Beyond the Clock: The Aesthetics of Time in Contemporary Art

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dc.contributor.advisor Minissale, G en Brettkelly-Chalmers, Kathleen en 2016-05-11T02:35:20Z en 2016 en
dc.identifier.citation 2016 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This thesis explores the multiple times, durations and chronologies of contemporary art. It argues that recent art practices have engaged time as a multiplicitous figure: a phenomenal dimension that takes on a multitude of different forms and significances. Time is both a physical dimension of the universe and a dynamic, fluctuating process of change. Time is the tick of the clock, but it is also the accumulation of dust on the mantelpiece, the fast-­‐paced digital connections of contemporary technologies, and the incremental boredoms of everyday experiences. Contemporary art is unique because it approaches time, not as a unitary subject or theme, but as a multifaceted dimension that unfurls along different timelines. This study suggests that art achieves this temporal diversity by virtue of its multiple media, modalities and aesthetic compositions. Since the wane of the seemingly ‘atemporal’ aesthetic values of modernism in the late 1950s, a variety of artists have solicited the figure of time in remarkably different ways. This thesis looks at significant works such as those of On Kawara and Robert Smithson, but also lesser-­‐known pieces by artists such as Daniel Crooks, Toril Johannessen and Marcus Coates. The crucial argument here is that art does not engage time as a singular symbol, theme or representation, but actually instantiates its divergent qualities within different aesthetic media and modes that variously obtain their own systems of duration, change and measurement. The broader significance of this multiplicitous instantiation of time is its resistance to the historical standardisation of ‘The Time’—the reductionist legacy of Enlightenment determinism and capitalist modernity. The polychronous timescapes of contemporary art put pressure on the singular gearing of modernity; they resist the blanket universality of chronology and its regulations. Beyond the clock, this study develops an alternative theoretical framework for considering the time of aesthetics by drawing on Henri Bergson’s and Gilles Deleuze’s philosophies of becoming, the relative timescales of Albert Einstein’s physics, the immanent durations of philosophical phenomenology, and the more recent ‘speculative realism’ of the philosopher Quentin Meillassoux. In this respect, this study sets out to describe how art actually contributes to time: the multiple durations of contemporary practices are shown to sustain time as a dynamic force of creativity and becoming, in the face of its persistent conscription by the homogeneous standardisations of modernity. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264841311702091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
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dc.title Beyond the Clock: The Aesthetics of Time in Contemporary Art en
dc.type Thesis en Art History en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 527574 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2016-05-11 en

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