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Temporal territory: Visualising Royal Wootton Bassett and the ceremonial borders of the United Kingdom

Davies, Katie


Katie Davies


Inspecting the British border through a western prism of political sovereignty, the research focuses upon how the repatriation ceremonies of the town of Wootton Bassett in the UK were initiated by the community to pay respect to British soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and why a manifestation of sovereign power gradually transformed the town’s social practices, identity and place on the world stage via the ritual of the ceremonies, resulting in the designation of Royal Wootton Bassett. This study examines the process of bearing witness to how state borders are inscribed. The four-year period of practice-led research employs methodologies informed by Action Research principles to visualise, through artistic video practice, the sensation of the sovereign border and how this was manifested in the town of Wootton Bassett. Originating from interviews with instrumental figures from the Royal British Legion, the Mayors Consort and the Master of Ceremonies for the repatriations themselves, the sum of the research constitutes three physical outcomes, with the theoretical orientation of the thesis embedded within the video installation, The Separation Line (2012). This installation not only chronicles what became an historic transformation for the town, but utilises the installation format itself to examine novel ways of questioning, challenging and understanding the social, cultural and political environment of commemoration in the UK in 2013.

The thesis describes a generative methodology, situating this as the performance of embodied knowledge established through cycles of evaluative experience. By including the audience for the artwork within its evaluative methodology, the findings recognise the shared values of artistic practice and the analysis of state borders. Through artistic practice the research highlights its own productive process in order to produce meaningful dialogues, which critically examine the transformational process of the sovereign border.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date Aug 5, 2011
APA6 Citation Davies, K. (2011). Temporal territory: Visualising Royal Wootton Bassett and the ceremonial borders of the United Kingdom. (Thesis). Central Connecticut State University, USA
Keywords British border, political sovereignty, bordering practice, practice-led research, commemoration, repatriation, video installation, policing history, Wootton Bassett, borders, conflict representation, re-interpretive space, non-places, discourse of represe
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