A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London, for the degree of Doctor of Fine Art

Prof Doc Thesis

Aoun, Caline 2012. A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London, for the degree of Doctor of Fine Art. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.1852
AuthorsAoun, Caline
TypeProf Doc Thesis

I was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983 in the midst of the Lebanese civil war. Due to
my country’s difficult circumstances, my family decided to move to Saudi Arabia
when I was a few weeks old in order for my sisters and I to be raised in a stable
environment all the while maintaining proximity to our homeland. My father worked in
a company that organised fairs, and early on, I was exposed to the production of
graphic banners, poster imagery, and vinyl sign making. I returned to Lebanon at the
age of 13 to achieve my high school education all the while maintaining my
fascination with the world of graphic imageries. My fascination eventually
materialized with my move to London at the age of 18 where I decided to attend St-
Martin’s School of Art. This expatriate move sublimated my cultural detachment from
my homeland, which had already been preset from childhood.
Since we could not vacation in our homeland due to the war, my family and I spent
most of my childhood traveling to foreign countries. I was thus imbued with many
different cultures during my formative years , none of which happened to be my
home culture. The sense of detachment and ‘not-belonging’ to a source culture, as
well as not having the time to fully adapt to a place, has been influential in the way I
would eventually perceive the world. To my perception today, most things in our
world look unoriginal, with ‘original’ denoting an object’s stem source that has gone
through various conventions only to be presented to me through many layers of
mediation. The sense of nothingness and blankness, partly affected by states of
suspension whilst travelling as well as the complexity of information I was presented
with, is always something I think about when I produce work today.
The technical evolution of the production and dissemination of images is central to
my research. My intellectual point of departure is French philosopher Bernard
Stiegler’s (1994) statement that “man is nothing other than a technical living being”
and that the becoming of man and technics are the same thing.
My research interest is twofold focusing in first part on the evolution from analog to
digital technologies in relation to our perception of images and how we acquire
knowledge from them, and in second part on the role that imaging technologies play
in the production of ideology.
As a response to the evolution from the analog to the digital and the overload of
information and media-based production, I exploit, in my current art practice, the
material realities of the image – inherent in its digital or mechanical production or in
its physical or virtual distribution – as a way to generate aesthetic production and
meaning. I assert and define images as objects that are part of an active system with
their meaning impossible to be defined as inseparable from their material realities.
Relevant to the research is the recent emergence of young artists namely – Walead
Beshty, Marcus Amm, Eileen Quinlan, Marisa Olson, Anthony Pearson, and Wade
Guyton among many, who are driven by a sense of urgency, nostalgia and/or
celebration of images’ means of production, circulation and interpretation in today’s
world. The research focuses on Walead Beshty and Wade Guyton’s practices after
comparing the art practices of Sol Lewitt with Agnes Martin, and discussing the art
practice of Roni Horn. These three artists are known to deal with the concerns of
materiality and immateriality in different ways; they call our attention to life’s
moments of comfort and ‘full nothingness’ all the while exploring the contradiction of
‘being no more’, yet becoming ‘a lot more’ than what they really are. This sense of
the “real” versus the “elusive” is what I try to explore and define when I create work.

Keywordsfine art
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/PUB.1852
Publication dates
PrintMay 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Apr 2013
Publisher's version
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