Missing Links - Evolutionary theory as a model and scientific intervention as a strategy for artistic process and production

Summers, F 2007, Missing Links - Evolutionary theory as a model and scientific intervention as a strategy for artistic process and production, Masters by Research, Art, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Missing Links - Evolutionary theory as a model and scientific intervention as a strategy for artistic process and production
Author(s) Summers, F
Year 2007
Abstract Missing Links explores relationships between objects. It is an empirical exercise in equivalence and divergence, an experiment in the visual nomenclature of enumeration and classification and a dissertation on the materiality of the construction of systems of thought. It is concerned with the manufacture and production of particular histories through the formal analysis of fifty specimens.

The specimens, or objects, under investigation are constructed from recycled corrugated cardboard, water-activated brown tape and hot glue. These materials are transformed and renewed through a series of repetitive processes and activities including cutting, slicing, rolling, joining, gluing…The material is receptive and provisional in nature. The specimens exist as a series of models, one made after the other, each made in response to the one before, and as thus present an unfolding of thoughts and material experiences. They represent a genealogy of the imagination ; creating relationships and dialogues within and between external physical manifestations.

The study of natural history informs this collection with particular reference to the nineteenth century work of Charles Darwin. In his attempts to understand the temporal arrangement of the natural world in The Origin of the Species, Darwin posited the notion of infinite change. This project is inspired by Darwin's emphasis of the sheer multiplicity of living objects, their complexity and the possibility of a transformational and material history. The objects in Missing Links were produced in response to the prolific nature of the natural world, its endless variations and ability to produce exquisite material adaptations. As a collection, they contain, support and enact a layered history, an archive of process and a document of action.

Missing Links also references the procedures of the laboratory - the facilitation of controlled conditions under which experiments, documentary exercises and data collection and collation can take place. It is the merging of these two realms and activities that lies at the heart of the project. The synergy of the artistic world and the scientific activities the project employs highlight similarities and discontinuities between seemingly disparate practices. This is a productive coupling; facilitating interesting juxtapositions between objects and ideas and signalling the potential for the collection to coalesce in a multiplicity of orders in response to the systems of thought that contain and constrain it.
Degree Masters by Research
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) Art -- Philosophy
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Created: Mon, 31 Jan 2011, 12:51:34 EST
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