Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Working against type: Opening gestures in word-based visual art

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posted on 2022-10-24, 14:45 authored by Linda Carreiro

 My  practice-based  thesis examines  the  effects  of  physical interventions  on  text and typography, and the signifying potentialof these attributes in contemporary art. The title, Working Against Type, responds to common perceptions of text-based  visual  art,  suggesting  that  viewable traces  of  production—the  working—can  alter  the  way  we  read,  experience,  and  interpret  words.  Building  from  and working against assertions posed by a previous generation of word-based artists, I  reveal  the  interventions  as  landing  places  where  meaning  is  opened  to  include tactile, sensuous, and kinesthetic responses.  The  practice-chapters  analyze the  effects  generated from  three  distinct physical approaches. The  first, Breaking  Words  Apart,  adopts  a  critically  reflective stance  to  examine  interventions  on  existing  texts,  as  they  unfold  into  mark, texture,  absence,  and  abjection.  Diverted  from  their  conventional  paths,  the reader  jumps,  pauses  and  meanders,  amplifying  the  performativity  of  reading. Messy Gestures observes  the  impacts  of  the artist’s  trace  in  hand-printed text, where  the  abstracted  and  expressive  letterforms  adopt  a  ‘voice’  for  the  reader. The blemishes suggest words as unfixed and uncertain, challenging the authority of  text,  while  offering  the  impressions  as  aesthetic  encounters  that  expand  the connotations of words. Words that move usexamines how words are changed for  someone  who  must  physically  relocate  their  posture  or  position  while reading.  Much  of  the  text  is  hidden  or  closed  off  unless  the  viewer  engages  in some  demonstrable  shift  of  their  body,   a  term  I  call  choreogrammatics,  which highlights the agency of movement on reading.  Through   this   study,   I   identify   how   effects   of   physical   interventions   on typography  can  create  interpretations  outside  and  beyond  the  verbal,  lexical reading.  In  so  doing,  I  articulate  a  field  of  meaning  for  text-based  artwork  that has been overlooked.  



  • School of Art and Design

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  • Doctoral

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  • PhD

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