Genevieve Costa BFA Thesis Spring 2013

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the neurological basis for how we are able to connect, embody or feel empathy for other people living or in representation. I am interested in the creation of an empathetic experience between the viewer and a piece of art. To explain this empathy or embodiment I examine the functions of mirror neurons, and the role they play in the creation of empathy, or embodiment. While using the human hand as the focus and imagery for my work, I try to connect the neurological, psychological, and physical importance of the hand to its use as communicative gestural tool. I use hands for the significant psychological and physical relationship we have with them. With hand’s expressive capabilities, in my work they became a stand in for the whole figure, being able to emote and almost speak from a simple gesture. Creating a series of four sculptures of elongated arms and hand, I explore how gesture and the absence of a whole figure can create presence and a feeling of embodiment.

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Spring 2013