Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2015

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Owen Smith

Second Committee Member

Justin Wolff

Third Committee Member

Laurie Hicks


My thesis exhibition, Hyperlocal, was presented during the 2012 Without Borders IX Festival. Hyperlocal was an interactive, multimedia installation that consisted of two identical cubicles, constructed out of PVC piping and fabric. The cubicles were completely enclosed with black curtains and each contained an identical small table and a single chair that faced a white screen. Using webcams, projectors, and a computer, the tables were connected electronically, creating the illusion of a single, shared, virtual table. Within the cubicles, the preserved remnants of a meal were displayed on the tables, as a combination of live camera feeds and recorded footage were intermittently projected on the screens. New recordings occurred throughout the exhibition. Every person who entered the cubicles was recorded. Those recordings were then added to a pool of footage and integrated into the projections.

The primary goal of this document is to establish the contextual framework for my creative research and practice and to then situate my thesis exhibition, Hyperlocal, into that framework. The research presented here is broken down into the following categories: my observations and creative approaches, my contextual review, my volunteer work, my site visits to community food projects that focus on local foods and community engagement, and my field experiences. The following questions formed the basis for my contextual review: What constitutes a successful community food project? What are the key ethical considerations concerning community food projects and do they relate to my project? How did the opening up of art definitions in the 20th century lead to a changing aesthetics that included using cooking and food as art? What art movements embrace cooking and food? Are there chefs who utilize art in their cuisine and to facilitate community engagement? Are there artists who cook and use food as their medium? Are there artists that enhance creative engagement through interactive technologies? How is food/cooking/eating part of the performance art aesthetic medium? How do basic design notions apply to the art of cooking? What are some criteria for judging the aesthetic qualities of an artwork that uses food/cooking/eating?

After presenting my research, I provide a detailed account of my thesis project as it moves from concept to its ultimate manifestation in the form of an interactive, multimedia installation that explores the space between technology, cooking, and engagement. My analysis examines the conceptual and theoretical framework for my project, the final outcomes of the thesis exhibition, and lessons learned. My critique of my thesis project examines both its successes and areas in which it could have been improved. In my conclusion, I summarize my arguments and reflect on my overall experience in the Intermedia M.F.A. program. Lastly, I close by speaking about my goals for the future, new project ideas, and where my research will go from here.


Intermedia (Studio) Major