Rachelle Viader Knowles
A translocal approach to dialogue-based art

Abstract

This thesis is a practice-led investigation into a translocal approach to dialogue-based art. The research has been undertaken through the practice of the ‘artist/academic’, drawing on my professional experience in artistic research, academic leadership and teaching, each informing my methods and findings. The problem which emerged through the practice is how to devise an approach to dialogue-based art that is responsive to twenty-first century social relations and telecommunications and attendant to the politics of mobility that constrain and control human movement.

The research develops and tests out the application of ideas from the interdisciplinary field of translocality to the practice of dialogue-based art through the production of three collaborative projects. I argue that the practice of dialogue-based art, when informed by translocality, is better placed to critically reflect and act upon the conditions of contemporary life within networked and globalised society. In Translocal Geographies: Spaces, Places and Connections (2011) Brickell and Datta argue for a multi-scalar understanding of translocality beyond the discourse of national borders and international migrations, deploying the term as an expression of “simultaneous situatedness across different locales” (2011: 4). Viewed this way, the theory and practice of translocality presents a framework to understand the activities and goals of artists and artist-led networks seeking to bridge difference towards shared spaces of meaning. As the translocal research perspective develops towards ideas of local-to-local connectivities and a discourse of circulations and transfers, so translocality as applied to dialogue-based art proposes an expanded understanding of dialogue-based art across spatial, temporal and cultural distance.

Through three practice-based projects, QR Code Project, Let Me Tell You The Story Of My Neighbour and #3CityLink, presented within the thesis as case studies, the research reveals a set of characteristics that articulate a translocal approach to dialogue-based art. I argue that this approach enables the ‘translocal artist’ to draw on multiple modes of dialogue-based practice, contributing to understandings of ‘simultaneous situatedness’ within the translocal research perspective.