Thinking As Practice – 2015

Thinking As Practice – Doctoral Symposium

 10 February 2015  –  2-5pm, Room E002, KX, CSM


2pm – Welcome

2.10pm – Emmett Kierans: The Modernist Play-Ground: Play as a Methodology For Re-Proposing Modernist Modes of Representation and Interpretation

2.40pm – Idit Nathan, Footnotes Playing Dead

3.10pm – Fagner BibianoRepresenting the Invisible: A Photography-Based Investigation of Homoerotic Perversions and the Gaze in Publicly Accessible Spaces

3.40pm – Nathalie Kahn: Preserving Images

4.10pm – Penelope Mendonca: Drawing difficult truths, humour and bulging bodies: conception stories, pregnancy and the journey to first-time motherhood in the graphic novel

4.40 – Roundup Discussion


Information About Speakers:

Emmett Kierans

The Modernist Play-Ground: Play as a Methodology For Re-Proposing Modernist Modes of Representation and Interpretation

My artistic practice is concerned with developing a methodology whereby mid-twentieth-century modernist tropes, such as the grid, the colour field, the painterly gesture, and the gestalt form, are re-proposed by utilising the fluid and subjective nature of play. These established tropes operate as a means of delineating the arena of play and providing the formal and conceptual elements with which to be playful. “Play” here constitutes a “liminoid” or “potential space” that exists between subjective and objective reality (Turner 1969, Winnicott, 2005). “Playful” refers to a sort of meta-play which plays with the boundaries and expectation of play itself (Sutton-Smith, 1997). Through accessing the “liminal space” of play the work has the potential to operate alternately between formal and subjective considerations, as a literal object and pictorial illusion. This ambiguity enables a fresh perspective on the discourse surrounding the use of modernist modes of representation, of postmodernist appropriation and pastiche, and the possibility for innovative modes of representation and interpretation from established modernist practice. It is through my practical work that my contribution to the field of fine art practice is primarily offered, and the presentation will focus largely on this aspect of the research.

Emmet Kierans was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1981. After studying for a degree in Fine Art Painting from the Limerick School of Art and Design he received his MFA from The Glasgow School of Art in 2007. He has since worked as a lecturer and tutor in The Limerick School of Art and Design, The Burren College of Art and the Wexford School of Art and Design. He has held numerous solo and group exhibitions in both Europe and the US.


Fagner Bibiano Alves

Representing the Invisible: A Photography-Based Investigation of Homoerotic Perversions and the Gaze in Publicly Accessible Spaces

My practice-based research addresses the possibility of a transgressive practice of photography in the context of covert practices of erotic perversions deployed in architectural sites, social and institutional spaces. It focuses on the kinship between the representational field of the photographic image and aspects of invisibility such as concealment and figurative absence and the desire to look. Through introducing acts of photographing in erotically charged spaces, the research draws on Phillipe Dubois’s L’Acte Photographique and Barthes’s Vocabulary. It endeavours to reveal affinities between the act of framing such spaces and operations of fantasy, erotic perversions and the desirous gaze in photographic practice.

My biography is influenced by my evangelical upbringing in Brazil and my later experiences of sexuality in London, where I have been living for the last 13 years. Whilst not autobiographical in its entirety, my art practice is stimulated by my concern with issues deriving from my experiences. Such experiences and concerns include the relationship between sexuality and death which my generation has always faced due to the emergence of the HIV virus, sexual encounters in public spaces, and the access to pornography in the contemporary milieu.


Idit Nathan

Footnotes Playing Dead

This presentation will focus on my current exhibition Footnotes Playing Dead, to position it as the culmination of my PhD research in turn titled Art of Play in Zones of Conflict- the Case of Israel Palestine. The exhibition considers personal and collective responsibilities in times of adversity and interminable conflict. The Israeli Palestinian conflict, along with its consequences, might fade in and out of public consciousness, but some of its core issues such as migration, boundaries and lack of basic human rights – reverberate through western societies as they relentlessly send their armies into war zones. Through a variety of ludic and interactive artworks Footnotes Playing Dead creates participatory experiences in which the viewers are invited to “play with” and explore for themselves some of these complexities, offering what artist Allan Kaprow has called ‘experienced insight’, specifically through everyday and often overlooked narratives and chance encounters.

