Encountering Statues: Object Oriented Ontology And The Figure In A Sculptural Practice

This study reappraises the role and value of statues (i.e. the figure as sculpture) in order to determine what happens when we encounter these objects. The consideration and construction of statues in my studio practice has generated specific insights into statues as person-shaped objects and into our encounter with these objects. From the perspective of a practice making statues this study addresses how, through the encounter, statues both stimulate and obscure our perceptions of them as objects. My practitioner’s understanding of statues is articulated and enlarged by developing methods which allowed me to gain an expanded perspective of my practice, through data collected from conversations about statues, and via a subsequent diffractive dialogue with concepts gleaned from other disciplines. This research process has revealed specific characteristics of the encounter, and of statues themselves, that have been excluded or obscured by familiar assumptions and theories, such as a tacit consideration of statues that allows us to be unsettled by their nudity, or the role touch plays in considering statues, and ultimately the history of the object itself. These findings are considered through a sustained engagement with Object Oriented Ontology (after Harman). Through this process, my initial findings are subsequently expanded and further enhance a re-conception of the encounter and of statues as objects. Finally, I argue for the importance of considering this reappraisal of the role the encounter with statues could play in revealing and reframing our relations with objects more generally.

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