SKIN or SKINLESS: Skin as an Adolescent Communication Medium

  • Author / Creator
    Orzelski, Izabella A
  • The symbiotic union of art creation and art-based research found a practical application in research devoted to skin modification as a new frontier of communication among contemporary adolescents. Viewed through the lens of pedagogy, art, and adulthood, the study examined youths’ motivations and desires in embracing various forms of skin alteration. In a quest to find genuine answers to such an intriguing and relevant subject, I have implemented another contemporary method of communication: a website blog as a means of communication and data collection from participants. Additionally, I created an interactive art installation that was simultaneously a culmination of my research and, while exhibited, another source of data. The analysis and the collected data brought me to the conclusion that the adolescents’ desire to embrace body modification has many consumerist overtones (either pro or contra) that reflect contemporary Western societies. The influence of consumerism, with the sophisticated use of modern technology and the heavy reliance on technology-friendly media, shapes adolescents’ desires. My research contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms behind such desires and opens new gates to enhanced communication between adults and youth. The results of my research also explain adolescents’ reasons and desires concerning skin alteration: to fit in and to be unique, to rebel and to be fashionable, as a means of artistic expression and as a rite of passage. My research can be used as a platform to implement exciting projects easily incorporated into school curricula, including the subject of art, but also to indirectly introduce new projects based on the skin modification theme to various curricula subjects in secondary schools. This will contribute to enhancing students’ interests in learning material; thus, they are more likely to finish school and obtain a high school diploma.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Gajewski, Cezary (Art & Design)
    • Osadnik, Waclaw (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
    • Jagodzinski, Jan (Secondary Education)
    • Wallin, Jason (Secondary Education)
    • Tavin, Kevin (Department of Art)
    • Bilash, Olenka (Secondary Education)