Date of Award

5-1-2014

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Lewison, Sarah

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS OF JAIME MOSS for the Master of Fine Arts degree in MASS COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA ARTS, presented on FEBRUARY 13TH, 2014 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: ARCHIVING LOSS: THE PAPER MAN BEHIND THE MASK MAJOR PROFESSOR: Sarah Lewison, H.D. Motyl, Fern Logan, Dru Vratil This paper is companion to the narrative short, The Man Who Burned Paper. Both this paper and the film deal with the subject of identity loss as an archive, building on the work of sociologists Andrew J. Weigert and Ross Hastings. Drawing on several sources, including the work of literary scholars, affect theorists, and an excerpt from This American Life, this paper explores what it is to create and lose an identity both experimentally and existentially. It develops beyond this exploration by reconstructing it through a cinematic format that uses memories, flashbacks, and body doubles to narrate one man's identity construction and his journey to come to terms with its loss. It concludes that while identity loss is a unique experience, reflecting upon the loss and dysfunction it can bring can create space to understand the sorrow and pain that accompanies it. It is with hope that the findings discovered from this deeply personal and challenging process will act as a guide towards future actions that allow for new opportunities that improve the quality of life and a broader mindset.

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