Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Claire Farago

Second Advisor

James Cordova

Third Advisor

Robert Nauman


This thesis aims to analyze the use of new media by contemporary Arctic artists as a means of redefining their region against the popularly accepted separation of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska as individual nation-­‐states, and toward the community of the Arctic region, using themes of language, land, cosmology, folklore, embedded aesthetics, values, symbols, and stories. It is my belief that these artists are creating important works that constitute contemporary self-­‐production of a post-­‐national Arctic cultural future. My discussion focuses on three artists, Ólöf Nordal, Catarina Ryöppy, and Tanya Tagaq, who demonstrate the use of nativism and spotlight everyday repetitive life experiences (de Certeau) to define their individual and collective identities as part of a postnational Arctic community. Each of these artists utilizes video art as a unique medium that offers subaltern communities a counter-­‐discursive voice and an ability to control their identity representation from an “interstitial space” (Bhabha).

Nordal, Ryöppy, and Tagaq utilize the concepts of community, postnationality, and the appropriation of film works to express their individual and collective identity as part of the Arctic in accordance with their own models of interpretation. Nordal self-­‐represents with the utilization of folklore, Ryöppy relies on manipulations of time and space to highlight her identity in relation to nation-­‐state boundaries, and Tagaq fully immerses herself in the techniques and arenas of mass media to spread a new narrative of Arctic community that defies previous colonial representation.