CLICK: Click to download my redacted thesis, The Physical and Poetic Processes of Running (100,000 words, 2014). This was completed at Slade School of Fine Art (2009-2013) as a University College London scholar. Since its upload in Summer 2014, the thesis has been downloaded >4000 times worldwide.
RUNNING AS A CREATIVE TACTIC: This practice-related Fine Art thesis performs a discourse of ‘trans-running’ – running physically and poetically, as subject and medium – as a playful way to transform our world today. There are two components. In my written thesis (Part I), I propose that trans-running enables us to claim ownership of the city and resist political control in the ‘real world’, as well as dodge online surveillance in the ‘digital world’. Running physically can cause the ‘runner’s high’, which I argue may create a euphoric, poetic mode of thinking applicable for the exploration of discourses. Since ‘discourse’ means ‘running from place to place’ in Latin, and as runners were historically ambassadors, I additionally propose the ‘trans-runner’ as the new ‘running-ambassador’ capable of activating new discourses and creating new knowledge. A running-ambassador myself, I run back-and-forth between discourses. Apart from art and sport, I draw on the Chinese Daoist wanderers’ playful, poetic, techno-sceptic and transgressive ways to generate a playful, performative practice of writing and art-making. Consisting of artworks online and offline, my studio practice (documented in Part II) is collectively entitled Kaidie’s 1000-Day Trans-Run 12.12.2009-09.09.2012. I play ‘Kaidie’, a ‘trans-runner’ who explores trans-running as a mode of art. My entire thesis is an artwork that performs the discourses of the trans-runner. Mobilising ‘run’-related idioms, wordplay, alliteration, etymology, metaphor and analogy, my written thesis and artworks are performative. I invite you, the reader/audience, to perform trans-running yourselves, to better grasp it. Trans-running aims to be trans-cultural, trans-disciplinary, transgressive and transformative. It introduces ‘running’ to the art world as a counter to the well-established tradition of walking, and as a mode of relating distinct discourses. Utilising non-Western and non-canonical discourses, my thesis contributes to debates about cultural difference. Integrating theory and practice, it seeks to contribute to the discourses of Fine Art research. The thesis not only explores running as a subject matter but methodology and practice, and not just as an activity, verb but a metaphor, concept, noun. The writing style self-reflexively mobilises run-related puns and idioms throughout. Ideas are also worked through ideas by ‘running back-and-forth’ a diverse range of thoughts including digital aesthetics, Daoism (Taoism), running (its neuroscience, histories, biomechanics), travelogue, Situationism and so on. The thesis has around 100,000 words (including appendices) and 323 pages.
CONTEXTS: My Fine Art PhD (2009-2013) was undertaken at the Slade School of Fine Art. It was funded by UCL (the Overseas Research Scholarship and the Graduate Research Scholarship) as well as the National Arts Council of Singapore. My Supervisors were Professor Susan Collins (Director of Slade School of Fine Art), Professor Sharon Morris (Deputy Director and Head of Doctoral Research), as well as Mr Jon Thomson (Slade Reader; of Thomson & Craighead). My examiners during my viva in October 2013 were Dr Alan Latham (Senior Lecturer, UCL Geography) and Dr Peter Ride (Westminster). Over the 4 years, I showed/performed/talked about different versions of this research in 63 exhibitions/publications/presentations.