Dr. Alex Frost

Alex Frost is an artist based in London. His art captures an optimised and energised life ‘on-the-go’. Whether making objects for a gallery or producing videos for online circulation the life he encapsulates is one where consumption rules all life. He has exhibited widely including the 2009 Venice Biennale, Tate (St Ives), Catriona Jefferies Gallery (Vancouver), The Modern Institute (Glasgow), Dundee Contemporary Arts, Milton Keynes Gallery, Studio Voltaire (London), Fruitmarket (Edinburgh), Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, Kunstbuero (Vienna) and Frieze Sculpture Park (London).

Thesis Title: Gh0stSpace: Living and Working Through an Ideology of Privatisation

Gh0stSpace describes a life under the rule of capital in the capital. It defines the inter-relational and consuming spaces of the global city (Sassen, 2005) of the global north. These are spaces where work merges with life (Beck, 2014); the public and the private become indistinguishable (Minton, 2012); the collectivity of the city becomes a space of individualisation (Sennett, 2008); where place (Dean and Millar, 2005) and non-place (Augé, 2006) lose their distinction and where virtual space blurs with physical space (Bridle, 2018). I have given this space the brand name Gh0stSpace to highlight the haunting effects of a boundless form of consumption within an ‘ideology of privatisation’ (Bauman, 2008). Gh0stSpace defines the discourse between specific objects, external space and internalised behaviours. In a Gh0stSpace, the physical spaces and products of the global city meet a pervasive, implicating and controlling atmosphere that is ‘carried within us’ (Fraser, 2006) or exist within a ‘pervasive atmosphere’ (Fisher, 2009).

Gh0stSpaces are therefore inter-relational spaces that are both absent, present and appear to have no outside. This thesis will ask, can art practice be used to explore and define this Gh0stSpace? Focusing on three contemporary art projects that I have initiated within Gh0stSpaces: Love/Work an exhibition in a live/work apartment, a space where work meets life; Things Ground Us a series of exhibitions in a privately hired self-storage unit acting as a proxy gallery space and Wet Unboxing a series of videos that primarily circulate through the privatised domains of online social media. In order to investigate the validity of these spaces as Gh0StSpaces each project employs a range of exploratory methods: collaborative/individual, anonymised/authored, virtual/physical which circulate through artistic and non-artistic networks. In each instance, I am working through life as an artist in contemporary London. An equivalent sense of boundlessness is explored in the writing which crosses academic, narrative, and personal styles, and which depict actual and speculative realities within the household, workspace, the city and wider cultural infrastructure. This range of writing styles mirrors the layered and reflexive character of the visual outcomes. The enveloping nature of a privatised context may seem to offer no clear edges or externality. Yet I want to ask, is there a possibility of an outside to Gh0stSpace? Could an understanding of the way Gh0stSpace consumes offer a space of artistic agency within the city’s ideology of privatisation?

Awarded Date: 21/07/2020

Principal Supervisor: Professor David Campbell

Second Supervisor: Tom O'Sullivan