The apprehension of mortality

Dickson, B 2017, The apprehension of mortality, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The apprehension of mortality
Author(s) Dickson, B
Year 2017
Abstract To be fully conscious of one’s own imminent or eventual death is a solitary and repeated confrontation with finite reality. This is a time where one’s consciousness switches between truly knowing inevitable mortality and possibly finding refuge in the fullness of life. To be in ‘apprehension’ denotes being in fearful anticipation and has a quality of grasping, or taking hold. As time limited beings our approach to an intimate relationship with mortality may cause perplexity and fear while the meaning of death itself remains elusive. Fear and unknowing may promote the need to seek and hold meaning. This research project arises from my lived and observed experience of the fragility of human existence, an experience that highlights the transience of life and the impermanence of the material world. In my research practice I explore the moment of attempting to recognize my own inevitable death. I aim to evoke a contemplative response through the delivery of my research project, where questions of meaning relating to mortality can be addressed.

In considering the apprehension of mortality the philosophical approaches of Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze, Martin Heidegger and Kitaro Nishida are discussed alongside psychological and neurobiological interpretations of time and responses to mortality. Art practitioners such as Claire Morgan, Bill Viola, Lee Ufan, Len Lye and Laura Woodward are key to framing my approach to studio investigation. I find a material quality in the apprehension, or grasp, of mortality. Areas of practice include light, sculpture, photography, kinetic art, 3D design, rendering and printing, sound and video. Video projection emerges as the primary medium in the delivery of my project. An appreciation of expressions of time is significant in my research direction. Through involving the viewer in a time extended visual experience I aim to evoke a contemplative moment, in which repetition, movement, variation, duration, irresolution and yearning take place as human responses to mortality.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Subjects Lens-based Practice
Art Theory
Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)
Keyword(s) Mortality
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Created: Thu, 05 Oct 2017, 07:27:24 EST by Denise Paciocco
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