Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa

Second Advisor

Douglas Nickel

Third Advisor

Anne West


These Inadvertent Marks is a photographic investigation of scuffs, stains, residue, scratches, holes, and blemishes as a complex set of inadvertent marks which possess an inextricable relationship to the human intention to find and make meaning in the world. Excluding marks that are clearly the result of highly substantial accidents, I look to consider those which are largely deemed trivial and peripheral as a means of renewing perception and surrendering to the unconsidered. The photographs included are the result of a process of discovery and close consideration through wandering in my local surroundings: urban streets, private homes, airports, bathrooms, alleys, and storefronts. These spaces, frequented by people, are full of inadvertent marks which are the byproduct of our intentions. Catalyzed by existential boredom as a mood that compresses perceptual discrimination, my examination considers these marks as signs that invite interpretations of past actions and human imprecision. This artistic and theoretical inquiry revolves around themes of the semiotic, autonomous, contingent, and meaningful status of these marks as they obstinately stand against the human desire for cleanliness, inerrancy, and a visual cohesion of surfaces; it asks questions of the constitution of signs, establishment of meaning, excess of intentions, and interpretive instability.

Included in

Photography Commons



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