Mediating Histories: an exploration of audiences and exhibitions in London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (1949-1986)

Bayley, Lucy (2018) Mediating Histories: an exploration of audiences and exhibitions in London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (1949-1986). PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The discipline of exhibition histories has set out to bring into consideration social, spatial, and cultural frames. Despite this, like other areas of art history, it is increasingly constructing its own hegemony. In the process, other agencies, perspectives or approaches are inevitably overlooked and marginalized. This thesis looks to identify and readdress two omissions from some existing writings on exhibition histories – the intersection of audiences and media. This is achieved by researching the archives of London’s Institute of Contemporary Art.
With the ICA as a lens, this project offers a new critical methodology for writing programming and exhibition histories by bringing into consideration the nature of the mediated narrative within exhibitions. The thesis proposes that by taking into account analogue and digital media and ideas of audience engagement and interaction, we can extend the framework of exhibitions beyond curatorial or institutional authority. In taking digital media and its precursors as disruptions we can begin to see dual operations that are continually at play between art historical canon formation and the contemporary contingencies that resist any fixed point of interpretation.
My approach to Mediating Histories has been shaped by the ICA programmes themselves; as well as the ways in which they remain, and are accessed in a variety of archives. Many of these programmes were aligned to a dialogue between art and technology, and as such, to support an understanding of a techno-cultural dynamic, the thesis draws on the media-based perspectives of Sarah Cook and Beryl Graham, Wolfgang Ernst, Bruno Latour and Jane Bennett, alongside feminist approaches to art history, exhibitions and spectatorship by Griselda Pollock and Laura Mulvey. This is grounded in the particular focus given to technology and temporality, and spectatorship and the screen in theoretical writings on the history of contemporary art.
The research project contributes knowledge to exhibition histories, contemporary art and institutional histories, and provides original archival research into exhibitions, artworks and programmes held at the ICA that have not yet received adequate analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design
B. > Theses
Item ID: 25898
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2019 10:57
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 19:46

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