Through my programme of practice-led research I have used role-play as a vehicle
for the exploration of identity and politics in a series of art works encompassing
video, drawing and photography. This research discusses the highly spatialised ways
of describing cultural identity, covering aspects of: film, mapping, spatial practices
and theory, performativity and translation, as well as a body of art works by the
artist- researcher and other contemporary artists. I move through overlapping terrains
of female geographers, cultural and visual theorists, filmmakers, architectural
historians and theorists, sociologists, psychoanalysts, art writers and artists.
My primary focus is role-play and identity with relation to the experience of place
and displacement - role-play for me is a strategy for the physical navigation and
negotiation, translation and reconciliation within a given site. In my practice I make
use of the characters of the Navigator and the Ambassadress to explore physical and
linguistic aspects of the description and translation of space. I will discuss these
roles, through the art works generated, firstly to explore the legacy of female
explorers and the rise of spatial language and metaphor to examine the female
experience of space, and secondly to interrogate the notion of disorientation and
dislocation; of being out of place.
The written thesis is constructed around two main sections - mirroring the two roles
in my practice: that of the Navigator and the Ambassadress. The submission consists
of art works made during the doctoral research programme, employing these roles to
produce separate bodies of drawing, photography and multi-screen video works that
reflect my primary themes.