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Past visions of the future and other stories. An exploration of narrative and material culture through jewellery

van der Walt, Sophia
International Master of Arts in Visual Arts

Abstract :
In this Master project I investigate the process of narrative construction and the fundamental role it plays in the formation of our individual and collective identities and world views. I also explore the relationship between the human subject as material being and our material culture. More specifically, I critically engage with the fragmented and ever-shifting system of meaning that we need to navigate in order to understand our world and with the fluid way in which personal, cultural, historical and indeed all formative narratives are created and perpetually adapted to account for changes in our views and world. In my art practice I compose non-prototypical visual narratives, inspired by science fiction films from the past century, on traditional, second-hand items of ceramic ware which I fragment and then transform into wearable items of jewellery. I interfere with the traditional images and patterns on the ceramic, subverting the viewer’s expectations and creating new meanings and constructing new narratives. My work means to expose the dialectical relationship of mutual transformation and transference of meaning between past, present and future, as well as between us as material beings and the material world around us. Through making jewellery from my narrative artefacts I celebrate the fragment and the creative power of narrative construction and its potential to keep up with changing times and perspectives while accounting for a past that keeps on informing our present. As jewellery objects, my work also ties this process of narrative construction and the artefacts themselves intimately to human subjectivity and materiality.

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If you want to cite this thesis in your own thesis, paper, or report, use this format (APA):

van der Walt, S. (2020). Past visions of the future and other stories. An exploration of narrative and material culture through jewellery. Unpublished thesis, Hogeschool PXL, PXL-MAD.
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