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

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The Builders

Date created: 
2015-10-06
Abstract: 

Created through a multidisciplinary theatrical devising process inspired by the worldwide phenomenon of art environments, The Builders is an immersive performance blending theatre and installation. Bringing together an ensemble of theatre artists, dancers and a musician, The Builders investigates transformation, territory and the practice of making oneself at home in the world. The performance immerses the audience in an extraordinary space inhabited by the builders, each one engaged in a relentless effort to transform their surroundings. As they work, they reveal their stories and their processes, reflected in their singular territories, each of which frames a chaotic assemblage of research, improvisation, personal mythologies and desires. Over five months of practice-based research informed by performance, art environments, and installation, the ensemble and I investigated the transformations of space, materials, and identities that occur within devising and the making of art environments. This document serves to outline my research and my devising strategies as the director of the work, and examines the challenges and outcomes of The Builders meeting a live audience.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Two-minute video trailer for The Builders, created & directed by Megan Stewart.
Moving time-lapse video of The Builders shot during the dress rehearsal.
Senior supervisor: 
Ker Wells
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Domesticating Monsters

Date created: 
2015-10-08
Abstract: 

My artistic and academic research has been examining how society displays what our dominant culture seeks to repress or even sanitize. ‘What is normal?’ and the reverse, ‘what is abnormal?’ have been recurring questions sparked by my fascination with the borderline areas beyond socialized identity. I am drawn to the confused boundaries that overthrow certain claims about identity. I question how one allocates identity when dealing with the perception of eccentricity as well as the absurd, the grotesque, the uncanny and the bizarre?This cumulative research process has resulted in the creation of two final works that comprise my graduating project, Domesticating Monsters. Both pieces are interconnected through their underlying themes and the overarching research process; both propose questions about identity and social behavior exposed by body language and speech. One is an audio-visual installation presented across 3 screens creating multiple viewpoints, alternately supported or juxtaposed by an original sound collage, the other is a staged live performance made up of a cast of 6 interdisciplinary performers that evolves from the installation.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Domesticating Monsters; temporary promo vid.
Domesticating Monsters; full length, long shot, compressed.
Senior supervisor: 
Rob Kitsos
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

A single rope, tossed over a high, sturdy branch

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-09-23
Abstract: 

A single rope, tossed over a high, sturdy branch refers to a basic description of bear bagging, a practice of placing items attractive to a bear—such as food, scented products, or perishables—into a bag that is raised into the air using a rope—out of the reach of a bear. The exhibition continues my ongoing investigation into the thingness of found objects and considers the inarticulable energies they can convey. If I know it is there–even without caption–will it remain, and can audiences perceive it? This question has been assisted by the bag works in the exhibition, held in suspension through formal strategy and concealment of their contents. The works demonstrate potentiality, activating as transitive paintings that attempt to convey social energies to the viewer in a layered approach, through internal and external passages.

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.

Let it be as it is

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-09-14
Abstract: 

This work comprises a multi-media video installation that is the result of a process intended to understand and communicate in an embodied way, the self and place (site-sensitivity). Theory underlying these explorations includes ideas about the posthuman and collaboration formulated by Rosi Braidotti, Spinozist freedom, Vivian Sobchack’s notions of embodiment, and Philip Auslander’s theories of liveness and mediatization. I utilize my body and its capacity for improvised movement as an expressive medium, along with video making and installation, indirectly referencing the practices of artists such as Vito Acconci, Trisha Brown, and Andrea Zittel. These forms are realized methodologically by an engagement with physical trainings, urban dérive, and improvisation as practice which facilitates presence of focus and an engagement with the energies and affective intensities of the everyday.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Untitled 1
Untitled 2
Untitled 3
Untitled4
Senior supervisor: 
Jin-me Yoon
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Together () Apart

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-06-19
Abstract: 

Together () Apart explores social, physical and political notions of borders manifesting and being revealed through movement, somatic practices, social experiments, collaborative process and interdisciplinary performance making. The concept of border is investigated both as a subjective line of division and as a third space of encounter located inside the body, outside the body and in-between bodies. Informed by a series of workshops and laboratories between six dancers, two architects, a musician and a lighting designer, the practice-based research process of Together () Apart developed into a performance installation with seven performers and live one-on-one encounters. Designed after the concept of border as a space that can potentially both divide and unite, each performer occupies a separate space, intimately connecting them to each audience member. The format of one-on-one performance offers an opportunity to explore our connection to ‘an other’ and to negotiate the space in-between bodies.

