I hereby declare that this submission is my own work and that to the best of my knowledge and belief, it contains no material previously published or written by another person nor material which to a substantial extent has been accepted for the award of any other degree or diploma of the university or other institute of higher learning, except where due acknowledgement has been made in the text.
Date: 08.09.04
Donna Leishman (Candidate)
Department of Visual Communication
Faculty of Design
Glasgow School of Art
Paul Stickley (Supervisor)
Head of Visual Communication
Department of Visual Communication
Faculty of Design
Glasgow School of Art
The author wishes to thank the staff at Glasgow School of Art and my fellow PhD student cohort who provided me with support during the research period. Similarly I would like to thank all my virtual correspondents who have been in contact with me via, and who have over the years, provided me with inspiration, kind words and debate.

Particular thanks to:
My supervisor Paul Stickley for his questioning and reflectiveness. Bob Rich for this proof reading, Dr. Anja Rau for her insightful comments and help with the production this thesis and all my expert readers who generously participated and provided feedback on the Deviant project.

David Schofield for helping me cope, and so much more.
The work as presented in this thesis is articulated through and resides within digital practices and in order to maintain an intellectual consistency and continuity of the argument the work is submitted in an entirely digital format. The structuring of this thesis in done in a manner that reflects the epistemological grounding for the research. This grounding was contextually multiplicious and interwoven. Thus the body of commentary texts where appropriate contain links to the practice, live external websites, and extended commentaries. The extended commentaries are of a richer than normal footnote style and are intended to offer to you the reader a further discursive vein. Please note if you choose not to explore the various links or the extended areas of reference you will experience another type and more surface reading of this thesis.
The results of this practice-led research study comprises of:
1. Thesis - this volume.
2. Sketchbooks, notes, and a computer hard disk, which combined, provide additional supporting material for the thesis. Please note indicative samples of such materials are digitally represented in this volume.
3. The website: (2001+) which served and continues to serve as a basis for contact and the dissemination of my practice into a broader context.
Guide for use
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The icons when present outside their designated Chapter, will significantly link to a new location in another chapter. To return to your previous location please use the "Table of Contents" menus on the left hand side of the thesis interface.
Technical Notes
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Abstract of the research
Creating Screen-Based Multiple State Environments: Investigating Systems of Confutation
Donna Leishman, 2004
The intentions of this practice-led thesis are to investigate the interplay between Internet based digital narrative, image and interaction, and ultimately develop new practice, which primarily within the experiencing of the artwork articulates a new contribution to the field of study. The dual literature and contemporary practice reviews highlighted this as desired output. The predominant research in the field is not focused on the production of new projects but uses various forms of literary and critical theory to search out new interpretations and structural understanding of the artefacts in question. Similarly the reviews revealed a strong set of visual hegemonies - namely the ascent of neo-minimalism and a preoccupation with the replication of reality. My practice sits between these poles as being a hybrid of detailed line art, handcrafting and popular imagery, and as such, functions with uniqueness. The interstitial paradigm is used to support the practice, as parallels are drawn not only in the aesthetics of the work but also the politic of the communication.
The thesis is organised in three sections, Chapter 1 is theoretically orientated, aimed at defining the context for the practice. Chapter 2 is focussed on the artworks and in the main discusses the thinking behind, development and the production of two new projects -- The Bloody Chamber and Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. Chapter 3 presents the discoveries rooted in the practice, concludes the thesis and finally offers some possible vistas for further research.
The research questions were set-up to investigate the structural and aesthetic possibilities on offer to the practioner when aiming to create artworks that interstitially function on the premise of confutation and resistance whilst still attempting to create a sense of narrative immediacy.
Through a combination of making practice, reflective evaluation and the appraisal of existing artworks I developed a new aesthetic in answer to the research questions. This aesthetic is termed as the "fragital". The fragital is an uncommon pairing of the digital experience -- that being the individualized remote onscreen touch, and the sense of a material and sensitive tangibility. This was used as a means to significantly and emotionally immerse the participant within the multiple state environment, whilst still in the structural accessing of the project, utilising the powers of confusion and disturbance as inherent in interstitial practice.
The culmination of the research and an example of the fragital at work -- is located in the project Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw. The artwork is elucidated using critical insights from a group of twelve invited expert participants and an in-depth self-analysis. This group was invited on the basis of their interdisciplinary abilities, personal voice and commitment to my research area. The objective viewpoints of these participants was used not only to aid further understanding of the perception of the project but also to help me as the artist to extract extra arguments, complement my subjective understanding and gain additional contextual insights about my work.
The different strands of the presented research work together to offer new insights into the production and concept of screen-based multiple state environments, and an original artefact Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw, which stands as a method to experience the core of research argument. The insights and discoveries as located in this thesis would be of use to other digital narrative practioners and those studying new media art.
Please note: should your browser not be able to run the JavaScript used in this thesis, I am happy to send a linear -- thus reduced in spirit -- version of the text and associated artworks to interested parties. For such requests please contact