Transcript – Anna Martin – Without Borders 2020 Thesis & COVID-19 Response

Hi, my name is Anna. I’m a thesis student in the Intermedia Master of Fine Arts program and I’d like to talk to you about the work I’ve made over the past three years.  

I entered the Intermedia MFA with a background in illustration with my practice centered around making art objects and a love of storytelling. My time in this program has changed me as a thinker and a problem solver. These three years have provided not only the ground to engage in new methods of making but the necessary time to develop a practice that incorporated many of those skills to help facilitate conversations that turn into larger works. This new way of engaging with my practice is something that I am excited to continue moving forward with.

The research that supports my thesis work involves collaboration and a practice that uses performance as a way to invite the audience to participate in the creating the art. I am interested in how this work builds and how it illustrates the ways we make connections and build a sense of community.  

Collaboration, Shared Experience & Time coalesce to generate new experiences that lay the foundation for practices rooted in conversation and exchange. These exchanges take place over time and grow, providing opportunities to listen and be heard in dedicated spaces. 

This work has impacted me as a listener, a friend, a collaborator, a thinker… I hope this is a shared take away that can grow new roots in different situations.

The impact that COVID -19 has had on the world is changing innumerable elements of life for everyone, everywhere. Within my own practice I have made a radical shift from prioritizing mastery of technical skill resulting in “ art objects” to a practice rooted in conversation, exchange and collaboration. This shift has taken place incrementally, and then in March it took on a new energy entirely. 

This type of work is rooted in variables that are intrinsically surprising. This work resides between fields and is reliant upon the investment of its participants. As the world came to an abrupt stop just one month before this thesis work was schedule to be finished, I was humbled in ways that defy articulation. In practicing distancing and working with what I have, “the object” has nearly disappeared, allowing the practice of conversation to truly be the work. 

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