Creating Screen-Based Multiple State Environments: Investigating Systems of Confutation

Abstract (in English): 

The intentions of this practice-led thesis are to investigate the interplay between Internet based digital narrative, image and interaction, and ultimately develop new practice, which primarily within the experiencing of the artwork articulates a new contribution to the field of study. The dual literature and contemporary practice reviews highlighted this as desired output. The predominant research in the field is not focused on the production of new projects but uses various forms of literary and critical theory to search out new interpretations and structural understanding of the artefacts in question. Similarly the reviews revealed a strong set of visual hegemonies - namely the ascent of neo-minimalism and a preoccupation with the replication of reality. My practice sits between these poles as being a hybrid of detailed line art, handcrafting and popular imagery, and as such, functions with uniqueness. The interstitial paradigm is used to support the practice, as parallels are drawn not only in the aesthetics of the work but also the politic of the communication.

The thesis is organised in three sections, Chapter 1 is theoretically orientated, aimed at defining the context for the practice. Chapter 2 is focussed on the artworks and in the main discusses the thinking behind, development and the production of two new projects -- The Bloody Chamber and Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. Chapter 3 presents the discoveries rooted in the practice, concludes the thesis and finally offers some possible vistas for further research.

The research questions were set-up to investigate the structural and aesthetic possibilities on offer to the practioner when aiming to create artworks that interstitially function on the premise of confutation and resistance whilst still attempting to create a sense of narrative immediacy.

Through a combination of making practice, reflective evaluation and the appraisal of existing artworks I developed a new aesthetic in answer to the research questions. This aesthetic is termed as the "fragital". The fragital is an uncommon pairing of the digital experience -- that being the individualized remote onscreen touch, and the sense of a material and sensitive tangibility. This was used as a means to significantly and emotionally immerse the participant within the multiple state environment, whilst still in the structural accessing of the project, utilising the powers of confusion and disturbance as inherent in interstitial practice.

The culmination of the research and an example of the fragital at work -- is located in the project Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. The artwork is elucidated using critical insights from a group of twelve invited expert participants and an in-depth self-analysis. This group was invited on the basis of their interdisciplinary abilities, personal voice and commitment to my research area. The objective viewpoints of these participants was used not only to aid further understanding of the perception of the project but also to help me as the artist to extract extra arguments, complement my subjective understanding and gain additional contextual insights about my work.

The different strands of the presented research work together to offer new insights into the production and concept of screen-based multiple state environments, and an original artefact Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw, which stands as a method to experience the core of research argument. The insights and discoveries as located in this thesis would be of use to other digital narrative practioners and those studying new media art.

(Source: Author's abstract)

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Meri Alexandra Raita