Material remains: the afterlife of personal objects

Humphries, C 2014, Material remains: the afterlife of personal objects, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Material remains: the afterlife of personal objects
Author(s) Humphries, C
Year 2014
Abstract When a family member dies, their personal possessions begin an afterlife. After death material objects enter new systems of circulation and value, and even ordinary belongings can resonate with significance. In this practice-based PhD I explore the idea that objects of deceased family can arouse an experience of aura. I take my own collection of inheritances as a point of departure, and turn to printmaking to examine how an auratic encounter with them can be visualised. Through a theoretically engaged, creative enquiry I grapple with the notion of aura and ask how it can be re-conceptualised in relation to inherited objects. In a reciprocal gesture I also turn my attention to printmaking itself, and question how the materiality of personal objects can inform an approach to contemporary practice.

My aims are to produce an exhibition of artwork that invites an auratic experience of personal objects, and to engage with making as an embodied form of reflexive enquiry. Together, the studio work and exegesis propose a re-thinking of aura, where it is conceived as an experience of present-absence. I suggest that an auratic object is one that creates binding connections to absent people, producing simultaneous feelings of intimacy and separation. In addition I extend a methodology of linocut printmaking and explore ways to reconfigure the relation between hand and surface in print-based practice.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) Printmaking
Personal objects
Family
Embalming
Exhumation
Burial
Mourning
Aura
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Created: Thu, 21 May 2015, 12:12:57 EST by Denise Paciocco
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