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Skins\screens\circuits: how technology remade the body

Kinsey, CEC; (2012) Skins\screens\circuits: how technology remade the body. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is an analysis of the social, political and historical inter-relationships between moving image technologies, constructions of gender and sexuality, and theories of science and technology. Presented as a series of case-studies on film, video, medical imaging and computer technology in the work of five women artists, this thesis looks at the way in which artistic practice overturns traditional theories of technology as purely ‘instrumental’, theories of the subject in which identity is tied to the body, and the assumption that women do not access technology in a sophisticated way. It considers the various ways in which women artists have engaged with, and subverted, the explicit body in representation through deploying new moving image technologies at the historical moment of their widespread distribution across domestic, artistic, pornographic and medical spheres. It ends by asking what is the political potential in challenging the anthropomorphic and destabilizing the figurative through abstraction? Beginning with an investigation into the way in which Carolee Schneemann uses the material properties of film to establish a haptic encounter, in which female and feline bodies are caught up in a sexual economy of touch (pet/petting), this thesis then looks at the work of Kate Craig and the mutual expansion of pornography and home-video technology, questioning the emergence of the ‘amateur’ in relation to theories of power and gender; offers a technological and philosophical modeling of medical imaging technology (taking endoscopy in the work of Mona Hatoum as a case study); and re-evaluates the use of binary in information systems beyond a limiting analogy with ‘Western binaries’ through the work of Nell Tenhaaf. Using the languages of art history together with science & technology studies, medical discourse and feminism, this research theorises gender, technology and medicine as systems of representation that are all deeply inter-connected.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Skins\screens\circuits: how technology remade the body
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright restricted material has been removed from the digital copy of this thesis
UCL classification: UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1354502
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