Preventing Predictions: The Political Possibilities of Play and Aesthetics in Contemporary Installation Art and Works by Carsten Höller and Gabriel Orozco

  • Author / Creator
    Mallett, Samantha Josephine Judina
  • This thesis analyzes contemporary participatory installation art, play theory, especially Johan Huizinga’s seminal Homo Ludens, and the aesthetic theories of Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics and Jacques Rancière’s Politics of Aesthetics. Ping Pond Table 1998 by Gabriel Orozco and Test Site 2006 by Cartsen Höller are studied to illustrate how play and the aesthetic can become political by repositioning the contemporary ‘viewer’ as an active and playing participant in the artwork, prompting an awareness of the matrix of power between audience, artwork and institution, and by creating the possibility for dynamic social roles. This thesis, like the artworks it examines, invokes a conception of play as a vital construct of culture rather than simply the domain of childhood imagination. Overturning the dominant concept of play and reinstating play in adult life becomes a political act because it engages adults in liberated, creative thinking that challenges traditional, consumer-driven, practical and thus ‘constructive’ behaviours.

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  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.