Tom Baugh


An Artistic Equivalence of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Thomas Baugh Abstract In this research I explore my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and make manifest equivalent experiences of it through art practice. I investigate my OCD through artistic enactments and test my equivalence of the framework obsessioncompulsion using installation art – an equivalence, which I suggest is a relationship between my embodied perception and my memory. My interpretation of equivalence contains characteristics that arguably align with common emotions of control and doubt, inflated sense of responsibility and fear of disaster, which, I suggest are accessible to an audience other than myself. As such, my artwork proposes that a viewer can experience my equivalence to some degree. I refer to writer David Batchelor's (1997) definition of equivalence as a starting point for this research, and question how my OCD reveals itself through memory and perception, by referring to Richard Shusterman's ideas regarding somaesthetic reflection (2008), Bergson's description of the structure of memory (2004), Paul Ricouer's link between memory and imagination (2006) and Gilles Deleuze's ideas regarding difference and repetition (2013). I also refer to theoretician Estelle Barrett and her ideas regarding “situated knowledge” (2010: 4-5) as a way to frame the subjective and personal nature of my artistic enquiry, regarding my equivalence of OCD. Within this thesis I place emphasis on art practice as a method of research and describe the processes I have used to explore my OCD and make manifest my equivalence. I refer to Clare Bishop’s (2005) phenomenological description of installation art and mimetic engulfment within this process as I consider them methods to reveal my equivalence, by making manifest the relationship between my memory and my perception, both of which are embodied experiences within my OCD. I discuss Ross G. Menzies and Padmal de Silva’s (2004) clinical definitions and descriptions of obsession, compulsion, memory deficit and checking, in addition to phenomenological and pragmatic ideas, regarding memory and perception, as a way to articulate my proposition that equivalence of my OCD is constructed of a interdependent relationship between two embodied experiences, which can be revealed through art practice. My research contributes to new knowledge as it suggests a new way of understanding OCD by employing a multi-disciplined approach to practice-led research.

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