Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Phil Solomon

Second Advisor

Mark Winokur

Third Advisor

James Palmer


Experimental filmmaker Ken Jacobs is a man with a foot firmly in two historically divergent avant-gardes: the early European and the post-war American. Accomplished primarily through a reconceptualization of earlier notions of shock, Jacobs' inheritance of the Dadaists' and Surrealists' tactics as well as the development of his own semiotics of rupture have allowed him to explore both film form and film content through a series of Frankenstein-like creations or filmformances. By exploring three of his major film works from three different periods of his life, Blonde Cobra, Two Wrenching Departures and Star Spangled to Death, the evolution of his own methodology of rupture is examined: shock as performance, shock as perceptual therapy and finally, shock as politics.