Contemporary Arts - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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KickQueen: The body, the story, and the icon

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-14
Abstract: 

In the realm of the KickQueens, Malak Alawye breaks time’s cyclicality when she hits an armed man in the crotch. She takes Lebanon out of its traumatic loop and into a linear dimension where progress is possible. KickQueen is a semi-fictional, semi-factual reflection on the icon of the October 2019 uprisings in Beirut. It is a magic potion against forgetting. It asks us to remember: “What does it mean to kick an armed man in the crotch? How does this gesture live in our embodied collective?” Calling on a gesture’s cite-ability, reenactment, and potentiality, the research behind this project addresses the limits of the icon both within and without the body, exposing its representational successes and failures while at the same time investigating how a hybrid narrative can translate into a multi-media installation using video performance, sculpture, and sound.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Claudette Lauzon
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Peter and the Wolf

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-10-30
Abstract: 

Peter and the Wolf is a retelling of the classic symphonic fairy tale for children, queerly remade. Incorporating elements of film, live audio, and imposed communication technologies, the performance boldly imagines what has transpired in the theatre in the six months since the artists were forced to abandon the theatre, leaving the characters to their own devices. Peter and the Wolf explores the perception of identity through a layered, mediated lens, inviting viewers to reflect on new definitions of otherness, agency and representation. Told largely from the perspective of the Wolf, the performance challenges diametric oppositions of the self through an infinite journey of simultaneity, moving away from a normative polarities of Either and Or towards an inclusive Neither alive with possibilities.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Wladimiro A. Woyno Rodriguez
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

and we continue

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-11-23
Abstract: 

“and we continue” is an interactive online performance that tells a story about the behavior of complex systems through the lens of water. Each participant starts out as an iconic representation of various forms of water, such as Ice or Cloud, and explores its individual existence. Later, real-time interactions between participants are explored along with influences of outside actors to the system, creating unpredictability. In the last stage, participants come together to form a system that acts as an individual once again. The story is told through use of music, video and text, all of which react to the participants’ actions. Each of these three media, together with all participant interactions, plays a part in the story of water and complexity by highlighting shifting time scales as humans influence earth’s water systems and underscoring the unpredictable consequences of individual actions within such systems.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Arne Eigenfeldt
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Friday dinner

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-14
Abstract: 

Friday Dinner is a dance performance interlacing the aesthetics of both trained technical movements often taught in institutions, and gestural movements true and natural to a dancer’s body. As a dancer trained in several codified forms, I am interested in the expressive range of patterns we absorb from formal practice, and the gestures and movement we manifest in our everyday lives. Using videotaped footage of dancers enjoying dinner, exchanging casual conversations and sharing childhood memories, we extracted natural gestural movement from the dancer’s bodies. These idiosyncratic gestures were then layered with refined, established dance movement often found in dance institutions and academia. Heavily relying on recorded dinner settings and interviews, the work unravels a complexity of movement and virtuosity of presence, highlighting the aesthetics of both approaches while offering potential hybrids between these forms for contemporary performance.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Judith Garay
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Swaying

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-02
Abstract: 

Swaying is a project that exhibits a personal processing of the COVID-19 pandemic through a photographic series informed by a diaristic process. Each photograph marks a different happening, thought or emotion and utilizes photographic and contemporary art theories as a guide to interpreting these happenings and thoughts. This series consists of thirteen photographs and speaks to a range of subjects such as, ‘world-making,’ the grotesque, sublime, science-fiction and punctum as some examples of the what informs this project. Swaying externalizes the inner thought process and shares an intimate exploration of relating to a changing world.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Sabine Bitter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Figure 8

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-07-31
Abstract: 

Figure 8 is a 35-min video recording of a solo movement performance that explores displacement, ancestry and identity through the lens of gesture. Based on interviews conducted with eight of the artist's family members from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the work follows the artist as she situates them in her home and moves through their gestures using mimesis. Set within an improvisational structure, the piece is split into five sections that offer a different relationship to the gestures as influenced by the audio, use of the objects, space, and costume. The sound score interlaces portions of each family member’s voice clips from the interviews with distortion, repetition, and pop references while the gestures are repeated until they begin to dissolve in a process of entropy. The piece was envisioned as a live show in the theatre but transformed into an online performance due to COVID-19, and as a result was able to be shared with, experienced, and witnessed by the very people it was seeking to treasure.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Steven Hill
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Reversing the undone

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-17
Abstract: 

Reversing the Undone arrives in the mail as a series of letters engaged with moving and sewing in reverse. Each hand-crafted parcel contains a set of seven missives to be read over the span of a week, with accompanying “suggested pairings” for the time of day, place in home, or sort of snack to enjoy during each reading. The pages include researched reflections on reversal processes, articulated through the practice of sewing. Each day considers a specific facet of backwardation, offering handwritten and typed text, stitches and folds that interact with rewound concepts through an assemblage of thread, paper, and typography. Reversing the Undone operates as a score for the reader, who both enacts and witnesses its performance by reading, holding, and gesturing through movement invitations written within the text, or through the sheer need to unfold, untie, and even cut the work in order to fully enter inside. Created during COVID’s closure of performance venues, Reversing the Undone is a piece made to be touched, a hopeful salve during a time of stymied physical contact and social connection.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Steven Hill
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Edgelands

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-14
Abstract: 

In a time of ecological collapse, Edgelands (2019) considers the potentialities of making, speaking, mourning, caring, and growing with beings and forces that are other-than-human. Moving between soil communities on the Northwestern coasts of Scotland and Canada, my research focuses on the life-ways of plants and the vegetative microorganism mycelium indigenous to these regions to ground my interdisciplinary and collaborative enquiries. This research has been concerned with the ways in which practices of human and nonhuman making and care might meet. Combining human-nonhuman weavings, a soundscape and series of care-taking gestures, Edgelands is a performative installation that asks, how can multispecies alliances engage an ethics of care? As rhythms of human and nonhuman construction enfold, so too do landscapes, weaving together care practices within and across species, lands and timescapes.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Edgelands - Songs for the Edges by Amy Wilson
Supervisor(s): 
Claudette Lauzon
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Revealers

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-20
Abstract: 

Revealers is a collection of artworks that centres on photographic logic and the way that it shapes light into images of the world. Through diverse processes of seeing, making and exposing, the exhibition showcases alternative visions of reality that have been enabled through engagements with light as both subject matter and material. Rooted in the idea of photographic exposure, each work separately examines how light interacts with thresholds, forms impressions, and gives shape to multiple and diverse visual worlds. Rather than considering the transference of light as having any kind of processual resolution, these works are formed under the leitmotif that light is a field and, as such, is constantly active — before, during, and after images are formed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Elspeth Pratt
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Playback Head

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-22
Abstract: 

Playback Head is an audiovisual journey that considers the transience of time, the bonds of family, and the experience of (im)migration. This project is comprised of two separate pieces: a multichannel audio/video installation, and a short film. It combines footage collected over a period of fifty years, on both analogue and digital media, with a collage of evocative soundscapes and experimental music. A synesthetic depiction of past events—recollections of childhood, travelling, and different homes—these works combined investigate possible relations between sound and image, employing different kinds of media technologies, and set in distinct contexts, such as the cinema and the gallery space, each one with its own set of possibilities and idiosyncrasies.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Appendix B. Excerpt from the short film Playback Head
Appendix C. Video documentation of the multimedia installation Playback Head
Supervisor(s): 
Arne Eigenfeldt
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.