AHT2025 - The body in contemporary art - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Art, Design and Architecture

Organisational Unit

Department of Fine Arts


Dr Jessica Neath

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit was formerly coded TAD2025


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.


Assignment 1500 words (40%)

Research essay 2500 words (60%)

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


12 credit points at first year level in Art History and Theory, or Theory of Art and Design, or Visual Culture, or permission from Unit Coordinator


TAD3025, TAD2025, AHT3025