Author

Rachel Precht

Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

First Advisor

Nathan Heuer

Second Advisor

B.A. Harrington

Third Advisor

Chris McGinnis

Abstract

I am using the domestic architecture of houses in rural Appalachian Maryland as a vehicle to address the way in which we perceive the failure of the “American Dream” narrative and late capitalism. This is the pervasive condition of our age, both economic and cultural - an unsustainable model that includes planned obsolescence. Through line drawings, connections are traced between struggling towns in a state of flux and an unsustainable post-industrial society.

I have consciously chosen houses that are worn and show obvious signs of human manipulation. Rather than exploiting the dilapidation of the houses, I have chosen to celebrate the human ingenuity of the people who have lived in them. Making things work with the materials on hand through creative, clever means is a hallmark of rugged individualism and displays the indomitable spirit that is characteristic of this region. In an area often ignored or misunderstood and painted in derisive stereotype, creative problem solving and functionality overrides aesthetics as the occupants work to live within their means. It is an exploration of function over aesthetics and a closer look at the indomitable spirit of ingenuity and adaptation in an area touched by the failures of late capitalism.

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