Master of Creative Arts (Research)
Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts
Grady, Kraig, Shadows of exile: an installation of puppets, masks and musical instruments, Master of Creative Arts (Research) thesis, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong, 2015. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/4514
My creative research project includes an installation and an exegesis. The project investigates whether installation art can materialise an imagined space that might externalise the experience of exile. I explore the potential for installation art to incorporate elements that are traditionally found in performance and to recontextualise them in an immersive and playful environment. This project draws on three decades of my creative practice including shadow theatre, silent films, fictional narratives, musical performance and composition with handcrafted instruments which have been situated in a mythopoetic space called Anaphoria Island. The current work attempts to make tangible this space in an installation that draws on a variety of media, my own experience of exile and my multi-faceted cultural background of nine different ethnicities.
The installation is realised through the method of bricolage as a creative approach in order to illuminate multiple perspectives of exiles, consolidated into a single space. The project also investigates how contemporary art practices such as Ilya Kabakov’s concept of ‘total installation’ can be used to create an immersive environment in which the viewer becomes an active participant in the work. The installation comprises a variety of constructed artefacts arranged in front of LED lighting displays that draw attention to the contrast between materiality and shadow. These artefacts were created through experimentation during the studio work with found objects and materials, such as bamboo, fabric, shoemaking material, plaques and discarded furniture. Using strategies such as bricolage and ‘total installation’, the final work aims to investigate the capacity of installation art to project the multiple experiences and personifications of exile.