Tuesday, 15 June 2010


This photograph is of a Damien Hurst installation at the Tate Modern. It used identical twins in a Pop life exhibition. Now the question is, who is real and who is the representation? Or are they both real and both representations. They could be transitive - a representation that represents something or reflexive where the representations presents itself as representing something. So many questions. So many circles...or so it feels like in my head.

My PhD is looking at how sex, drugs and alcohol are represented in young adult fiction but also explores the issues of representing these in a piece of young adult fiction I am writing. Again, there are just so many questions: is it my representation based on my cultural experience, medical knowledge and/or political understanding? Is it a true representation then or is it invalid and therefore just an interpretation? Does the reader have the same concerns about the representation? The 'lived in experience' that I will bring as a reader has to be different to the 14 year old reading in the corner of their bedroom. Who is right?

These questions have been tumbling around in my head since I started reading Jen Webb's Understanding Representation. A book I wish I had found at the beginning of my PhD rather than towards the end. Though logically I wouldn't have understood it in the way I do now if I had looked it when I first started. So maybe it arrived on my desk at the right time.

I have no answers to give you, just loads of questions to think about. When you write what sort of representation are you creating? Is it altered because of the message you are trying to create? See there are some more for you. I'm off to contemplate these questions.

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