whole_mcginn.pdf (3.68 MB)
Identity and community versus non-place
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 03:37 authored by McGinn, D
Identity and Community Versus Non-Place, is a PhD submission of sculptural and digital photographic works. I have approached this thesis as both an artist and an archivist. I focused on two suburban icons for this body of work: the hip and valley suburban home and the caravan. I have endeavoured to visualize the impact change is bringing to the Australian coastal landscape by creating works that comment on the effects of urban development ‚Äö- particularly on my local region ‚Äö- and by digital photography, documenting change as it occurs. Underpinning the thesis is my long-standing relationship with the Victorian Bellarine region. My personal links to the Bellarine region and my understanding of the surrounding region provided an insightful background to the processes of change which are taking place in the local environment. My research investigates the rapid transformation of coastal townships caused by regional suburban development. My work explores what it is that defines place (beyond its physical characteristics), the similarities and differences between a 'type' of place (in this case, coastal regions), and how established communities may retain a sense of place despite the threat posed by ubiquitous, characterless housing developments (which I term 'non-places'). A primary aim of my research is to have provided a clear contextualisation and an understanding of the importance of location. It explores the significance of Australian coastal regions and our changing relationship with these locations as they become increasingly urbanised. On a sociological level, the differences between middle-class and working-class Australian culture are visually explored. This is particularly evident in the isolation of the traditional residents from the expensive land developments, which are attracting external residents and creating an economically segregated community. This in turn raises the issue of identity, its personal and communal importance and its potential loss as we become increasingly urbanised. This research project has been achieved through the development and subsequent culmination of a body of sculptural installations that provoke discussion, concerning interesting social polarities such as tradition/innovation, subsistence/affluence, past/present and permanence/change.
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