Challenging the Safe Centre: An Exegesis to Support the Screenplay Shelf Life
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This exegesis examines the processes used to produce a body of studio work that investigates how screen-based narratives and aesthetics function in relation to, and are able to question, political and cultural hegemony. The final outcome of the studio work – a feature-length screenplay called Shelf Life – has at its thematic core a focus on neoliberal ideology and its cultural manifestations, an exploration of the social exclusion that is a by-product of that phenomenon, and an examination of the emancipatory potential of the cinema. It looks at how a work can engage with, yet also challenge, mainstream modes of storytelling to counter their potentially soporific effects, which may work to obscure deeper counter readings. The screenplay embodies a bricolage of influences in its final incarnation, as different strategies were developed to deal with the interaction between content, form and conflicting ideologies. A process of iterative writing shifted the work from its beginnings as a narrative exploration of theme to focus on the interplay between aesthetics and ideology, and the ways in which aesthetic choices can contribute to a spectator’s active reading of the work. It finally culminated in an extensive process of improvisational writing, which aimed to shift how the work was engaged with, away from an unquestioned a priori reading to a less stable liminal reading to allow for a more mindful viewing experience.
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Doctor of Visual Arts (DVA)
Queensland College of Art
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