“Haunted Tropicality: Gothic Motifs and Melancholic Imagery toward an Aesthetics of Darkness” is my practice-based PhD research (2008-2011), aimed at investigating the language of the Gothic in an intercultural perspective and its application to the specific visual artistic context.
The theoretical part of the research project focuses on an analysis of dark imagery in Thailand and how it is manifest in contemporary culture through its most representative expressions: the haunted aesthetics of urban and natural space; oral tradition; and contemporary horror cinema.
The rich lexicon of motifs resulting from the theoretical analysis of Thai Gothic has then been extrapolated, transformed, experienced and elaborated in a purely aesthetic and symbolic manner, as a tool for creating a specific visual language materializing in the artistic work that constitutes the practice part of my research. Employing as visual media a combination of photography, video, performance and installation, the artwork resulting from this research is a reflection on the complexity of the real and unreal, on the coexistence of different layers of reality – some visible, others only guessed at – and on the idea of melancholy as ephemeral (in bodies and places), as a reversal, as a matrix of desire in the extreme loneliness of loss.
The artwork Until the End of an Everlasting Day was exhibited at CCA (Centre for Contemporary Art) in Glasgow on January 2012. An artist's book will be realized shortly. Part of the theoretical component of the research has been published in Italian language, in 2011, in the volume Mae Nak: Donne Vampiro e Spiriti Famelici dal Lontano Oriente.
The research project “Haunted Tropicality: Gothic Motifs and Melancholic Imagery toward an Aesthetics of Darkness” has been realized thanks to the Universit of the West of Scotland PhD scholarship and with the support of the Arts Trust of Scotland.