|Institution:||University of the Arts London|
|Keywords:||Television studies; Film & Video|
|Full text PDF:||http://www.deankelland.com/|
This practice-based PhD has at its core six short films, made by and featuring the author (Dean Kelland), which take as their inspiration certain male characters from TV sitcoms from the 1950s-1970s. Those characters are: Tony Hancock (Hancock’s Half- Hour, 1956-59, BBC1 UK); Harold Steptoe (Steptoe and Son, 1962-65, BBC1 UK); and the two “Likely Lads”, Bob Ferris and Terry Collier, (Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, 1973-74, BBC1 UK). The research is an investigation into the construction of masculine gender stereotypes, explored through a process of a performance-led visual arts practice that incorporates the use of interdisciplinary approaches. This interdisciplinarity is aligned to Lisa Lattuca’s definition of “informed disciplinarity” as being “informed by concepts or theories from another discipline or relying upon methods from other disciplines.” (History of Intellectual Culture, 2003). Disciplines and fields include: comedy studies, performance art studies, television studies, gender studies and cultural studies. The selected sitcom examples were hugely popular and influential in the eras in which they were first broadcast, a period in post-war British history when constructions of class were changing. The PhD provides analysis of: location; both geographical (the parts of the UK in which the programmes were set) and in terms of domestic setting; class-derived identity (including distinctions of taste); and sociologically/historically based perspectives. In my performance-led practice, I create scenarios that have emanated from the research, focusing on specific scenes from the programmes (identified for their relevance to the research questions). I then re-purpose these scenes in order to show them in a new light, specifically by inhabiting the characters utilising traditional acting methodologies combined with performance art techniques. Each mimetic repetition exposes the blurring of one identity into another, and so interrogates the intersubjective identifications between actor, projected character and audience, mobilized through “performing masculinity”. Drawing on my own memories, and the sense of nostalgia that has been created by my exposure to these (repeated) programmes, I ask new questions about subjective experience within fine art practice (in other words, how the modes of such practice have been used to address the relationship between 7 the body, the external world and self-representation). Often this involves “rupturing” the meaning of the programmes, and revealing what might loosely be termed the horror beneath the comedy. The resulting dialogue between historical source material and contemporary artwork creates a critical interrogation of culturally constructed gendered stereotypes within a specific television entertainment genre. The research journey is carefully logged (sketchbooks, digital portfolio) and analysed (written thesis) in accordance with a reflective, practice-based, methodology.