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Illustrating The Vacuum: Carnivalesque drawing and the delimitation of communities

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The Vacuum was a free newspaper published in Belfast, Northern Ireland between 2003 and 2014. This article makes reference to illustrations produced by the author and his fellow contributors in order to explore a range of ideas connected to emergent public art practices. The time frame of The Vacuum’s circulation provides the article with critical frameworks drawn from contemporaneous discourse on social engagement and participation. The concepts of ‘dialogical aesthetics’, a ‘carnivalesque’ mode of humour and a ‘paradigm of the page’ are developed in relation to The Vacuum as a whole, to the illustrations that formed one of its defining features and to the author’s experience of community and public art commissions.
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Keywords: Northern Ireland; carnivalesque humour; community art; dialogical aesthetics; independent press; public art; social satire

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ulster University

Publication date: April 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Illustration is a rapidly evolving field with an excitingly broad scope. Despite its cultural significance and rich history, illustration has rarely been subject to deep academic scrutiny. The Journal of Illustration provides an international forum for scholarly research and investigation of a range of cultural, political, philosophical, historical, and contemporary issues, in relation to illustration. The journal encourages new critical writing on illustration, associated visual communication, and the role of the illustrator as visualizer, thinker, and facilitator, within a wide variety of disciplines and professional contexts.

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