The Thalassocentric Apparatus : Connected Art Processes From the Sea Showing Multi-scale Changes Through Their Own Emergence and Collapse.

Hartley, John (2015) The Thalassocentric Apparatus : Connected Art Processes From the Sea Showing Multi-scale Changes Through Their Own Emergence and Collapse. Doctoral thesis, University of the Arts London in collaboration with Falmouth University.

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Abstract / Summary

The sea changes in many ways and on many levels. These changes are complex and highly connected and as a result are hard to predict.

Connected, changing systems of different scale are found in many areas of life. As well as physical systems such as the sea, they are apparent in emerging and collapsing ecological systems (Gunderson, Holling 2002), in systems of human ideas such as the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari and, as I argue, in arts practice.

Although attempts to know the sea are inherently difficult, they also offer opportunities. For example, if we were better able to perceive the changes of the sea, we might better approach other pressing problems that categorise our current age, such as climate change and the threat of collapse within other socio-ecological systems. A sea-centred form of ecological thinking could promote awareness of change and connection on different scales in varied realms.

I demonstrate how forms of change, initially familiar through the movements of the sea, can be understood through arts practice. I refer to this sea-centred, ecological perception as ‘thalassocentric’i, (from the Greek thalassa, sea). This term denotes an outlook that (in some way) originates within the sea, even if it then addresses land, social arrangements or human imagination. Although thalassocentric understanding is derived from the movement of waves, I show that the concept can be developed as a useful tool for understanding changes beyond the oceans.
Having analysed a number of key creative practices that engage with the contexts described, I develop an arts-centred use of the term 'apparatus'. I show that art apparatuses can be considered to move and change in ways that are also thalassocentric. This model is tested and applied through a series of creative projects which suggest that changes within art apparatuses can help us understand changes elsewhere. It therefore offers a valuable model that can contribute to our knowledge and understanding of other complex systems.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sea in art
Subjects: Geography & Environment
Depositing User: Lucy Seale
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2019 10:00
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:28


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