On Borrowing

Master's Thesis


Clay is an access point to conversations of recombinance, which just means we live and die, borrowing the cells and energy inside us and sharing responsibilities of caring for each other, human and nonhuman.

Each time the earth cycles, it is infused with the energy of the living, transferred through touch. This microbial merging influences material agency so that each time we, matter, are consumed, the collection of our bodies, and consciousness shifts. The process of failing, learning, and relearning is an intimate one which we each contribute to, knowingly and not.

In this thesis I will describe various impacts of touch as they influence a culturally and intimately tenuous world. We live and die with responsibilities to those we borrow from and art-making acts as an access point to learning about how we move the earth around us.

In my role as an art-science-activist, I aim to facilitate access to the arts and actionable change through learning spaces built around shared ideas. I gladly surrender some of my artistic agency through interactive works where responsibility moves into the hands of participants. Giving people tools to shift the world around us is a recognition of how our future lives with collaborative action. My “Pollinator pods” become art for non-humans and my practice leaves the gallery. When artists talk about the anthropocene, it is critical to consider the post-gallery life of work.

Similarly, my background in teaching pottery acts as a familiar access point to the world of design and mindful movement. I will unpack how the intimacy of pottery teaches lessons of community, resilience and tending to.


Attribute NameValues
Author Jennifer S. Kaplan
Contributor Maria Tomasula, Committee Member
Contributor Emily Beck, Committee Member
Contributor William J. Kremer, Research Director
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History, and Design
Degree Name Master of Fine Arts
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2021-04-19

Submission Date 2021-04-20
Record Visibility Public
Content License
Departments and Units
Catalog Record


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