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

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Temporary Marriage

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-09-16
Abstract: 

My MFA thesis project titled Temporary Marriage includes nine paintings and four sculptures. The visual and conceptual signs of the divine power and legitimacy of Islamic religious Leaders are embedded in the architecture of religious monuments and Persian literature as a kind of visual and literary propaganda. I explore and analyze this power through depicting elements of Islamic culture and architecture in my paintings and sculptures as a means of metaphorically dealing with the central themes of Religion and History. In my sculptures I further point to the transmutation and deterioration of this power by altering the shape of domes and minarets, and using everyday materials such as metallic stickers to embellish their surfaces and destabilize meaning. Through applying multiple layers of paint and then scratching through its surface a sense of erosion and the symbolic passage of time and history resonates in my paintings.

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.

On the Validity of Illusion (and its Attractions)

Date created: 
2014-09-26
Abstract: 

A material aesthetic practice of making objects, works on paper, and performance; a mystically tinged exploration of lived experience; and a path of theoretical research are synthesized through the co-ordinating “Now” of the camera lens. The resulting 31 minute, 2 channel video confronts a mystery. A spiritual teacher appears, internet-style, on a monitor and a contemporary artist runs aesthetic tests. These tests include the presentation of objects and colored materials and the staging of scenarios all within a system of reflective surfaces. Driven by fascination and a sense of play, the video shifts between the totality of illusion and the clues of its ruse. As with the techniques of trompe L’oeil, a gap opens between belief and knowledge—an open space of inquiry.

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

Save The Bay!

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-07-08
Abstract: 

Save The Bay! takes, as a catalyst, the gifting of 'Rupert's Land' by King Charles II of England to his cousin Prince Rupert (First Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company). Utilising Zizek's idea of 'overidentification' and elements of clown and trickster, the project comes to an antagonistic and skewed defence of the HBC legacy, using this stance to highlight the unspoken aspects of the company's 'Canadian-ness', the lasting damage caused by colonialism and the status of corporations in the 21st Century (which exploit a chameleonic, multi-faceted and unaccountable, identity as both entity and individual). The project encourages us to face up to our complicity as colonisers, foregrounding the inseparable ties between capitalism and imperialism and asserting that for any kind of true 'reconciliation' to occur in North America we, as settlers, first have to be willing to shoulder the responsibility of the wrong doing for which we are making amends.

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

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.