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Durham e-Theses
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The Persistence of Minimalism

BOTHA, MARC,JOHANN (2011) The Persistence of Minimalism. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The following work develops a new and general theory of minimalism – one addressing both its transhistorical and interdisciplinary dimensions, and capable of accounting for existing minimalism of every epoch and in every medium, while suitably open to embrace minimalist work yet to be created. To offer such a theory it is necessary not only to revisit the histories of minimalist practice and criticism, but also to consider its radical philosophical ground and implications. Hence its principal thesis – that minimalism exemplifies the persistence and facticity of the Real – grapples at once with the ontological heart of minimalist theory, and its practical instantiation through canonical as well as rarely considered examples. Divided into three parts, the first part addresses minimalism as the manifestation of particular aesthetic properties in relation to critical and theoretical trends. Since it becomes apparent that no single descriptive or theoretical account adequately frames minimalism, the discussion turns to the possibility of discovering a philosophical ground equally radical to the minimalist objects it addresses. The Real – an indifferent field of forces from which contingent entities are subtracted from within an irreversible temporal passage – offers precisely this radical continuum. Minimalism, by exposing the continuity between radical poiesis and an essentially quantitative understanding of Being, clarifies the indifferent persistence of the Real in every existential situation. Penetrating to the heart of this proposition, parts two and three respectively address minimalism in terms of its quantitative logic of Being – every exemplary subtraction from which is instantiated a type of existential calculation – and its exemplary aesthetic manifestation in terms of an existential transumption – a constructive poietic displacement by which minimalism renders itself maximally intelligible in terms of its objecthood and persistence. The work concludes with a typology which reorients and confirms the substance of the preceding argumentation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:minimalism, minimalist aesthetics, quantitative ontology,minimalist poetics, poetics of minimalism, interdisciplinary approaches to minimalism, minimalist philosophy, philosophy of minimalism, nihilism and minimalism, phenomenology and minimalism, objecthood, object-oriented philosophy, concrete poetry, sound poetry, visual poetry, exemplarity, para-ontology, persistence,silence, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben, Quentin Meillassoux, Samuel Beckett, Raymond Carver, Ian Hamnilton Finlay, Robert Lax, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Brice Marden, Cy Twombly, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Cy Twombly, Ad Reinhardt, Dan Flavin, Lilianne Lijn
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2011
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Sep 2012 11:19

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