Townsley, Jill (2010) Moments of Repetition in the Process of Art Production: Temporalities, Labour, Appropriations and Authorships. Doctoral thesis, The University of Liverpool.

This practice based PhD is an enquiry into repetition found in relation to the visual art
object, specifically the repetition that operates within the process of art production.
There is some precedence for the consideration of repetition observed as a repeated
subject or object, and especially the Warholian like repeated image. Rosalind Krauss
observed in The Originality of the Avant-Garde: A Postmodernist Repetition (1981)
that many artists are ‘condemned to repeating as if by compulsion, the logically
fraudulent original’. This research considers a different presentation of repetition, the
repeated action of labour that accumulates during the process of production.
A body of artworks, that for the purpose of the research I describe as labourwork, was
conceived and made with the concerns of repetition at the core of its process.
Personal reflection and a close critical analysis of each labourwork, allowed for the
identification of a number of issues that are significant to the consideration of
repetition as it relates to the process of production. They include ‘failure through
repetition', ‘temporality', ‘erasure' and ‘shifting authorships'. The emergent themes are
considered within the thesis, where broader theories of repetition are addressed in
order to position this form of art production within a larger theoretical framework.
The purpose of the repeated action within the labourworks was found to be more
complex than a means to an end. It was not just a pre-requisite to forming a critical
mass or achieving a particular form. When observed from the standpoint of different
schema such as time, the simulacra, mimesis or theories of replication, the repetition
within the labourwork was observed to be identified within many different constructs. It
was seen to affect the object, its relation to the viewer, authorship and the subject.
Yet, these multifarious roles are not differentiated within the single word 'repetition'.
The conclusion to this thesis summarises the effect repetition has been found to have
within the labourworks, separating out its roles and offering opportunities to identify its
individual operations, over-and-above the general term 'Repetition'.

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