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Eight views of nowhere
thesisposted on 16.02.2017, 02:58 by Squires, Meredith Anne
The works in this research are a photographic portrait of 'home' and an exploration of imagined places, both actual and mythical. The visual works document a 'journey' from my daily reality into an idealised world: to and from nowhere. The research explores the questions: What does it mean to take a journey? Can you take a journey without actually going anywhere? Is it possible to 'travel' in a meaningful way while remaining at home? All journeys are to some extent 'imagined' and, like other journeys, a journey at home is a fusion of an actual encounter with place and a constructed narrative. The research looks at the concept of 'home' as a starting point, for an imagined journey. The intertwining of 'image as place' and 'place as image' is explored. How we experience a place as an 'image' before we have visited it may affect our actual bodily encounter with that place. Despite our awareness of the manipulative possibilities of digital technology, many viewers continue to read photographs as reflecting the real world. This research explores the paradox of creating imagined landscapes using photography, a medium that is usually associated with truth. The work ofthree contemporary photographers, Joan Fontcuberta, Thomas Demand and Andreas Gursky is discussed in this context, as these artists all deal with fictions, and create fictional places, using photography. Some of the visual works adopt similar methodologies to those used by Demand, Fontcuberta and Gursky. Chinese landscape paintings have a long tradition of depicting imagined landscapes. The aim of these paintings was to capture the essence or 'spirit' of a place rather than to depict its appearance with strict topological accuracy. The research focusses on a specific genre of Chinese landscape paintings, Eight Views of the Xiao Xiang River, by scholar-painters of the Southern Song Dynasty, and traces the genre from its beginnings in China through its translation and migration throughout East Asia and its consequent changes in style and function. The visual works explore this ancient artistic tradition in a contemporary context. The works experiment with counterpointing western conventions of perspective with non-western multi focal perspective and horizontal and vertical scroll formats used in classical Chinese painting.