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Museum of Infinite Relations: artists' spaces, worlds and models of the universe

Atelier Brancusi, Paris, can be used as a model to configure a Museum of Infinite Relations. This hypothesis forms the foundation for a study of the systems, processes, rationale and methods used to produce a physical museum collection – a theoretical and material formation of the Museum of Infinite Relations.

This research employs the paradigm of the monad, which is read through various proponents of the form, predominantly Pythagoras, Leibniz, the Holographic Paradigm and Beckett, which this project then reconfigured as the Universal Object. It also considers the artists’ spaces of John Latham’s Flat Time HO, Helen Martins’ Owl House and Ferdinand Cheval’s Le Palais Idéal, alongside the concept of worlds, and models of the universe. By integrating the references, critiques and perspectives generated from the study, it binds them together into a way of thinking.

Research into the Universal Object as a multi-functional apparatus, logic and lens, is done through practice, working across photography, image-making, sculptural installation and theatre. The resulting artworks all take up a range of references to test and reflect on the methods, and in so doing, interpret and filter possibilities encountered by employing the Universal Object as an analytical and generative device. Artworks produced during the research are brought together in the Museum of Infinite Relations, articulating a self-referential museum that generates itself through the creation of its collection. My research questions: what is a Museum of Infinite Relations?; what is an infinite relation?; and how does one develop that into a museum collection?, are approached through the logic(s) of the Universal Object. Its representations and iterations trace the emergence of the Museum of Infinite Relations.

Connections are formed across multiple categories, such as ‘living sculptures’, Cosmism, experimental museology, Remix theory, embodied research and the idea of ‘art event’, to mark out a terrain of concerns. This thesis mobilises the Universal Object as a building block to sustain the development of the initial hypothesis into a working system, a ‘machine’ for producing artworks and a paradigmatic construct. By predominantly locating the questions of this part-meditation, part-critique in Atelier Brancusi, this thesis reconfigures that site into a model for expanding the paradigm of the Universal Object as a methodological and conceptual structure in my studio practice.

This research proposes further knowledge generated from working with the museum as an artistic medium; how artists’ spaces have transformed from operational into museological spaces; and how this can be transferred. This is finally tested through an original theatre piece that draws on multiple strands of the research to form a compound image. References, analyses, terms and discoveries encountered in the research are brought together as examples of the ‘machine-like’ nature of the way of thinking, enabled by working with the Universal Object as a building block and method.

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  • TECHNE Doctoral Training Scholarship from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK