HANNAH THUAL    
 

What is below the surface? Seemingly simple question, is an ever-present consideration whist making work. Thus the surface of things, the surface of people, the surface of judgement, are so many ways in which this question of surface might be posed. I have always been attracted by the diversity of the human subject and with it the question of why we construct ourselves so differently from each other. Certainly from the standpoint of the phenomenon of society, the mass of individualities is scattered and the essence of objects is dissolved. There is no limit to hold on to, but only paradoxes that baffle our expectations.

Are we conscious of the perpetual ambivalence between the expected and the unpredictable, the visible and the invisible, the permeable and the impenetrable? What do we offer for the other to see and what do we perform for the other to say? In turn are there walls that we build around ourselves and inside ourselves, what are they made of and why do we create them?

Often grown as protective interfaces, the porous skin quickly becomes a suffocating beacon, an implement or means of imprisonment.

Throughout my practice, I explore artificial materials and endeavour to understand the nature of the separation between an exterior and an interior self, between illusion and the limits of visibility, between understanding and language. Using photography, various form of print and object making, my current work is researching the tensions and slippages between everyday life, the familiar, and what one could call the active and variable performativity of identity.

When all these sensations seem to be voiceless, or unheard, we must address the audience: with material facts beyond a selfish rhetoric.

 

 

 

DISSERTATION'S PREFACE

" I have attempted to produce a text that is both a body of writing in different register but is also an investigation or even an experiment into ways of spacing image, text and graphics into structures that are spaced. This would not only imply a reading across and between levels of these representations but also take seriously the idea that a thesis is also a mode of presentation not simply reducible to what is being said. Afterall it should become evident that there might be limits to what is sayable anyway. It is not that the imaginary and the symbolic are different orders of the subject, or even that the seeable and the sayable do not easily cohere but that what lies between such differences is what is truly striking. Thus what we fail to understand or see is invariably the most important element within the various fields that constitute our intelligible and sensible universe. I feel that graphical encounter is on equal footing or status to the written, so judgement might thus be both affective and conceptual without wishing to cohere into a single unity."

INTRODUCTION

I wish to question the idea of limits but it is difficult to find the right words for such an undertaking. In a way I am trapped between experiences and a desire to make them tangible through words and the feeling that there will be a limitation in doing so. It is possible to constantly question the relationship between the self and the other; and even the divide that composes the self in relationship to the self as an artist, which is based on the irony of the orginal self. I must admit that I have never really had a conscious template whereby I would be able to give an account of who I am so, I am still awaiting that point in my life when I can properly use the word “I”. I do not tremble at the misery of not really knowing what stands behind such an utterance. Anyway, why are we so convinced that such an entity exists? Perhaps we are all joined together with a half apprehension that such an entity is a mere illusion but have not yet found the conceptual framework to communicate this. I do not wish to start with Descartes in order to work out this problem because this would be a shorthand route to centre me and yet other issues relating to naming and designation. Perhaps being an artist is taking a pathway whereby things might never be resolved but rather are complicated or made even more opaque. In this context I need to work with words even though this is my second language, and I also find language a somewhat alien tool because I am also dyslexic. In this context there is nothing which can be done other than attempting to discover my own means of doing something via a double screen of estrangement, an opportunity to invent ways to pass through all of this. If you pressed me then I would claim that silence itself speaks with greater eloquence but then clever people would reply that all words are born out of silence. This might be a good reason to pursue the notion that the limit of language is to be found in silence. Rather, language and silence are co-extensive and as such silence is not the limit experience of language. In turn we might also elect to be on the side of the void as opposed to things in the world, but then gradually discover that all things find their origin in the void and in turn return to that condition. All of this would imply that our sense of limit is an arbitary construction through which we are given an economy of living that detaches us from death. A sign we might claim close to those magical non- entities; the slience and the void. I am writing this without having to invest in the idea of the Zen idea of a non-dual reality. All I would say is that I detest filling the world with more distinctions or limits.

LIMIT (TO OURSELF)
Dissertation -tutor Jonathan Miles