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Family Album: A photo-media investigation of the global family

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Redmond, E (2013) Family Album: A photo-media investigation of the global family. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This exegesis visually explores the changing identity of the dispersed family from post war Australia to the present. The investigation references my Dutch migrant family which has evolved into a multicultural family with links to India, Japan, Singapore and Australia.
The project has culminated in four installations about different aspects of the global family that investigate three fundamental concepts: origins, belonging and hybridity. The notion of origins denotes parentage, kinfolk and cultural heritage resulting in a sense of belonging through having family and kinship. To evoke the themes of origins and belonging, I have used personal photographs and film footage from my family’s archive to explore the idea of family photo media as a symbol of familial connectedness and as a medium for staying in touch. While the works depict private moments of a shared and mutual history, the archival imagery also generates, for the viewer, the potential for a re-engagement with Australian cultural history. The notion of hybridity relates to mixed origins and cross cultural relationships in a globalized world. Contemporary photographs of my family and their diverse surroundings are entwined to suggest both difference and sameness.
The project’s theoretical foundation is positioned by writers such as Roland Barthes, Annette Kuhn, Marianne Hirsch and Susan Sontag who offer a framework for photography’s power to symbolically bind families. Other writers such as James Clifford, Homi Bhabha and Melissa Chui are pertinent for their discussion of identity in an inclusive globalised world. Charles Merewether and Hal Foster have been significant for their discourse on elegiac interpretations of the archive.
The project’s concern with the connectedness of the evolving dispersed family is informed by artists who make works centred on familial interaction inside a global framework, utilizing photography, archival or found film footage, family photographic albums, still and moving imagery. Elinor Carucci and Annelies Strba have been important for their ability to poetically and intimately describe family bonds. Mohindi Chandra and Fiona Tan have been influential for their works which deal with their own private cross cultural experiences. Within this context, the project has re-examined and re-imagined ideas around the shifting identity of the global family and has investigated strategies for conveying those ideas through the poetic referencing of a unique family archive and the melding of contemporary photographs of a modern dispersed family.
In summary, my project aims to engender an intimate engagement with family in a transitional and transformative state. I have investigated this through the shift of my own family from its Dutch origins into a contemporary global family with traces of diverse cultures, past and present. Ultimately, my family’s story conveys the universal story of the evolving global family whose efforts to stay connected is ongoing.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
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Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2013 04:31
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 01:06
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