Date of Award

5-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Intermedia

Advisor

Owen F. Smith

Second Committee Member

Joline Blais

Third Committee Member

Hume Anderson Giles

Abstract

The potato is central to the history and culture of Northern Maine yet the family farm is being erased by agribusiness and people feel unsure and powerless about a new identity.

The purpose of this research was to examine how art could help restore the region’s identity by strengthening the link between farming and the community, using the potato as poetic. Four collaborative community performances were designed to expand individual and group perceptions about the power of art to create social change. This social experiment brought together artists, farmers, and community members in metaphorical, satirical, and ritualistic performances governed by both strict and flexible rule sets.

The resulting documentation included a seventeen minute film, a live- stream video, and digital photographs. This research project culminates in the creation of a new business - and ongoing application of the principles put forth in the research.

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