Amanda King

Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

MFA - Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Christopher James


Using the framework of scientific investigation, ‘Familial Dialects’ explores the languages – systems of signs and codification of those signs - of individual members of my family, and the metaphors that arise from their interaction with pieces of the natural world. Each of the pieces combine an inherent form and an organizing action as a means of representing an individual’s form of expression. These familial dialects are created and translated using the methodologies of a naturalist - collection, dissection, observation, and classification. The pieces draw meaning from the connotative associations built from familial connections as well as from broader cultural constructions regarding the natural world.

In their book Objectivity (2010), a study of historical shifts in the epistemology of science, Daston and Galison suggest that there is no objectivity in scientific inquiry without the twin spectre of subjectivity. “Objectivity and subjectivity define each other, like left and right or up and down. One cannot be understood, even conceived, without the other. If objectivity was summoned into existence to negate subjectivity, then the emergence of objectivity must tally with the emergence of a certain kind of willful self, one perceived as endangering scientific knowledge.”i In my work, I attempt to reunite the scientific to the subjective self, using one to examine and reflect upon the other.



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