Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Art, Design and Architecture
Organisational UnitDepartment of Fine Art
OfferedCaulfield Second semester 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Prof Anne Marsh


This unit concentrates on the artist's body in art, including photography, performance, painting, sculpture, video and multi-media art. It will consider examples from the history of 20th century art but will focus primarily on art practice since 1960. The unit will deal with issues of identity, gender, sexuality and difference, drawing on performative theories of subjectivity. It will look closely at experimental art practices and how these practices have sought to close the gap between art and life; from the Happenings of the 1960s, through the body art of the 1960s and 70s, to relational aesthetics, and flash mob performance works in the 2000s. The unit will investigate live action in contrast to represented action, and will consider the live action and its remediation in video, digital art and film.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. have developed a detailed understanding of contemporary, experimental art and performance practice which centres on the body
  2. have developed a working knowledge of the key debates and theoretical dialogues that have occupied artists and critics in relation to performativity in art
  3. have developed skills in visual and critical analysis that can be applied to the investigation of the body and its performativity in art
  4. have acquired the ability to research and write from an informed position about the body in contemporary art.


One seminar issue based discussion paper 1,500 words (40%)
One research essay 2,500 words (60%)

Third year level students are expected to read at a higher standard

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

12 hours per week including 3 contact hours and 9 hours of independent study or equivalent


Must have passed first year sequence in Theory of Art & Design or a first year sequence in Visual Culture or a relevant discipline and a credit in at least one unit of Theory or Visual Culture at second year level.