Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Communications and Arts

Faculty

Education and Arts

First Advisor

Dr Nicola Kaye

Second Advisor

Dr Stuart Medley

Abstract

Information in the twenty-first century is at our fingertips in an instant. Through the technology of the mobile phone, computer, and television, we are alerted to information of international, national, local, and personal significance. The aim of this research is to establish that creative practice can provide a cogent forum with which to interrogate the cultural implications of mediated images and text in the twenty first Century. This exegesis Print to pixel explores the interrelationship between the political and cultural values as identified in the various codes within western mainstream news media. The cultural implications of the shift from print to digital technology leading to the immediacy of access to information, is crucial to this research. I focus on the media coverage of September 11 2001 as an example of the use of codes, framing and repetition in western mainstream news media. The coverage of the reaction to September 11 2001 exemplified the potency of images to communicate a particular political and social agenda. The creative component of my research consists of associated extracted images and text from western mainstream news media. The act of extracting and freezing images from the seemingly continuous flow of digital information is key to this research, allowing art gallery visitors to focus and re-engage with too readily dismissed information on screen. I examine the future of print by including digital and traditional print techniques, on paper, on screens and in books, in an investigation of the links between the different technologies used to report the events and consequences of September 11 2001. The combination of theory and practice in the form of reflexive praxis is the methodology I use to develop my findings. Reflexive praxis offers a method for arts practice, as a communicative act, to create a new balance by which the artist/researcher adopts processes acknowledging individual and social influences by applying theoretical rigour to draw new conclusions and propose new questions. Jurgen Habermas refers to the validity claims that are made in the communicative act and states that “The validity claims that we raise in conversation – that is, when we say something with conviction – transcend this specific conversational context, pointing to something beyond the spatiotemporal ambit of the occasion” (1990, p. 19). He refers to the conversation as an opportunity to make a statement that goes beyond the immediate interaction and leads to wider implications. I regard the exhibition of my artworks as providing that ‘conversational context’ in which I raise questions that may have unpredictable implications as the viewer brings to the work their own life influences and prejudices. Therefore, applying reflexive praxis by “reflecting upon, and reconstructing the constructed world,” I constantly analyse the propositions being made through my work and assume “a process of meaning making, and that meaning and its processes are contingent upon a cultural and social environment” (Crouch, 2007, p. 112). It is only through the manifestation of my research ideas in the form of exhibited artworks that an evaluation through reflexive praxis occurs: considering how works are interpreted according to the context in which they are shown, what relationships with other works reveal and whether the artworks successfully address the research aims.

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