Harper, A (2017) How can my textile art and my textile craft processes contribute to a dialogue through an investigation of materials used in a disposable culture? PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.

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In this thesis I explore the contribution that my textile art and textile craft processes can contribute to an ethical dialogue through an emerging materiality. This contribution is distinctive because, by focussing on certain materials commonly thought of as ‘waste’, I am drawing attention to how the growth and acceptability of a disposable culture alienates us from both the material world and also from knowledge of ourselves. Through my practice and this thesis, and the interface between them, I explore how a recognition of this use, or rather mis-use, of resources can assist in better understanding the isolation and alienation that society is experiencing as noted for example by Bauman (2003). My current art practice and this research project seeks to uncover, reveal and deepen the connections with our material world; connections that are currently stretched and ruptured by the strictures of capitalism and the politics of neoliberalism. My work is about resources, the depletion of which impacts on the natural world and the biosphere. It seeks to bring about a reassessment of how we use, view and value ‘common’, everyday objects and materials in post-industrial societies, seeking to bring about and enable a less destructive and combative system of production and reproduction than currently exists. This work takes the form of an examination of materialism and materiality, less about its economic impact, but more as a search for a different materialism, a new materialism, a deep materialism, which will enable a reviewing and a reparation of the relationships between matter and materials and our (optional) need and desire for both. The materials I use in my practice have already passed through people's hands. They have been used fleetingly, are felt but not seen; consigned to their post-use phase. They are not broken, but our relationship with them is. I am re-working and re-presenting these materials so that they are seen as part of an integral and egalitarian 'whole', with no one material, human or otherwise, being seen as dominant or more important than the other. With recent developments in quantum physics showing us that matter we previously thought of as 'inert' is in fact made up of vibrating strands of energy and in a post-anthropocentric age of diminishing resources and an uncertain future, some may say an ecological crisis, it is crucial that we reassess and revise our relationship with the material world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)

Thesis supervised by Kerry Curtis.

The version of the thesis attached to this record has had some images redacted from it due to potential copyright issues.

Keywords: textiles, materiality, waste, waste disposal, material world, capitalism, resources, natural world, biosphere, post-industrial society, recycling, re-use,
Divisions: Bath School of Art and Design
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2018 15:42
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2018 15:43
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