RISD M.A. Thesis

Living in Untranslatability Performance Art in China and USA

This thesis embodies discontinuities in performance art and its non-equivalent Chinese term “行为艺术” between language and cultural context into a migrating journey.  A comparative analysis on the disciplinary history of performance art studies in the US and China laid a foundation in exploring the dynamics of marginality in two contexts. Extracting from the narrative mechanism and body view of Chinese performance art, I demonstrate how the philosophy of living (生) inspired many artistic creation, which also echoes my research journey. And from our mutual living experience, I pose the concept of constructive untranslatability that applies positionality and situated knowledge to bridge global dialogues.

Thesis Advisor

 Avishek Ganguly 

Thesis Reader

 Naimah Petigny

Guest Critic

 Zhang Yi


Global Arts & Cultures • Division of Liberal Arts


Rhode Island School of Design, 2023


© Yma Ma

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