Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Digital Media

First Advisor

Nora N. Khan

Second Advisor

Shawn Greenlee

Third Advisor

Mairead Byrne


The veins of the leaves were bustling roadways, complex interactions that occurred at such a distance from my own anthropocentric understanding, they may as well have inhabited their own universe.

Dwelling within the infinite wonder of these microcosms, I coined myself a nickname that I abode within intimately: Bug Chaser. Perhaps I had heard the term on the news, or caught one of the teachers use it in passing, but as far as I was concerned, the term was entirely of my own creation.

“I’m a bug chaser!” I announced triumphantly to my kindergarten class.

“You mustn’t use that word,” chided the teaching assistant.


Her eyes were narrowed, as if she believed that the kindergartener looking vacantly in her direction knew exactly what he had just said, and had some hidden agenda.

“It means … it means someone who likes to get sick.”


Of course, the term I used to describe myself wasn’t original. But, I reasoned to myself, I could still be a bug chaser. After all, every word holds within itself an inherent meaning, and when we bestow these words upon ourselves we take on that inherent meaning, even if we don’t know it at the time.

Sure enough, as I grew older I came to realize that I yearned for sickness, the way (I naively imagined) a true bug chaser would. It wasn’t until early high school, when I used the term within earshot of a passing teacher, that I learned the truth.

Once again, I had discovered a rift between my own identity as a self-proclaimed bug chaser, and the bug chaser community at large. Yet I remained fascinated with the term, and the philosophies of the community that had taken on the onerous title. This community, interacting almost entirely within the confines of tiny forums on the periphery of the world wide web, had become synonymous within my prepubescent mind with the journey of finding one’s own asymptote.



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