Date of Award
Level of Access Assigned by Author
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
For the last 19 years, since the unexpected premature death of my mother, the major focus of my work has revolved around exploring issues of mortality, vitality and communing with the natural world. I have concentrated my research on extending one’s lifespan/healthspan and finding artists who have used their bodies as a means to transform, heal or transcend. In my search for the fountain of youth, I gained an understanding to how we can control healthspan through epigenetic expression, and gene-editing therapies. I pondered what the future might look like from the standpoint of a designer/marketer for a future wellness industry. I questioned what access one might have to future remedies, and how they might be shared among the classes. After three years of exploration and experimenting with anti-aging as an artistic form of expression, this culmination led me to create my final thesis exhibit in the form of an installation that can be interpreted as a sanctuary, confessional space, waiting room, or reception area to ponder, reassess, and reframe our own relationship with our mortality, understanding we might, one day, live to be 1000 years old. With this installation came the creation of a new faith, titled “The Epigean Way”. This new faith would not rely on false gods, but instead hold the body up as THE sacred temple, and revere science as the new messiah for finding salvation and the fountain of youth.
Valdes, Virginia, "The Body as Transformative Art" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3194.
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