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Props for social discourse


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Hudson, WZ 2000 , 'Props for social discourse', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This research project investigates the role of seating in
rural and urban public spaces. It incorporates references
to both past and contemporary societies and has been
developed as a series of Props for Social Discourse. The
result has been the development of pieces of furniture that
began with a narrative response to thinking about my life,
growing up and living on the North West Coast of
Tasmania. On one level, the resulting works tell a story
about how country folk or city folk converse with one
another in relatively relaxed social situations. The
narrative depicts this Australian discourse both with
humour and with a more serious cultural intention, one
which is focussed upon how furniture might influence
social intercourse.
Running parallel to this investigation, on a formal level, I
have explored the integration of metals and leather. I
have woven these two materials together to create a unity.
The works challenge the traditional use of these materials,
especially in the manner that they have been utilised
jointly to date.
The starting point for these Props for Social Discourse
was my observation of the manner in which rural people
from my district placed their bodies in particular positions
when participating in social discourse. This led me to
develop the theme of the Leaning Post which, in its
various manifestations, is intended to be introduced into
public social spaces. These works are directed towards
bars, cafes, clubs and meeting places. The public spaces
are specific to people who rest and have social discourse
whilst their body is in a vertical, semi-standing position.
Another body of work in these Props for Social Discourse
is a range of seating which has been formulated through
my investigations of the positions strangers place
themselves in while sitting in public spaces. I have developed seating where the sitting positions are separated
in order to create a comfortable personal resting place.
The seating also addresses the direction that people need
to face whilst sitting. This directional position changes
constantly as strangers rest together within public spaces.
It is my intention that these Props for Social Discourse
have an immediate tactile response with the body. This
feeling is visually enhanced where I have integrated metals
and leather. I have paralleled these responses with the
sexual ones we encounter when relating body skin with
sheer fabric or with see-through metal fabric that is
presently evident within contemporary body adornment.
The outcome has been the melding of these responses
within the Props. This development has allowed me to
produce larger scale pieces for public spaces which give
people the opportunity to respond to the tactility of the
form, in both a sensual and sensory way. It is intended
that their regional source is also emphasized.
By drawing upon my past regional imagery and
transforming them into usable contemporary Props, this
thesis addresses social interaction in public spaces.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Hudson, WZ
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