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Two Minutes to Midnight, the Agency of Hydrogen in an Art of the Anthropocene

Laessing, Nicholas; (2021) Two Minutes to Midnight, the Agency of Hydrogen in an Art of the Anthropocene. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This research project is an artistic investigation into the element hydrogen and its agency in the context of an art of the Anthropocene and ecological emergency. A series of installation artworks utilise hydrogen made from water as a locally produced renewable energy for artistic agency and spectator participation. Concurrently, I address the praxis and theory of interdisciplinary art practice across the areas of science, technology, and utility. The studio practice produced a series of artworks titled Life-Systems that adopt the process of water-electrolysis to create hydrogen, achieved with the scientific input of the Electrochemical Innovation Laboratory at UCL. The resulting art installations test scenarios of utility within an artistic framework by finding everyday uses for hydrogen as an energy carrier and fuel. Oxygen, the waste gas of water electrolysis may be collected and repurposed. Other artworks in the series aim towards an ecology or mutuality of interdependent technologies that engage with the water-food-energy nexus, investigating plant-food and clean water production. They aim to support one another technically whilst theoretically questioning the politics and structures of reliance upon non-sustainable resources at a time of ecological crisis. The recently accepted view of the Anthropocene epoch as a geological event caused by human impact on earth systems, augments a shift in our relationship with our planet. My research aims to engage with and contribute to the emerging field of ontological and epistemological Anthropocene discourses by examining the roles of art, utopian narratives, and technology in this epoch. This approach also concerns the nature of interdisciplinary research, social practice, and its relations with art pedagogy. I theorise strategies to navigate the territory that connects art and science, focusing on the paradoxical relationship of art objects and utility, aiming to contribute to knowledge and understanding in this area.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Two Minutes to Midnight, the Agency of Hydrogen in an Art of the Anthropocene
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10136924
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