Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
My current cycle of work deals with the exploration, digestion and reinvigoration of traditional Slavic craft and material culture with goal of contributing to a contemporary design vernacular which eschews the idealization of Western-European forms and stands on its own: aesthetically discrete and externally respected. This line of inquiry arose from my own journey to understand myself as a Slavic-American; what it means to be such a thing; how to reconcile assimilation against perceived authentic identity and what value the voice of the diaspora can bring to the discourse of the old world. The outward mission of this project is to bring attention to what is beautiful in that which is wholly Slavic, but internally it seeks to deal with themes close to my personal desire to understand myself. It is a collection of objects that deal with transformation, translation, creolization and rediscovery. My practice is self-ethnography. It is a romance that is supra-temporal, bi-cultural and trans-atlantic. This thesis is a manifesto on a better kind of ethnodesign, one which borrows but does not steal, listens but does not repeat, and remains deeply personal while approaching the universal.
My work combines the soul of Slavic craft with the ethos of punk culture to create a new genre of Slavic-American design which draws upon tradition but embraces the raw and immediate way of making that is found in the DIY spirit of punk rock.
It is loud, fast and frayed around the edges. It is packaged into two minute soundbites that are honest and unashamed of their imperfection. It is a representation of what could not be without the liminal space of dual identity, something that is beyond the sum of its two parts.
Banik, Zac, "American Slavic : and other writings" (2019). Masters Theses. 394.
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