Vulnerability inVisibility

Master's Thesis


Humans have a primal desire to connect and share intimacy, while also having the conflicting desire to remain disconnected, anonymous, and un-touched. This connection can induce a feeling of vulnerability, which can be lessened by remaining “unseen.” As Western culture grows more and more touch-averse, we seem to rely on visual representation to navigate a majority of our interactions. This reliance is found in contemporary ethnographic modes of representation in art and photography; presenting subjects to the viewer to be critically analyzed, using, to the artist’s advantage, a “to see is to know” mindset.

The retreat from a more physical engagement with others and the world around us provokes me to explore and test personal boundaries of interaction, to question the integrity of sight, and to alter the viewer’s relationship and role in art from visual observer to visual participant.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04152014-103807

Author Mary Fashbaugh
Advisor Richard Gray
Contributor Richard Gray, Committee Chair
Contributor Jean Dibble, Committee Member
Contributor Maria Tomasula, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History and Design
Degree Name MFA
Defense Date
  • 2014-04-14

Submission Date 2014-04-15
  • United States of America

  • Sophie Calle

  • Touch

  • Visual Communication

  • Photography

  • Blindness

  • Anonymity

  • Gillian Wearing

  • Video

  • Visual Culture

  • Intimacy

  • Vulnerability

  • Installation

  • Richard Renaldi

  • Contemporary Art

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Embargo Release Date
  • 2015-06-03

Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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