Constructing the visual-essay in theory and practice : a home-dweller's life through the essayistic
Çakar, Arın Ada
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Montaigne’s establishment of the essay as a literary genre brought about a revolution of the mind in that it made possible an infinity of new manner’s of expressing thought and human emotion possible. The essayistic spirit thus born by Montaigne’s midwifery infiltrated in the last century the artistic genres of film and photography. The essay found a visualized mode of practice, commonly observable in contemporary art today. This more recent embodiment of the essayistic expression, however, appeal to qualities and operates through principles that expand on what the literary genre entails. In light of what these are, this thesis explores the evolution of the essayistic from its literary expression discussed by Adorno and Lukacs, to its examples in film and photography and these examples’ scholarly consideration in the available literature. Generic utility of the term essay is then problematized and “visual-essay” is proposed as a more proper and comprehensive term. The point of origin of these discussions are found in a visual-essay project, entitled “A(WAITING) HOME / EV (DE) BEKLER”, which I have produced. Accordingly, the evaluation of the essayistic mode of expression in contemporary art is conducted in perspective of the thematic of home, home-dweller and the seemingly essayistic relationship of the two. This is done in terms of both a theoretical deliberation of home-dwelling, and a reflection upon how this thematic had been explored by my project, thus purposed to be reflective on home as much as on the very generic form in which it found expression, that is the visuallyessayistic.
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