Monday, November 18, 2013

Excerpt from Thesis Introduction

‘Schizoid Spaces of Defiance’ (Figure 1), the body of work that I will be discussing in this thesis, is an (inconclusive) culmination of experiments conducted over the duration of the MFA course, grappling with the intentionality of hybridity and ambiguity in form and function. I have used the term “schizoid”[1] in order to reference the psychological atmosphere I strive for when creating the isolated spaces in my work, as well as the notion of subversiveness. Avery Gordon, author of ‘Ghostly Matters’[2], describes Bretineau’s[3] history, which includes its current status as a psychiatric residential treatment facility, as a place for the enclosure of “disobedient social subjects and their ideas”. The duality of an asylum being imposed versus self-imposed figures heavily in the spaces I construct.

Figure 1. Assya Makawi. Mock up of ‘Schizoid Spaces of Defiance’, 2013

The artwork is executed in a series of three boxes, housing small screens playing videos[4], as well as objects, which interact with, reflect, obscure and distort them. The boxes are perforated with holes and lenses through which the internal space can be scrutinized, and in turn the viewer is faced with ambiguous, ghostly imagery. Headphones provide confused, layered sound, blurring the distinctions of experiencing internal and external realities.

[1] Schizoid (adjective)
Psychiatry: denoting or having a personality type characterized by emotional aloofness and solitary habits.
informal (in general use) resembling schizophrenia in having inconsistent or contradictory elements; mad or crazy: it's a frenzied, schizoid place.

[2] Gordon examines how the haunting social forces of the past, such as complex intersections of race, gender, and class, control present life.

[3] In ‘Notes for the Bretinau Room of The Workhouse—a Project by Ines Schaber and Avery Gordon’ by Avery Gordon in collaboration with artist Ines Schaber, on ‘The Workhouse’ for Documenta 13, 2012
[4] The videos will be discussed individually in this essay

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