Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Aquabatics as new works of Live Art
Sarah Jane Pell
2nd Author
3rd Author
Doctor of Philosophy (Visual Art)
Number of Pages
Edith Cowan University, Western Australia
Thesis Supervisor
Assoc. Professor Domenico de Clario
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Dr. Janine Schwarz, Dr. Adrian Heathfield
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Communication & Creative Arts Industries/ Contemporary Arts
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
Contemporary Performance, Art & Science, Aquabatics, SubSpace Arts, Human performance, behaviour and limits in extreme environments, Live Art, BioTech Art
Abstract: 200-500 words
This practice-based thesis (comprising of an exegesis, exhibition, performances and their documentation) traces a myriad of cognitive and sub cognitive processes that converge towards a complex practice referred to as ‘Aquabatics’. In broad terms, Aquabatics describes the research nexus of occupational diving and contemporary performance. The purpose of this body of research has been to explore underwater performance, behaviour and boarders, in order to both devise new works of live art and to develop new methodologies and approaches to art-making. Aquabatics, as a performance strategy, seeks to critique, contest and explore the liminal natures of human performance, and the role and context of live artists, in contemporary life. This exegesis attempts to underscore the complex process of semiosis and the dissemination of experiential knowledges in, and through, human performance activities, behaviours and biotech fission engagements with, in, and related to, an underwater environment. Part One discusses the nature and condition of Aquabatics in terms of biological, ecological, technological, metaphysical, political and societal factors. Throughout, these natures are described as an active tool to suggest treatments for looking at, and understanding the acts/actions/activisms themselves and their possible functions to point towards liminality. The more complex issue of the inherent aqueous nature in/of/for performance is proposed as the vital link connecting Aquabatics to existing cultural texts and contexts. The multi-medial texts function to make sense of the aesthetic and utilitarian performance described by examining the intersections of performance praxis, theorem and the functional operations of occupational diving through a series of original live(d) engagements, hypothesis and proposals in Part Two. In undertaking and discussing these works, I propose that I enter into a zone of irreducibility; a permanently spirally vortex of forms, dissolving and evolving into an absent-present state of existence as the performer/ inhabitant/ pilot of this research. By documenting and re-membering this process herein, the notion of ‘performance’ along with liberty, identity, culture, art and politics also regularly collapses in meaning, status, form and function. Finally, considering Aquabatics, pre and post performance, offers insight into the spatial and temporal factors, beliefs and actions leading to, and arising from, this research. It introduces a new episteme that transgresses traditional transgressions and proposes a liminal juncture of research, and performance behaviours that constitutes an awareness of where, at depth, underwater, the self collapses into its priori opposite.