2021 Abstracts Stage 2

Project Question : ‘How Might Walter Benjamin Compare the Influence that Digital Technology has had on All Forms of Art from the twentieth Century to the twenty-first Century?’

Although all forms of art have changed massively in the 21st century under the influence of digital technology, it is the forms of art that contained the aura in the 20th century that have changed the most as the aura that was once there, is no longer.

2003 Abstracts Stage 3

Redeeming Mozart: a philosophical exploration of “Amadeus”

The investigation is based on Peter Shaffer’s screenplay Amadeus, an elaborate story of the relationship between the legendary musician Wolfgang Mozart and his contemporary counterpart Antonio Salieri. Critics have interpreted the film in various ways, however its philosophical content had been left untouched. The project’s first concern is the identification of two philosophical trends within the characters of the play – Mozart being aligned to the baroque and Salieri portraying notions of traditional philosophy. The interaction of the characters in the plot in this context raises new philosophical issues such as creativity, genius, autonomy and the concept of God and also displays the philosophical influence over mans interaction with his surroundings. This discussion takes place alongside Walter Benjamin’s similar interpretation of Trauerspiel, The Origin of German Tragic Drama. The project’s second concern lies not in the content of the film but in its creation and subsequent afterlife. Shaffer constructed the play on fragments of truth regarding the real Mozart, which he then exaggerated and developed into a fictional story. This process of destruction and reconstruction is investigated in relation to Walter Benjamin’s theory of the mortification of art in which art is constantly reinterpreted to produce new meaning. Benjamin argues that through the creation of new meaning the original object is redeemed. It is the final concern of the project to investigate this theory and explore to what extent Mozart has been redeemed by Amadeus. The result is a project that not only investigates the baroque concepts of afterlife, mortification and redemption but also illustrates these notions in its method of exploration.

2002 Abstracts Stage 3

Image and Reality: Blurred?

What? Discovering if our scientific and technological advances have caused our society to blur the distinctions between Image and Reality. Have our images, and signs become our reality or has our reality turned into an image? How? 1. By looking at the way our world is represented in art and using art and like concepts to get a view of the world. 2. By looking at advertising and mass media and discovering what part they play in this blurring it there is one. Who? Jean Baudrillard The Ecstasy of Communication. Simulacra and Simulation. Danto Philosophizing Art. De Thierry Kant after Duchamp. Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the age of mechanical Reproduction. When? The 20th Century specifically after 1960 Where? University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Fine Art Department, students. Why? Am interested to find out where we are today in our ways of interpreting the world around us and I feel that the image and reality issues are particularly influential in our lives.