Idit Elia Nathan is chair and studio artist at Cambridge Artworks and is a member of the Commonwealth Creativities Inter- cultural Arts Network at the University of Cambridge. She studied at Tel Aviv University (BA in Theatre Design), Wimbledon School of Art (UK, Master in Theatre Design) as well as Essex University (MA Gallery Studies), and she is a PhD candidate at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. She has received awards from Commissions East (2003) Arts Council England (2005) and Escalator Visual Art Arts Council of England (2011) as well more recently Arts Council England Grants for the Arts (2014 and 2015).

Idit was selected for many residencies across the UK such as Addenbrooke’s Hospital, University of Cambridge (2002), PVA media Lab, Newcastle (2003) and more recently at METAL Peterborough. She has exhibited widely in group shows in UK, Europe and Israel Palestine. Her works are often developed through projects, sometimes in collaboration with others. Her current project examines the interconnections between play and conflict in zones of conflict. Her research has been presented in many contexts, including: Cambridge University, Leeds University, Oxford University and Sunderland University and University of Belfast in the UK as well as Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University.

Idit is currently working on the development of Play the City Now or Never in collaboration with Artist/Architect Helen Stratford, to be launched in three cities in the UK during 2015 and her first solo exhibition; Footnotes Playing Dead is now showing at Standpoint Gallery, London (till 14th February 2015).

Links Websites – Blog – Research –


Nathalie Khan

Preserving Images

Digital media and technology have had a siginificant impact on the way we perceive and understand images of fashion. (Martin, 2013: 188). This paper will present initial research, with a focus on the way museums such such as the V&A, have begun to to utilise technology, such as video and interactive software, to preserve museum quality dress. Visual culture plays an increasingly important part in the way we explore and interpret historical context. Modern visual media has changed the way we engage with material objects and their social function (Friedberg, 2009). Drawing upon fashion media and the digitalisation of the mass market such as promotional fashion film, live streams and fashion media platforms, (Khan, 2012a, 2012b, Uhlirova, 2013, Mijovic, 2012, Needham, 2013), the paper will reflect on the way fashion media has informed image production within museum fashion archives.

In this context museum quality surviving dress no longer offers a specific version of the past, but is seen as a fragment or trace, which is in itself ambigious (Breward: 2006, McNeil: 2006, Steele: 2006). The paper aims to reflect on the idea that it is possible to work ‘through objects’ (Hiller, 1994) in order to inscribe meaning. Such an approach acknowledges the role of the image-maker as well as the museum curator as producer of meaning. After looking at recent curatorial practice in the field of art and fashion curation, the presentation will develop a critical response to the impact of visual culture within the museum fashion archive.


Penelope Mendonca

Drawing difficult truths, humour and bulging bodies: conception stories, pregnancy and the journey to first-time motherhood in the graphic novel

To what extent are autobiographical comics creators exploring the transition to motherhood at a time when family structure is as diverse and varied as are the numerous possible routes to conception (given advances in reproductive technologies). What can we learn from the visual, textual and narrative accounts of pregnancy in recent graphic novels? What feminist dilemmas are posed?

Representing humour, painful experiences and changing bodies brings with it many challenges, yet autobiographical comics seem to offer fresh and at times witty and moving accounts, perhaps in response to predictable, romanticized or hetero-normative imagery and stories within pregnancy guides, magazines and websites.

Analytical approaches will be drawn from comics studies and motherhood studies, and comics explored will include Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months in Drag (A. K. Summers, 2014) and Probably Nothing: a diary of not your average nine months (Tristram, 2014). Additionally I will draw on my research into single pregnancy/early motherhood.

 Penelope Mendonça is undertaking a practice-based PhD Mothers Storying the Absent Father: A Graphic Novel, at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. The research involves interviewing participants about single pregnancy, analyzing and playing with visual representations/stories of motherhood, and producing a fictional graphic novel that is humorous in tone.

Pen has a Msc in Citizenship Studies from Birkbeck, University of London, and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts, London. She has spent the last fifteen years working as an independent graphic facilitator and illustrator, which includes designing, facilitating and capturing public engagement processes, mostly in the field of health and social policy. Pen has a background in advocacy, working in, managing and cleaning social care services.


Organised by Dr Joanne Morra and Dr Duncan White. Hosted by The Doctoral Platform at Central Saint Martins – and POWAP (Practices of Writing and Publishing Research Group)



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The Doctoral Platform at CSM offers PhD candidates the space in which to meet, share research, as well as co-ordinate, curate and participate in a variety of events.

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