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

Dance Work / Work Dance

Date created: 
2015-06-09
Abstract: 

DANCE WORK/WORK DANCE is an accumulative practice-based research into the becoming of dance in the art gallery. In collaboration with nine professional dancers, four art galleries and the non-profit arts platform Haunt, Emmalena Fredriksson experiments with modes of visual art as an entry-point for making and presenting dance. As a working method the group appropriates visual arts language, styles and viewing structures to undo dance. This ‘undoing’ creates a starting point for discourse and discovery as it invites alternative perspectives of dance as an art form, the act of performing and the gallery/exhibition space, for both dancer and viewer. Following one studio showing, two group exhibitions and one art gallery residency, this project culminated in a four-day exhibition at the Audain Gallery May 20th-24th, consisting of three solos and one duet danced by ten dancers on rotational shifts through out the opening hours of the gallery.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Time-lapse video of Dance Work / Work Dance
Audio recording of Dance Work / Work Dance the solo
Senior supervisor: 
Rob Kitsos
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

How is it that there is always something new?

Date created: 
2014-10-17
Abstract: 

In this project, landscape is understood in terms of process and the event. The time-based medium of video allows for an approach to landscape that recognizes multiple, layered temporalities: human, biological, geologic and atmospheric. Seen in these terms, landscape is not a static surface—not topographic or cartographic—but a vital process. In video works offering sustained attention to three different sites, ostensible landscape stillness is the theatre for the appearance of manifold events, both human and non-human. Duration (durée) as conceived by Bergson and Deleuze is discussed in terms of its relevance to the single camera shot. Throughout, the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead provides a theoretical support, specifically through his concepts of prehension and concrescence. These concepts open the door to an exploration of how the image-making characteristics of different cameras could be windows onto seeing the world in a new way, a less anthropocentric way.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Laura Marks
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Growth, Endlessness, Blocks

Date created: 
2014-09-15
Abstract: 

Growth, Endlessness, Blocks is a sculptural installation comprised of a series of wood structures of various scales. Large sections of drywall function as extensions of the gallery walls. Each structure balances a number of different physical characteristics that are tied to the act of making. Balance and presence combine in a disconcerting way giving the viewer a sense of uneasiness and a moment finely tuned by the artist. The artist seeks to embody the role of the factory fabricator as a means of exhausting the limits of the materials used and of emulating the role of the worker.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Elspeth Pratt
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Thus Spoke Death and Transfiguration

Date created: 
2014-09-24
Abstract: 

Thus Spoke Death and Transfiguration is a multi-faceted art installation that employs the anomalous trope of embedding video monitors into sculptural objects. These sculptural objects include a hanging papier-mâché dolphin, a lectern, side tables, wood sculptures and encasings. The three embedded monitors feature the artist performing in various capacities: embodying various acts in the studio, on a mountain, in an airplane and also performing a remake of a lecture by the French philosopher Alain Badiou. The artist discovered the actions portrayed in video, and the objects, to be art. Appendix A is the research paper written in FPA 812 entitled Defamiliarizing Straight Forward Vision : Undercutting and Satire in the Artwork of Elodie Pong and Leila Pazooki. The paper provides some of the methodological and theoretical underpinnings of appropriation as an artistic tactic drawing on the Situationist International, Sven Lütticken and Jean-Luc Nancy to explore works by Elodie Pong and Leila Pazooki.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Nathaniel Wong, On Being Happy (Alain Badiou), Video, 7:58 minutes
Nathaniel Wong, You Took a Long Time up on the Mountain, Video, 15:32 minutes
Nathaniel Wong, I’m on a Plane, Video, 23:38 minutes
Senior supervisor: 
Judy Radul
Allyson Clay
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

When will my hands become roots?

Date created: 
2014-10-03
Abstract: 

When will my hands become roots? is a performance and installation motivated by the sense of displacement and desire to belong, which I draw from my own experience growing up in Brazil and then moving to Canada. The project is inspired by phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty's notion of body as chiasm (from the Greek letter chi “x” used to describe crossing over relations), which defines that body and world are intertwined by their common texture, the flesh. Following the idea of the chiasm, I cross over elements from both the performance stage and the art gallery into a project that combines my personal memories, cultural identity questions, and interdisciplinary interests. The outcome is a sensorial installation with performance elements and a performance with visual art elements.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Brief video documentation of the installation section of the project When will my hands become roots?
Excerpts from the performance section of the project When will my hands become roots?
Senior supervisor: 
Rob Kitsos
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.