Attenuated Memories and South African Migration: Remnants of Everyday Violence in a Visual Art Practice

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Findlay, Elisabeth A
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Mason, Robert
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2022-05-11
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Abstract

Migration is a complex experience that brings many challenges. This research explores how the mourning of the past and the deep emotion caused by migration are amplified and impacted by a history of enduring exposure to violence. It focuses on South African migrants and the lure of safety abroad to escape direct or vicarious encounters with violence. As a practice-led project, these ideas have been investigated through sculpture, installation, and multimedia approaches. This research argues that memories remain connected, sometimes only faintly, but motioning closer when remembered. In response to migrated memories, this research identifies that the emotional burden of migration is intensified due to the lasting mark violence leaves on memory, with the lingering threat not forgotten. This research contributes a new approach to memory as an attenuated connection and interprets the entanglement of migration and violence. A restrained visual language is used to engage with individual memories and to render a common space in which the collective memories of South African migrants may be considered.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Queensland College of Art
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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
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Subject
Migration
emotion
violence
South African migrants
sculpture
installation
multimedia
memories
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