The shadow of conflict: the spectre of violence in contemporary art practice
This research is an inter- or multi-disciplinary enquiry of art practice and theory that is formed of three segments: a written theoretical and contextual text, an artist’s notebook containing texts, images and ideas, and a series of image projects exploring and interrogating cultural imagery of conflict and war through reflexive engagement of image making. Although seemingly separate entities and modes of working, art practice and theory should be seen, read and considered here as one research thesis. The process begins by identifying, interrogating and articulating modulated notions of spectre, ghosts and phantoms found in selected texts, and by analysing examples of where, how and why such notions appear. Segment two collates personal thoughts and writing on the discoveries of notions of spectre and provides a ‘notebook’ (personalised writing and images) displaying the thought processes that lead to art practice; this is part of the whole exercise of ‘art practice as research’. Segment three is a series of art practice projects in the form of ‘image experiments’ that provides another layer of analysis after data have been collected and interpreted.
The overall purpose of the process is to provide an example of how theory, personalised writing (notebook) and art practice outcomes (imagery) act as a form of reflexive research. These segments are not only dependent on each other because of their theme, namely, spectrality, but also because they interact as a methodological means of dialectic. Each segment leads to, intellectually interacts with, and influences the other segments or disciplines. Different disciplines, art practice and theory, provide tensions, clashes and caesuras that allow the research to do its job and for potential ‘new’ knowledge to formulate.
Text and imagery that explore the deaths and funerals of IRA, UDA, RUC, PSNI and British Army military and paramilitary personnel.
Beyond the fire: bread as a weapon of war
Text and imagery that explore the aftermath of the Syrian government’s strategic military bombing of bakeries, ‘breadlines’ and farmland in rebel-held areas.
Women: mothers, wives, widows …
Text and imagery that explore the positions and roles of women in conflict and war.
The nonplace in conflict – the imagery of identity in contested sites of memory (2012).
The finality of loneness – small worlds, quiet wars and the terra incognita (2013).
Coffin Bearers – sights of death and visions of political performativity:
Derrida’s ‘Hostipitality’ and Tolerance in the images of Ireland’s Troubles (2014).
Do you believe in Ghosts?
Derrida’s notions of life after death in Ken McMullen’s film Ghost Dance (2015).
CELLSwithinCELLS – short art practice video (2015).