• Between movement and stasis: Loops within the durational

Young, Frances, 2024, Thesis, Between movement and stasis: Loops within the durational PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This research examines various iterations and configurations of loop forms in moving image and sound, via artists’ use of particular audio-visual technologies; this practice-led investigation acts as a catalyst for academic writing. My field of study moves between the contemporary – including my own practice – and the period from the mid-1960s to early 1970s. I use this historical move to engage with medium-specificities and working processes as they are figured within the reciprocal conditions of technological development and sociopolitical contexts. I set out to discover what “thinking between” the 1960s and now can tell us about the present; this method also creates a temporal looping back and forth throughout the dissertation.

With the terms loops and looping I refer firstly to the digital or analogue loop: at its most basic, a short repeating section. I then examine how the loop can embody more complex structures – involving variation, modulation, layering, erasure; taking the form of a spiral, or a multiplicity of loops, or a divergence along different paths which return to the same point. Looping also extends to feedback loops – in terms of analogue audio / video / electronic feedback; as a mode of cybernetics and machine-to-machine imaging; and as a mode of operations within a broader network of social monitoring, surveillance and control. I also explore materiality, meta-materialities, and dematerialisation through the loop.

The thesis situates loop forms as manifestations of cultural and ideological conditions – operating through, and at times against, technological medium-specificities. I place the loop within, or alongside (at times contra), the durational; investigating the dynamics between these temporal modes, and the idea of “presence” within them. I use the term durational in the context of time-based media and also with a Bergsonian inflection: duration which involves a flow or flux between different elements of time, where the past flows into the present – at times intersecting it.

Through my research I find points of oscillation or confluence between movement and stasis in the loop; this intersects with dualities between recording and erasure, absence and presence – as well as past and present. Informed by post-Marxist philosophy and cultural theory (Agamben, Virilio, Steyerl, Fisher, The Invisible Committee), my research is grounded in the political force of the apparatus and of cultural forms. The thesis also engages with thinking around a posthumanist response to technological mediation (Braidotti, Guattari), and with media archaeology.

My thesis addresses the following research questions:

How do loops reflect cultural and ideological conditions at the same time as engineering or manipulating them, shaping our perceptual experience? How does this affect our experience of duration?

How does the loop in moving image and sound practice operate in relation to particular recording technologies?

In what ways does the loop create an oscillation or intersection between movement and stasis, and what kinds of materialities emerge or dissipate through this?

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Loops / Looping; Artists’ Moving Image; Sound; Technology; Temporal economies & duration
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2024 09:57
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2024 09:57
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5831
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