Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Theo Ellin Ballew
Nora N. Khan
What is a haunted house? What makes it haunted? What makes it a house?
I grew up in northern Appalachia. I sat in the back seat of my father’s car for trips from the Eastern foothills to the Western foothills of Pennsylvania mountains to visit my grandmother.
When my perception of the world grew larger as I did too, I began to hide my Appalachian identity. This ended as I began my practice, beginning with a realtime performance on artificial intelligence and queerness. Art practice opened up the possibility of critical play, a method of criticism that focuses on a playful attitude, both investigating and reflecting without the pressure of coming to a decisive conclusion. Critical play is looking, planning, thinking, dreaming about the future.
My works of criticism manifest out of the page/site/paper/screen and into audio and/or visual experiences. I began to study the Other, othered spaces, othered subjects. Appalachia is “American soil” and yet is an Other. And hologram gfs are Others, on one hand they do not exist yet, and on another they very much do. Women are Others, ghosts are Others. I chart how they haunt and who they haunt. They show me who haunts them, why. I can build a world, where the Other can still be the Other, and can play among Others. There is no utopia, but there is connection. For the Other, safety is connection. Today and always, I will choose touch and care, I will choose connection.
As a research-based artist, my bibliographies gain autonomy, they grow and move and take a body through my work. They live out there, somewhere, choosing their paths, moving along, waiting for death. I give myself to transformative feminist futures.
Cribbs, Sarah Jane, "Embedded are the embers of echoes" (2022). Masters Theses. 845.
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