Type of Culminating Activity
Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts
Craig Peariso, Ph.D.
The thesis is primarily concerned with how the search for knowledge is driven by a quest for certainty, resulting in a compulsion to fix knowledge in explicit rules and procedures. Rather than producing a satisfactory sense of stability, this produces comedy and tragedy as human endeavors play out against a backdrop of arbitrary structure.
Three videos explore this problem through the lens of professional sport, where the quest for certainty is evaluated against the application of rules, against rules governing the action of the body, and against the attempt to circumvent the rules. Theoretical background is provided by examining the work of John Dewey, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and sociologist Michael Polanyi. Art historical context is provided by examining the video works of John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman and Paul Pfeiffer, and the wall drawings of Sol LeWitt.
McMahon, John, "Ordinary Effort" (2013). Boise State University Theses and Dissertations. 787.