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

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Brutalist Leftovers: How I Survived Conceptualism

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-05-13
Abstract: 

A performance, a publication, and a compendium of mobile objects featuring both documentation and the ‘live’ artist in a kinaesthetic dialogue with the architectural and art historical archives of Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Campus constitute the thesis project. Through actions, texts and images, the artist seeks to claim space in order to come into direct contact with the disappearing past of the university’s relationship to the Brutalist architectural movement and the 1960’s and 1970’s conceptual avant-garde, key elements of its inception. The artist looks to establish a form of embodied revisionism through re-enactment, citation, and deconstruction in order to establish different narratives of contextually specific performance-based-research. Images and texts juxtaposed with the immediacy of the artist’s moving body become a means to accumulate layers of meaning in hopes of revealing new and unanticipated ‘truths’. Each part of the project was presented and accounted for during a live event at Burnaby Campus’s Academic Quadrangle.

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

Two studies: working in public

Date created: 
2014-05-13
Abstract: 

Two Studies: Working in Public is comprised of release of an artist book and the presentation of several large-scale projections created from original recombinant video. Developed around research into generosity, maintenance, urbanism, and novel practices, this ambitious investigation of Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ Manifesto for Maintenance Art includes a generative video system; which sorts through source footage of the artist repairing public benches and playgrounds. The artwork also includes a self-published art book, showcasing the creation of new public benches in semi-scenic locations and temporary swing sets suspended from billboards around Vancouver. These works serve as exploration of experimental behaviour inside the urban environment, and interdisciplinary approaches to documenting these findings wavering between the ridiculous and the critical, attempting to both reconcile and taunt the way in which generosity plays a role in the practice of working in public. The release of the artist book "If It’s Still There When You Go Looking" coincided with the one-night-only outdoor screenings in an exhibition at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Senior supervisor: 
Allyson Clay
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Ordinary Catastrophes

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-07-02
Abstract: 

Ordinary Catastrophes is a concert experience enlivened by the superimposition of several conventions of contemporary theatre practice. Employing folk music’s singer-songwriter tradition, the work tells the story of Clare O’Connor, a young leftist activist, writer and musician. After a period of grief and disillusionment she attempts to rebuild her relationships with her younger sisters and rediscover a sense of broader political opportunity by writing a memoir in song. The songs, lyrics and script were developed in collaboration with O’Connor, who is also the principal performer in the show. The culminating interdisciplinary performance is an attempt to enrich and extend my songwriting practice and to investigate the question of consequence in both artistic and activist pursuits. Ordinary Catastrophes features live music, sung and spoken text, narrative, character, movement, staging and lighting design.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Video Documentation of Ordinary Catastrophes
Senior supervisor: 
David MacIntyre
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Procedural residues after the shooting of The Ballad of Oppenheimer Park

Date created: 
2014-04-22
Abstract: 

Documentary practices are embedded in the idea of the representation of reality. This paradigm reinforces the authority of the State and neutralizes the political agency of the people being filmed. What happen if, instead of representing, we assume that a documentary film is presenting a reality? After a year in conversation with Indigenous people who spend the day drinking in Oppenheimer Park, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, I proposed to them employing the framework of the Hollywood Western to make a collaborative film. By introducing the iconic elements of the Western in the form of props, I spent fifteen weeks in the park documenting a series of performances enacted by people who’ve been fighting the imposition of law and order since being ordered onto reservations. The result is 130 hours of problematic footage that raises questions about colonization, political agency, contemporary forms of control, ethics, and historiography.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Video file DV NTSC 720x486 Stereo
Senior supervisor: 
Colin Browne
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Revolution songs: stories of prostitution

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-04-17
Abstract: 

Exhibited in a feminist centre, this installation uncovers women’s stories hidden beneath layers of occupation. Large-scale backlit photographs depict places in Vancouver of significance to four anonymous women, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who have been prostituted or affected by prostitution. These women’s stories are suspended as verbatim transcriptions. On the back of the transcriptions, and facing a wall that displays the visual herstory of the feminist collective inhabiting the space, each woman shares her political analysis of prostitution. An additional photo-text image is visible from the street. The backlight images reference the lights and consumerism of the city, sites where women who were once considered objects now become subjects, actively transforming memory into story and illuminating alternative ways of thinking and the possibility of social change. A public forum and online installation extends the work in other formats, provoking discussion and contemplation on the subject of prostitution in Canada and beyond.

