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UAL Research Online

Fatal Distraction: art-writing and looking at art, an investigation into the relationship between art-writing and spectatorship.

Dibosa, David (2004) Fatal Distraction: art-writing and looking at art, an investigation into the relationship between art-writing and spectatorship. In: Put About: A Critical Anthology on Independent Publishing. Book Works, London, pp. 42-48. ISBN 1-870699-70-X

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Dibosa, David

Selected to write this article because of his interest in the field of spectatorship within a contemporary visual arts setting, and working within the disciplinary category of museology and the sub-disipline of contemporary curtatorial studies, this research addresses the relationship between art-writing and spectatorship, investigating what role has been assigned to art-writing published in the materials accompanying contemporary art exhibitions.

Exploring the ways in which the relationship between visual art and its spectators is mediated, what is the relationship between art-writing and spectatorship; and exploring how far spectators use the writing with which they engage to form non-conventional engagements with an art-work, Dibosa embraces the issue of spectatorship in a museological context and places more specific emphasis on art-writing as a means of interpreting artwork for the viewer.

Situating the views of professional art editors in the context of contemporary and historical (post-1945) theoretical debates concerning art-writing and elaborating on contemporary approaches to art-writing in publications that accompany exhibitions by using data generated from semi-structured interviews with professional editors and a comprehensive literature survey, this article demonstrated that editors, although concerned that art-writing should facilitate a spectatorial engagement with art-work, had a broad range of understandings as to how art-writing could do that.

In ‘Fatal Distraction’, Dibosa’s argument proposes that spectators ought to use the art-writing with which they engage as a catalyst for a more dynamic response to art; even if such a response results in non-conventional engagements with art-works. Proposing that not only should art-writing refuse to deliver meaning to its readers but readers should refuse to take meaning from art-writing, an idea related to contemporary studies on non-conventional modes of spectatorship, this proposition concerning the radical absence of the artwork is pivotal to a study of how the relationship between visual art and its spectators is mediated.

Official Website: http://www.bookworks.org.uk/asp/detail.asp?uid=book_F72DFEE8-A245-4F51-B7FF-EE292DC10431&sub=pas
Additional Information (Publicly available):

David started his career in the visual arts when he trained to be a curator, shortly after graduating from Girton College, Cambridge in 1989. Specializing in public arts projects, David worked in Birmingham, organizing a billboard project and curating a sculpture park. In addition to curating, David has concentrated on critical writing. He published reviews in publications as varied as The Times Literary Supplement and The Morning Star. David studied for a PhD at Goldsmiths College and was awarded his doctorate for a thesis titled, Reclaiming Remembrance: art, shame and commemoration.

Since completing his PhD, David has taught at Wimbledon College of Art where his research focuses on spectatorship.

David is currently working on a collaborative project, with London South Bank University and Tate Britain. The project, Tate Encounters, was awarded three-year funding under the AHRC's Research Grants Scheme. The project examines the relationship between visual arts, cross-cultural spectatorship and the formation of national identity. The study takes place within the context of the national displays of British art shown at Tate Britain. The project will deliver its findings in 2009.

David's focus within Tate Encounters emphasizes the mechanisms through which spectators make use of visual media as a means of negotiating their experience of cross-cultural acculturation. Among the key objects of inquiry are the ways in which people who migrate bring together art and other visual media as a means of exploring the national cultures that they enter or as a method for re-examining the national cultures that they leave behind. Tate Britain's displays of British art provide an institutional framework for exploring the spectatorial experiences of those who migrate within a broader context of the visual cultures that circulate in contemporary Britain.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Book Works, London
Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 26 November 2004
Related Websites: http://www.wimbledon.arts.ac.uk/35164.htm
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Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 20:39
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2011 14:03
Item ID: 1888
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1888

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