BFA Degree Project
This project was completed in May of 2009 to fulfill BFA requirements at UMass Dartmouth.
For my degree project, I chose to explore the functionality of religion as a supplement to human life. For many, religion provides a purpose for existence and answers to the unknown - essentially 'filling in the blanks' that could not be filled any other way. The primary function of most religions can be revealed in providing answers to the following four essential questions:
Software: Adobe Indesign, Illustrator
Printing by Metcalf Copy Center, Providence, RI
Out of the four questions, "What is My Purpose?" yielded the most personal and diverse individual responses. As there are many who find their purpose with faith, some also seem to have found it without. However it is discovered, and no matter what it is, a purpose for living can—consciously or subconsciously—become an essential factor in how we make decisions on a daily basis. It has the potential to become something we carry with us in everything we do, and to promote consistency in our lives.
What Is My Purpose?
A primary function of many religions is to provide people with a guide to ethics. Having a set list of rules or rituals to follow can offer the human experience consistency and meaning. During our lifetimes, we will all be met with questions to which the answers are not found through experience. Religions often provide answers to those questions which may be difficult or impossible to answer otherwise. Following a moral guide often aids the believer in reaching a higher goal—whether it be salvation, nirvana, or unity among mankind.
How Should I Live My Life?
The provision of a post-mortem theory is another common functionality of many belief systems. Knowing what happens to us after death can help alleviate the anxiety and fear that is often associated with the ends of our lives. Many religious and non-religious individuals will also offer their own take on what might occur after death. The different answers to this question—whether they are provided by a religion or by an individual— paint a diverse landscape, full of texture and emotion.
What Happens After I Die?
The diversity among creation myths in the United Sates alone is remarkable. Stories of Earth’s creation stem from a wide range of sources, including native traditions, monotheistic religions, polytheistic religions, and non-religious individuals. Some believe Earth was created once, some believe existence is constantly recreated at very moment, and yet others believe it was never created at all. We must take the time to consider each story, discover relationships or distances between them, and to find our own voice by making ourselves aware of the views of others.
The Earth table seemed like a natural solution for presenting the final, and most important piece of the project. After all, the beliefs, ideas and stories collected within these books did originate here on Earth. The earth image in the center is made from cut paper. The three concentric wooden rings around the earth are set on separate tracks and ball bearings, and they can rotate around the Earth in the center.
Printing on wood done by Tarvis Graphics in Pawtucket, RI.
Woodwork done by my very talented and handy father, Mark.