SUPERTHERE: a cartography of queer(ing) failure and ghostly textures from a hauntology of long-distance romances of collaboration

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Walsh, Melanie Jame (2018) SUPERTHERE: a cartography of queer(ing) failure and ghostly textures from a hauntology of long-distance romances of collaboration. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This exegesis serves as an extended explanatory notation for the SUPERTHERE video collage. The collage is the final creative outcome of the SUPERTHERE practice-based research. The materials of the video collage were generated across a 6-month period of remote collaboration via digital communications technologies between a group 5 freelance artists all of whom work principally with choreography, video art, and performance. These collaborations were always undertaken remotely - across varying geographic distances - and were understood and framed as long-distance romances of collaboration. The structure of these long-distance romances involved attempts at monthly exchanges between the artists of task based provocations for the creation and exchange of 3-minute Skype video messages. The thematic of the tasks and video messages was always the long-distance romances of collaboration themselves. The romances of SUPERTHERE were initiated as a response to Claire Bishop's 2012 polemic for artistic work and research to deal explicitly with the experience of 'thinking, seeing, and filtering affect through the digital'. They were also a continuation of works within my own practice which have dealt with questions of long-distance relationships and remote artistic collaboration using everyday digital technologies of communication as their point of convergence. The SUPERTHERE research took up on Bishop's provocation by applying Mark Fisher's hauntological readings of cultural events - specifically music and films - to an analysis of the SUPERTHERE long-distance romances of collaboration. By undertaking a hauntology of SUPERTHERE via the production of the final video collage performance of the materials generated within the project, the research revealed a cartography of queer(ing) failure (after Halberstam: 2011) and ghostly textures. Through the charting of this cartography, the research determined that to become in and through the digital in acts of remote collaboration is a hauntological process. This occurs via a post-digital understanding of presence as in-motion and processual. This finding, along with the expansion of Mark Fisher's notion of hauntology into analyses in the practice-based Performance Studies context, is the principle contribution to knowledge of the SUPERTHERE research. The research employed its video collage method of analysis following the argumentation of Paul Garoian (2008) that collage can operate as a hauntological, queering strategy. The choice of a video work as the final analytical outcome of the research advances the current turn towards the medium as a valid, generative, and appropriate form of expression of scholarship (Bates: 2015). Emphasising the embodied, the performed, the sensuous, the multimodal, and the affective. SUPERTHERE deals specifically with remote digital making practices. It offers a long form practical example of this type of work by practicing contemporary artists. This unique outcome contributes to the discourse around digitally based artistic collaborative practices and their relationship to the contemporary conditions of precarity in the arts.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords exegesis; video collage; collaboration; romance; digital technologies; hauntology; distance
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