Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Heather Rowe

Second Advisor

Maia Chao

Third Advisor

Kate McNamara


“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.”

The title of this thesis is adapted from the title of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, and the quote above is said by the scientist in the novel. To associate the word “Frankenstein” with “transnationals” is not to refer to the transnational as the monster, but to explore the duality of the identity of Frankenstein: Dr. Victor Frankenstein, a privileged scientist who studies abroad and achieves a scientific breakthrough; and the Creature, a subject who experiences discrimination and oppression as the other in his assimilation into the world.

Kai Ji’s written portion of his thesis is a short adaptation of Shelley’s original novel. The intention is to use the original characters of the novel to explore the identity of border-crossing transnationals and their relationship with nation states. Different from the original story, in the adaptation, the Creature’s body is submissive to Victor Frankenstein’s ambition, which demonstrates the interdependence between the maker and his creation.

Based on this adaptation, two short experimental films are done on 16mm clear leader, with pigment on the film surface developed from the coating of M&Ms. The material choice of M&Ms speaks to Ji’s professional background as a former marketer of the brand.


View exhibition online: Kai Ji, Transnationals; or, The Modern Frankenstein

Included in

Sculpture Commons



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