The PhD research explored the identities of ‘Stranger’ (Schutz, 1944), ‘Stranger-artist’ and ‘Stranger-Mongolian’ through adopting a semi-autobiographical approach in which I use a variety of practice-based research methodologies in order to produce original art projects and artworks. I use ‘experiential perspective’ (Stevens, 1996) as the main paradigm in inquiring the negotiation process of a necessary adjustment to a different culture, language and society in conjunction with the popular debate of ‘loosing and searching for identity’ (Trinh, 1988).
In particular, the research is concerned with the previously untouched subject of a modern Mongolian national identity, its artistic representation and re-identification in the UK, through practice-based contemporary art methodologies. Drawing on examples from the recent political history of Mongolia and mainstream media, combined with first-hand personal experiences of the realities of national, racial, cultural stereotyping, the research has contested the existing stereotype of Mongolness. Important to this has been the inclusion and intertwining of familial and personal narratives in defining ‘Stranger-Mongolian’ identity, and how these experiences have become continually manifested while undertaking four research trips back and forth to Mongolia. I probed the terms Nicolas Bourriaud’s terms ‘cultural nomad’ and ‘reification’ in relation to Non-Western artists’ practices. As part of this, I have also reflected upon the not widely known and studied art medium of Mongolian traditional painting or Mongol Zurag and its prominent advocator, Narmandakh Tsultem.
The research employed various combinations of methodologies including photography, performances, documentations, installations, videos, interviews and personal narratives, one of which I termed as ‘auto-photo-performance’. The site-specific and spatial qualities of the research were the prepositions to all of the art projects and artworks produced.