Re-picturing my life an articulation of autobiography, memory and identity

  • Alice Margaret Berridge

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Autobiography is a slippery genre, if, indeed, it is a genre. To deal with its slipperiness I use action research and qualitative inquiry to create a bricolage, an artist's book, Tissue. Within the patchwork, stitched-together form of Tissue, digitised text and images (autobiographical stories, poetry, photographs, drawings and paintings) sit in varying relationships to each other. Also, I use poetic language and images to display aspects of the discourse of memory in digitally manipulated text/images where language and image are not illustrative of each other but are interconnected and equal, synergetic, creating new meanings. To simultaneously enhance the handleability of the pages and distance their electronic nature, I use a number of different papers and fabrics as the skins of the images. Using the ideas of Roland Barthes (principally) and others as reference points, in this exegesis Re-picturing my life, I address the ways in which the present is informed by the past; self, identity and the body; the function of memory, and its mediation and articulation in the narration of autobiography; the significance of autobiographical objects and landscapes, and the nature of an autobiographical author. I also explore the effects on myself, as a migrant, of the fragility of identity in the face of major social disruptions such as multiple migrations, and consider whether the narration of personal experience through autobiography aids in the construction of a new identity that is more grounded in the new surroundings. In this exegesis I argue that, in this process of revisiting the past and reconstructing narrative, text and image in my artist's book, I have both re-written and re-pictured my life. Yet, while this process of regaining and articulating my lost family information seems to have initiated some bodily changes, and, more importantly, appears to have strengthened and stabilised my sense of self, it has not alleviated my feelings of exile. Indeed, my feelings of exile and the absence of any single identifiable homeland have strengthened.
    Date of Award2006
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJen Webb (Supervisor), Mitchell Whitelaw (Supervisor) & Hazel SMITH (Supervisor)

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