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Re-imagining the Public: West German Intermedia Practices in the 1960s and 1970s

Kanta, Anna-Maria; (2019) Re-imagining the Public: West German Intermedia Practices in the 1960s and 1970s. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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This thesis interrogates the inherent ambiguities, ideological frictions, utopian impulses, and broader sociopolitical implications of West German intermedia production in the 1960s and 1970s. Coined by American Fluxus artist Dick Higgins, the term “intermedia” first appeared in 1966 to designate a range of international practices that aimed at dissolving the traditional boundaries between medium-specific genres, and at challenging conventional hierarchies between artists and audience. Built around three case studies – the work of Wolf Vostell, Ferdinand Kriwet and Klaus Peter Brehmer – the thesis seeks to scrutinize and problematize the notion of “audience participation”, that formed the crux of media-crossing practices over my period of study. The concern over the reeducation and activation of the public beyond the institutional confines of art features prominently in the work of these three artists. Attending to the extensive transformations that occurred in West Germany from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, I examine how new, diversified, multiple conceptions of the public manifested themselves in these three artists’ intermedial couplings of word, image, and performance. To do so, I address a series of interrelated questions: How notions of “fusion” or “synthesis” of the arts allowed these artists to re-imagine their audience and alternative public spheres of production and consumption? In which ways their work responded to the emergence of new social stratifications and identities? How they renegotiated the legacies of the prewar avant-gardes? And, finally, which were the community-building possibilities of their intermedia work? The three case studies seek to situate the turn to intermedia practices historically, demonstrating how these three artists’ strategies of appellation and audience participation intersected with and conjured up ideologically charged typologies and shifting representations of the collective body.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Re-imagining the Public: West German Intermedia Practices in the 1960s and 1970s
Event: UCL
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068578
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