Interesting life : how to make political video art in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts at Massey University

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Massey University
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I started this thesis with the question how is it possible to make political video art in New Zealand? This came out of my desire to understand better the issues for artists currently making political work, as I found that in my practice I kept returning to political themes. It soon became apparent that I needed to include my journey out of community work into an art practice. It also seemed important to acknowledge a significant discovery, that for me, the process is often as important as the art produced. Therefore this paper includes an explanation of my change from community worker to artist, and its relevance to my art practice. And, a discussion about the importance of process: while the central and more pertinent question remains throughout, how to make political video art in New Zealand? I begin looking at philosophy confessing my assumptions about morality and looking at the struggles within postmodern subjectivity: and its implications for content in art work. The next section considers the modernist ideas of the Situationists, and of Joseph Beuys, and their hopes for the fusion of art and life, followed by reflections on my past involvements in community work. I then track the intention shown in the work of Beuys into the postmodern era looking specifically at the work Intervention to aid drug-addicted women. Shedhalle by the Austrian Art Collective Wochenklausur, considering their pragmatic, contextually-specific gestures of art. I look at two of my own works. Weeping Waters and Untitled, focusing on the importance of the process while making the distinction between the process and art.
New Zealand, Video art, Criticism, Interpretation