Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Needham, Jay

Abstract

This paper explores the `creative' process of postmemory in relation to family photographs, story telling, the absence of memory, and the subsequent construction of new and elastic family histories in my MFA thesis artwork. I define postmemory and how it relates to the limited number of existing photographs that document my family's experience as displaced persons and immigrants. I also discuss how literalist art has influenced the works in my thesis exhibition and outline the reasons for the absence of actual photographs in my work. Then, drawing from Freud's ideas of the condensation of dreams and the formation of screen memories, I discuss the relationship between historical family photographs, the memories elicited by them, and the act of forgetting to reveal the elasticity of truth in postmemory and how my work represents the beginnings of a personal understanding of a fragmented family history riddled with holes and unknowns. I also describe and discuss the two installation works found in my thesis exhibition, which are titled Descendant and Lineage. Finally, I outline the influence of other artists and describe how these ideas are tied together in my artwork.

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