5219
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