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Cross-artform creative practice as still-life recovery: Chinese-Western materialisms of time, writing and death

West, Patrick and Coad, Cher 2013, Cross-artform creative practice as still-life recovery: Chinese-Western materialisms of time, writing and death, Axon: creative explorations: contemporary creativity, poetry, images and design, no. 5, pp. 1-14.

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Title Cross-artform creative practice as still-life recovery: Chinese-Western materialisms of time, writing and death
Author(s) West, Patrick
Coad, Cher
Journal name Axon: creative explorations: contemporary creativity, poetry, images and design
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra
Place of publication Canberra, ACT
Publication date 2013-10-01
ISSN 1838-8973
Keyword(s) still life
creative practice
Chinese
Western
writing
death
cross artform
Nhill
Vanitas
time-image
Summary As argued by Norman Bryson, the still-life genre is sorely neglected by theorists and critics, largely because its concern with ‘low-plane reality’ (everyday items and acts) has obscured its genuine relevance to material thinking. By reappraising rather than abandoning the genre’s traditional themes of death and time—using a cross-cultural, Chinese-Western approach—it is possible to re-energise materialisms of time, writing and death within still life. Such a move depends above all on a re-evaluation of still life as ‘Vanitas’—the term which to date has unified, and more to the point limited, traditional still-life understandings of death and time. This article tracks a more explosive and creative materialism of still life simultaneously through the specifically Chinese approach to death (which includes the ‘Yin Yang’ 阴阳 as a sort of author of time) and via Gilles Deleuze’s cinematic philosophy of the time-image; what connects these is the very Deleuzean notion of time that subtends Chinese engagements with death. In this way, the still-life genre may be recovered from its current critical and theoretical malaise. Reconnecting with practice is a crucial aspect of this recovery, and so in its early stages this article analyses an example of still-life, creative non-fiction (authored by Cher Coad), and it concludes by establishing the value of this potentially ‘new chapter of the “still life” genre’ (in Matilde Marcolli’s terms) for the cross-artform analysis of the short story ‘Nhill’ (authored by Patrick West). Analysis, though, is only half the picture: a fully recovered still-life genre would see theory and practice endlessly circulating through each other, spurring on practice and impelling theory. Coad’s and West’s literary examples are introduced in the hope that they might trigger fresh theoretical and practice-based, still-life discoveries in prose and also in poetry.
Language eng
Field of Research 190104 Visual Cultures
Socio Economic Objective 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, University of Canberra
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30058969

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.