Doctor of Creative Arts
Faculty of Creative Arts
Harris, Penelope, The telling of tales: an installation and readings concerning waiting, Doctor of Creative Arts thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2002. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/941
The thesis 'The telling of stories: readings and an installation concerning waiting' explores my sculptural exhibition 'Waiting' which was shown in the Faculty of Creative Arts Gallery at Wollongong University in April 2001. Underpinning this research is the understanding of autobiography and subjectivity, and the literary evocation of melancholy and loss in the work of Gunter Grass, harking back to Durer's 'Melancholia'of 1514.
The exhibition explored two series of photographs taken by my grandfather in Canada in the early twentieth century. The first series of photographs recorded the space of operating theatre where his mother had died, and the second series documented the space where his wife had recently died and the subsequent abandonment of the house. This study examines these historical photographs in which my grandfather sought to record absence and loss, and to depict death through specific locations. The sculptural work of 'Waiting' is informed by the notion that an emotion such as grief can be given form, made into an object and given an aesthetic.
The sculpture explores objects that have a relationship with the body, such as hospital equipment, domestic objects and furniture. I look for the traces and residues left by body on an object.
This research into my grandfather's photography and the installation 'Waiting' brings together objects in a space informed by historical photographs. The significance of work is the combination of disciplines within theories of loss and memory. I draw together in this investigation the disciplines of photography, sculptural practice, writings of the early recordings of sound, literary theory, printmaking and autobiographical theory which sits undisclosed beneath it all.