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

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Sensuous machines: embodied mechanics of cinematic performances

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This essay will chart a geography of machines, bodies, and memories that is broad and far-reaching. The reader will travel through this terrain along a single winding path, via the tracks of film machines and dance machines (human bodies), taking extra time to pause, breathe, and reflect where the two intersect. A description of sensuous geographies as mediated through engagement with anachronistic machines (such as trains and film equipment) will prepare the reader for a journey in which the human body becomes implicated and integrated with the mechanical body. The impact of the machine on the body of the operator leaves traces that trigger memories; the human body itself becomes a machine in performance that excites memories in both the performer and the viewer. Our journey ends with the ephemeral and fleeting nature of these machines and media that are preserved in the transparence of our senses and memories.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
L
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

Have you ever wanted to change?

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

'A person decides that there is something about themselves that they would like to change'. This is the primary problematic of this project. What motivates self-development? What makes it seem an imperative? How is it enacted? To address these questions, the project incorporates the work of artists who impose a regime on their daily life as an art practice. Loosely framed as 'durational performance', these artists create a set of limits or tasks that must be carried out through a disciplinary regime of some kind. The project argues that these practices mark a critical engagement with the notion of self-development within the context of neo-liberal individualism. Three forms of research are employed: written essays, interviews with artists who carry out these projects, and a series of self-imposed regimes documented through video, contracts and photography.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

kanashibari, shadow archive

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

kanashibari, shadow archive is an interactive website and a sculptural, drawing and light installation that examines the impossibilities and possibilities that exist within articulating and archiving traumatic, collective and personal memories. Both works echo already existing contemporary forms of the archive and the memorial as a means to understand and question the absences within "history." Each form examines our desires to replace the absences of history with manifestations of material culture. Both projects are equally important components and thus mutually interdependent. Online viewers who visit the virtual "archive" activate the installation by triggering a small light. The illuminated drawings appear from the darkness as a 'trace' of what is barely invisible and constantly disappearing within the attempts to articulate the memory of historical traumatic events. The website continues to exist on the web, while the installation's temporal and spatial manifestation is now a 'memory' for audiences who experienced the work.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

Goodnight noises everywhere

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

goodnight noises everywhere consists of several performative soundwalks around Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood, exploring the question: how can vulnerability, experienced through the intersection of public space and private life, be used as a creative resource? Vulnerability is examined through bodily response to uncertain environments and circumstances: sites in the midst of change and unexpected events unfolding in public space. Tracing influence from interventionists, post-modern dance and relational aesthetics, the project connects to a lineage committed to contesting the line between art and life. By creating an unexpected dissolve between art event and life event, the soundwalks invoke a sense of vulnerability in both audience and performers that in turn creates immediacy and intimacy of experience that is unique, temporal, and, hopefully, gives rise to further creativity. This is vulnerability as creative resource, the art in the project.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

Machine languages: The digitization of the social

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Machine Languages is an interdisciplinary project encompassing work in computer music, dance and digital video, and featuring an immersive eight-channel loudspeaker configuration, video projection and live performance. The five pieces that make up the project call upon conventions of soundscape composition and "glitch" computer music to both highlight their own technological constructedness and refer to a broader, real-world context. Referring to spaces as diverse as Latvia, Turkey and Burnaby Mountain, and relating to a broad range of technologies including the human body and the new digital machines of war, Machine Languages aims for a critical engagement with technology as well as the configuration of a new "spatial politics" which honours the specificity of particular soundscapes while attempting to avoid exoticism and nostalgia. This project proceeds from the premise that if digital technology plays an increasingly important role in the social and cultural practices of our digitized and networked globality, then these five works can offer an alternative not only to the abstraction and homogenization of space in late capitalist modernity, but also to the technological triumphalism which prevails in "Information Technology" marketing rhetoric as well as in much 'new media" and digital culture in general.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

Les mots dits: Diasporic identity and representation in text based audio art

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Les Mots Dits is both an experimental audio documentary and an essay. The essay portion explores ideas surrounding identity and representation within diasporic cultures, examined through the lens of text-based audio art and popular music. Ideas explored include a look at the hermeneutics of musicltext, "significance" within speech, and text and representation within diasporic and hybrid culture. The companion audio work is comprised of narrative text and allegorical soundscapes. The text is derived from interviews with the author and his grandparents, the soundscapes from recordings made by the author in Europe during the summer of 2004. An appendix included in the essay provides a detailed timeline of the piece with commentary by the authorlcomposer. Both the essay and the composition are submitted in partial completion of the MFA programme at the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

March to May

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

March to May is a photographic exploration of spatial and temporal dislocations evident in television coverage of the official Iraq War - March 2oth 2003, when the bombing of Baghdad commenced, to the May 1 St declaration of victory by George Bush. Sourced from a viewing of over two hundred hours of archived television footage, each photographic image manifests as a durational record of approximately five seconds of selected real-time video segments of the televisual event. The extended exposures lend themselves to visual abstraction and, by extension, to political obhscation - a purposehl disavowal whose intent is the denial of a place of purchase. This piece works within the interstitial of space and time. It lies between the real-space of war, with human bodies, machines and geography, and the dematerialization of those elements into the televisual spectacle - between the real-time of war and the hyperfluidity of satellite transmission.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)

Hugs kisses tongues : 'heterotopic normal' in critical practice

Author: 
Date created: 
1992
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (School for Contemporary Arts : Special Arrangements) / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Optics out of shadows: creating a photographic history from conté sketches

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Mary is a seven-minute animation based on my grandmother Mary, who died before I was born. The video integrates 16mm film, digital still images and digital video to represent the version of Mary’s life I imagined as a nine year-old. This thesis explores the video as a conversation between my childhood version of Mary and my adult reflections on that fabulation. I contextualize my video through my personal history, art practice and research. I investigate theories that explore the nature of invention, including Gilles Deleuze’s fabulation and Laura Mulvey’s usage of the term delay. Giorgio Agamben’s articulation of the lacuna and its relationship to the unspeakable helped me understand the creative choices I made in the video. I discovered that my childhood version still carries a powerful emotional charge and that the structural parallels between Mary’s life and my own are shaped by events no language can contain or comprehend.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School for the Contemporary Arts - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.F.A.)