The history of the end of history : notes on a working process

Panos, David (2015) The history of the end of history : notes on a working process. (MA(R) thesis), Kingston University, .


This submission a supplement to a body of artistic work created as part of a Masters by Research at the University of Kingston. It outlines the research process undertaken to realise that work and the intellectual and conceptual framework that supports it. The objectives of the research were to examine the revisiting, recycling and referencing of cultural forms from the late 1980s and early 1990s in contemporary culture, institutions and archives. The study aimed to explore the ways that ideology and cultural trends are materialised in fashion, music and other forms, and how the original meanings of these forms becomes refigured or distorted over time. The text traces the evolution of the research process and its relation to artistic practice, highlighting changes in the project's questions and parameters that occurred during the course of study. It outlines the results of empirical research undertaken in museums and archives and through interviews conducted with students of fashion. The artistic strategies deployed in the course of the study are analysed, in particular the use of digital video and compositing and its relation to the overarching themes of time, signification and memory. Drawing together cultural theory and personal history the research proposes two dominant and opposing cultural trends that have recurred in popular culture over the past four decades. Following this framework led to a consideration of fashion and music in relation to these trends and a shifting in focus towards an investigation and reconstruction of gestures and dance from the alternative scene of the late '80s and the rave culture of the early '90s. Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben and Siegfried Krachauer, the study suggests a new perspective on the cultural changes of the last 20 years, seeking to bypass the dominant modes of nostalgia or cultural pessimism.

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