Alephs Moved Again

Abstract, December 2012

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“This thesis offers a critique of public art; commenting on the Edinburgh Aesthetic through case studies of contemporary public artwork.  The foundation for these case studies, catalogued on the website created in conjunction with this thesis, Alephs Moved Again, is the dynamic nature of place as a socio-geographical concept.

When reflecting on the idea of a city having an aesthetic, which can be resistant to conventional descriptions[1], we must acknowledge three elements, which work together as a triad when discussing the making of public art.  These are Public, Art (activity) and Place.  Referencing the “relationship between society and space, history and geography, splendidly idiographic and the enticingly generalizable features of a postmodern urban geography”[2], how can we retain such a sense of immobility of the local sense of place and ignore its particularities amidst the cross-hatchings and constant movement of multiple identities and cultures in a place?

In an effort to outline the Edinburgh Aesthetic it is important to discuss the postmodern critical theory of place and explore the more specific question in relation to public art in Edinburgh: are the current cultural expressions of Edinburgh’s people visually represented and encouraged in the production of public art?[3]


[1]Influence taken from Ian Campbell and Margaret Stewart’s examination of Edinburgh’s historical and cultural development over several hundred million years ago to the nineteenth century; Brian Edwards, Paul Jenkins, eds. Edinburgh: The Making of a Capital City. Edinburgh University Press, 2006

[2] Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies, the Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory, Verso, 1989, p. 223

[3] I must acknowledge that Edinburgh has produced and grasped other non-visual forms of the arts instead i.e. poetry, music, I cannot deny this form of expression, and it highlights the lack on non-visual expressions.

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Abstract taken from the Masters Project Alephs Moved Again by C Black-Dinham

  1. Great website, another reason to visit Edinburgh again!

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