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

Re-marks on Source Material

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-09-27
Abstract: 

During my MFA Studies at Simon Fraser University, I conducted and presented research on dance via a number of different modes and platforms; written essay’s, art works, interdisciplinary workshops, conferences and practical laboratories. All of these initiatives were designed to explore notions of power, i.e., hierarchy, resistance and empowerment, surrounding the articulation and presentation of dance as an art form itself. This cumulative research process has resulted in the creation of two final works that comprise my graduating project, “Re-marks on Source Material” and “Play Role”. I began the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts program with the specific purpose of examining notions of power as these pertained to my experience as a dance artist. Questions surrounding agency , i.e., the dynamics of the collaborative process, and the empowerment of individuals within educational, creative and viewing contexts, all helped to refine my research. I was able to identify more easily the hierarchical structures that exist within the discipline of dance itself, the relationship of such hierarchies to the perception and actions of choreographer, dancer and audience, and how dance artists have historically and are currently addressing these concerns through their various practices.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
documentation of stage piece
Documentation of installation
Senior supervisor: 
Henry Daniel
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

The Impossible Project

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-10-03
Abstract: 

The Impossible Project is an investigation of the nature of self-identity through a wide range of disciplines. The research began as an autoethnographic study of personal struggle with psychological distress, and extended to a deeper questioning of our societal and cultural assumptions around medicine, and the consequences of these assumptions on how patients experience themselves and others in the world. The primary thrust of the academic thesis was an exploration of these questions through a range of creative, poetic, and performative acts. Rather than denying the truth or validity of modern social institutions and their values, this project strives to find agency in the act of questioning how these structures operate. The sense of self is constantly being disoriented and reoriented through a shifting network of relations between people and structures. The project became a way of revealing the “self” as a process of always becoming more.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
The Beast that Escaped and a Fine, Fine Flavour Documentation Part 1
The Beast that Escaped and a Fine, Fine Flavour Documentation Part 2
The Beast that Escaped and a Fine, Fine Flavour Documentation Part 3
Senior supervisor: 
DD Kugler
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Taking Up Positions: Embodied Theories and Time-Based Participatory Practices

Date created: 
2013-08-30
Abstract: 

Taking Up Positions attempts to resolve, or propose possible solutions to, a range of questions common to time-based and participatory art practices concerning exhibition making, power, authorship and definitions, as well as their implications within a contemporary politics of protestation and image creation. This work is based on two distinct workshops which were facilitated leading up to this exhibition. These workshops were experiments in the embodiment of theory. Axis of Agency involved trained dancers exploring a theory of political agency mapped onto the floor in a Cartesian graph. This graph functioned dually as a visual guide to a theory and as a piece of choreography. The Contingent Sculpture Workshop was a series of workshops held over several months which engaged a material practice of student activism through the lens of artistic theory. They considered how protest creates images and what artists can contribute to a theorization of that process.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Sabine Bitter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.F.A.

Queering Islamic Aesthetics: Embodied Aesthetics and Queer Phenomenology

Date created: 
2013-09-04
Abstract: 

This work explores the collision of two seemingly disparate interests: the notion of queering, and Islamic Aesthetics. By critically engaging tropes from Islamic aesthetics and culture (i.e. architectural geometry, crocheting, carpets, and the Ezan – the Islamic call to prayer), and combining these with abstracted and figurative representations of the body, the work produced for this MFA thesis suggests the forbidden nature of queer desire and its relationship to Islamic culture and spirituality. Employing video installation, sound, drawing, painting, Ebru and sculpture, Queering Islamic Aesthetics attempts to capture the complex and nuanced negotiations involved in the embodied experience of transcultural queerness.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Senior supervisor: 
Laura U. Marks
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

My Breath, My Gravity: My Anishinabe Indexical Opens, Pops and Riffs

Date created: 
2013-09-16
Abstract: 

The paintings in this installation are presented in four distinct groupings. Five large works are hung low on the wall; a stack of paintings on paper are placed on a table as a hands-on viewer friendly archive; smaller works on canvas are stored in a small structure that suggests both a cedar house and a storage rack; and lastly three small works on canvas lean against the wall near the cedar house. In these works I explore how First Nations subjectivity can inhabit painting as an index of my presence inscribed through repetitive vertical lines I call “opens,” “pops,” and “riffs.” For me, vertical lines, repeating gesture and luminous colour contrasts indicate First Nations presence, memory and connections to the greater social world.

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