Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Dr. Lora Van Uffelen
We are beings with at once fragile and resilient senses. Each of us have a threshold that is tested by auditory and visual stimuli that are seemingly constant.
This can lead to discord driving poor choices in resource allotment on a global and for some, a personal scale.
On a global scale, frenzied and misguided journeys to capitalize on the earth’s riches has led to exploitation of both nature and in some cases, societies. At the time of writing, the negative effects of these choices are at the forefront of policy makers’ agendas. In the United States, there are areas which are making the transition from industry to cognitive markets better than others.
On a personal scale, transitioning from one career to another, has been a thread of reluctant self-discovery in my inquiries. Moving from a life where media and information was encoded, processed, judged, manipulated, and then delivered at lightening speeds to one where I am fortune enough to research, plan, dwell, converse, and meditate on media and message is in retrospect been a larger part of building my process than I had realized. This is a hybrid essay of research, documentation, and personal narrative that will support the materialization of my practice.
It seeks to funnel research centered on sites related to crucial natural resources into materials and interventions that transcend specialties of location, creating moments of unity and reflection. Hopefully, in these moments, the audience will be led to reflection on their intuition to create a better future.
The key themes and categories include living with the duality of technology and intuition and how my personal history has motivated my pursuits with technology.
At the heart of my inquiry is examining the role technology plays in an individual’s and society’s development and how one can move in and out of a larger environment by defining their personal landscape through technological terms.
The works that inform this thesis are, Horizons, Listening to Coal, and Wave Counter. Horizons explores the duality of industry by examining a submerged dry dock in the Port of Providence filled with steamships using primarily underwater and ambisonic acoustic recordings. Listening to Coal also explores the duality of industry by examining an abandoned coal mine that has been turned into a museum through ambisonic recordings, photographs, and video. Wave Counter is an ongoing project that explores the duality of technology through reflecting on a naturalist’s practice and through embedding myself into the work. The media used to explore it are: video, photography, and audio recording. In all projects, I’ve used media in immersive audio installations, mixed media installations, and webVR applications.
I selected the locations at the center of each artwork because of their relation to the allotment of resources whether it they are busy port, a once booming coal mine, or a protected yet precarious piece of seashore.
Stephens, Elise, "Silence is a luxury" (2020). Masters Theses. 474.
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