Date of Award

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Alex Sweetman

Second Advisor

Kim Dickey

Third Advisor

Francoise Duresse

Fourth Advisor

J. P. Park

Abstract

As access to the Internet has increased globally the size of our world has dramatically decreased. At this time in history, global access to information is unparalleled. Experiences of other cultures and traditions are easily attained through extensive Wikipedia entries. As a result of this globalization, certain aspects of our own worldview break down to allow others in. Younger generations in particular have grown up with this instant access to information so they are free to explore any interest over the Internet. Prior to the Internet, emphasis was placed on stability and adherence to a particular group or cultural identity as traditional media limited access to others. However in our current world, emphasis and importance is now placed on the ability to mold, shift and alter identities (Hall and du Gay 2008, 18-19).

In My Floating World, a two-component artwork, I created personas for myself that are reflective of my interest and affinity for Japanese culture. I created a large triptych containing 23 childish and kawaii versions of myself as varying iconic aspects of Japanese culture. The created characters reflect my desire to be Japanese by my experience and knowledge of the culture i wish to join is limited. My identity shifts to each character, as I attempt to but am unable to fully grasp what it means to be "Japanese." In many ways, I am like a child assuming the roles, identities, and more literally costumes of Japanese cultural icons. The work is my attempt to locate myself in a culture that I do not fully understand and perhaps cannot ever fully understand, yet I feel a special connection to that is no doubt caused by increased exposure to Japanese culture over the Internet and through popular culture.

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