Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

Document Type



In this project I study Joseph Cornell’s practices of art-making through a performative lens. Rather than focusing on his finished products, I am interested in his embodied processes of assemblage. I call on Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the chronotope to articulate how time and space operate within Cornell’s finished works and his processes of assemblage art. In so doing, I conceptualize Cornell’s textual chronotope, métaphysique d’éphemera or “everyday magic,” as well as his chronotopes of assemblage: wandering, archiving, collaging, and assembling. I move from the finished work to the contingencies and strategies of the performance of assemblage. This project is unique because I extend my research into the creative realm, developing multi-media artworks through my embodiment of Cornell’s chronotopes of assemblage. My performance of Cornell’s chronotopes engenders projects that provide discoveries and expand my understanding of each chronotope, Cornell’s practices, and my own creative and scholarly work. The projects include: wandering New Orleans collecting memories that I then use to create an interactive website, creating a video of one of Cornell’s film scripts that was never realized by combining digital and analog technologies, creating a collage film composed of found footage, and directing a theatrical performance, Métaphysique d’Éphemera, that was restaged three years later. I conclude by arguing that Cornell’s textual chronotope, métaphysique d’éphemera, offers an aesthetic to work within, while his chronotopes of assemblage provide a model for both creative and scholarly work. I conclude by questioning whether the textual and process chronotopes are inextricably connected or if they can be practiced independently by artists/scholars.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Suchy, Patricia A.



Included in

Communication Commons