Rhodes, Jodie M. (2019) Analysis and Interpretation of the Visualisation of Traumatic Experience in J.G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition through Illustration Processes. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The aim of this thesis is to investigate the proposal that The Atrocity Exhibition (1969) by J.G. Ballard is a visual response to traumatic experience. This investigation identifies key motifs, concepts and techniques of the narrative and examines relevant literary readings in conjunction with creative practice.

The main readings include ‘peritraumatic dissociation’; narrative as the traumatic experience rather than a retelling of traumatic experience, ‘negotiated truth’; the manipulation of details to better suit a perceived truth, ‘moral pornography’; the use of parody as critique which creates awareness around mediation and trauma, and lastly war trauma; the concept that the events that are conveyed by the narrative indicate experiences of war.

Additionally, the thesis establishes the concepts ‘transformative aesthetic’ portrayed through the numerous alternate realities of the narrative and ‘conceptual death’ which is presented through multiple layers of consciousness. This links to the surrealist movement which fuses the subjective with the objective and is recognised as a prominent influence of the narrative. Altogether these aspects play an important role in the investigation of the narrative as a visual response to trauma.

The findings of the research are reinforced by creative practice which attempts to interpret the motifs and concepts and their meaning rather than illustrate the events of the narrative. The objective of the investigation is to analyse why the narrative might be read as a response to trauma and how this is conveyed visually through the examination of meaning and motive behind the narrative’s motifs and

FINAL THESIS - RHODES.pdf - Accepted Version
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