Thalia Hoffman

Doctoral thesis

13 October 2020

Janneke Wesseling
Kitty Zijlmans
Maria Pask

Available at:
Leiden University Repository



The 'Guava Platform', which is at the centre of this PhD thesis, was initiated in 2014 as a conceptual framework of my art practice and research. The aim of the 'Guava Platform' is to research and create possible techniques of art-actions that are part of Thalia Hoffman's quest to continue to live in the conflicted landscape, east of the Mediterranean, as an artist.

This dissertation assembles the 'Guava' art-actions: i.e. a series of three short films, an online radio station, two performances, a geotagging website, and a scent collection as well as the research into a combined space. Both the art-actions and the research convey the 'Guava Platform.' The leading questions of the thesis are: How can time-based art-actions in a conflicted landscape induce and take part in an embodiment of constructive political imagination? If both physical and conceptual ‘movement’ are the actions’ impetus, how can these actions adjust the socio-political impasse of the landscape? And how can they contribute to a socio-political discussion of the landscape I live in?

The outcome of this research is presented on a website. On this website, all the art-actions and texts are organized together in the same space for the first time. Here, the different components, the art-actions and texts, are not bound to a hierarchical relationship between theory and practice that might restrict their possibility to interact. Instead, the website enables the visitor to navigate between the different artistic and discursive elements in a nonlinear way, opening up innumerable opportunities of directions to go through and explore the research.

This dissertation is part of Hoffman's ongoing process as an artist dealing with my socio-political surroundings. She suggests suspending direct reference to the conflicted landscape and instead experiencing it in alternative ways, through constructive imagination. Even though she does not aim at finding concrete solutions to the severe emergencies around her, Hoffman does allow herself, participants and visitors the opportunity to re-articulate, in thought and body, our state of living in this area.



Photos of the exhibition ‘Guava جوافة//גויאבה,’ installed at Old School, Leiden, 9 October – 18 October 2020. The exhibition presented a selection of work by Thalia Hoffman produced within the framework of her PhD research project.

Photography by Gert Jan van Rooij