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Elin Karlsson

College
London College of Communication
Person Type
Student
Elin  Karlsson

Biography

Elin Karlsson is a PhD student at London College of Communication.

Thesis title: Practicing lewdness, DIY and banishment. Addressing taste, sexuality and cultural form through a practice-based investigation into contemporary domestic spaces.

Interview

Please introduce yourself.

I'm an artist born near Gothenburg in Sweden and now based in Sussex. I work with themes of domesticity, home and sexuality across installation, sculpture, photography, writing and video. I run a project space and gallery from my house and I'm a trustee of the Photo Fringe.

Give us an overview of your area of research and practice.

My work is a manifestation of domestic space, using both sculpture and writing. Domestic space is understood as a complex set of exchanges of powerful imaginaries and ideals that both impacts and mirrors sexuality, specifically female sexuality.

These exchanges take place within the home, between the people who live there but are also revealed in a capitalist exchange of the objects that make up the home. My PhD thesis responds to an idealised version of the domestic and creates a do-it-yourself (DIY) response to it.

Tell us about your thesis: title and summary.

My work processes taste, sexuality and cultural form through works where lewdness, banishment and DIY are being practiced and worked through.

My PhD thesis is an expression of a domestic understood as exchanges of power and control and uses a language that pushes against and challenges imagined ideals on a number of levels and ways: the academic institution and domestic environment, seeking to address these from a place of exile and non-hierarchical position.

My PhD thesis deals with an erotic charge, set out within a structure of power, a push and pull of subordination and domination. The sexuality of the heterosexual woman exists within a matrix of power relationships, she is the victim of violence against her body, a figure upon whom desire is projected in pornography, or imagined as dominating “milf” as she passes through her seasons.

Why did you decide to undertake a PhD? Why in this area?

I have always felt at home in a learning and educational environment and doing a PhD is a long-time ambition. There's something about the constantly shifting and developing ideas within a university that I'm especially drawn to; in art and the practice-based PhDs, the freedom to do whatever you want.

What is it like to do a practice-based PhD?

Doing a practice-based PhD is a wonderful challenge and really puts your practice under the microscope. Each utterance is valuable, meaningful and developmental, even those that are rejected.

There is a natural context to your work which I think helps audiences and gatekeepers engage with the practice. The rhythm and pace of the research really gives the space and time to make the work happen and draws out what the PhD really is - the definition of the contribution to knowledge.

What advice would you give to someone considering a PhD, or just starting on their PhD journey?

Find an institution and a team of supervisors that will challenge and guide your research. Try to connect with a wider research and art community who can support and distribute your work at crucial points.

Always look for opportunities to show your work and go for residencies whenever you can. Find an expression that works within the context of your life, the PhD, the methodology and your everyday.