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There is no water in the lake: synchronicity, metaphor, narrative, rhythm, and death, in fine art practice

Murphy, AH; (2015) There is no water in the lake: synchronicity, metaphor, narrative, rhythm, and death, in fine art practice. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access


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This report comprises five dialogues that were converted into chapters and united into a single voice. Chapter one is about C.G. Jung’s theory of “synchronicity.” This term is defined, and the Tarkovsky film The Sacrifice is analyzed for its synchronistic merit. Historical notions of synchronicity and subsequent developments are mentioned, including reference to cosmology and quantum mechanics. The experience of synchronicity is numinous and examples are given from my studio practice. Some figures include Wilhelm, von Franz and Pauli. Ideas explored in subsequent chapters are rooted in this first chapter on synchronicity. Chance and fate are explored in my practice and final artworks often depict a landscape. Chapter two addresses this use of landscape while referencing film, poetry and photography. Romanticism, “the sublime,” and Japanese aesthetics, are all discussed in chapter two. Chapter three, on metaphor and image, draws from the philosophies of Paul Ricoeur and Gaston Bachelard, and references back to Jung and Tarkovsky. For example, “image” is more appropriate to my practice than “metaphor,” though “metaphor” heralds the expression of an “archetype” for Jung. Chapter four explores “rhythm” and my practice is seen as a continuum between word and image. Synchronistic moments suggest the absence of rhythm, and yet they also arrive rhythmically. Rhythmic “time compressions” and “time signatures” are examined. The rhythm of the circle is pondered upon; and this is related to the “monad” discussed in previous chapters. Studio-based experiments working with rhythm are outlined, including a performance of Joyce’s Portrait, as well as other studio-based projects working with verbal rhythms. The rhythms of grace, through the I Ching and St. Augustine’s Confessions, are also explored. This circumnavigation of rhythm culminates in the Jungian archetype of the Self, with many synchronistic consequences. The fifth and final chapter is about death and the photograph, and is designed around the following texts: Barthes, Camera Lucida; von Franz, On Dreams and Death; Whitman, Leaves of Grass; Langford, Suspended Conversations; Cousineau-Levine, Faking Death; Ritchie, A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics; St. Augustine, Confessions. Nearly all of these texts use the “eidolon” to illustrate their ideas. Like a mystical garment, an archetypal image or eidolon suggests its form. Death and synchronicity are inextricably linked; and it is argued that photography is inherently metaphorical.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: There is no water in the lake: synchronicity, metaphor, narrative, rhythm, and death, in fine art practice
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: synchronicity, metaphor, narrative, rhythm, death, fine art practice, art
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
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/1471873
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