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Alex Nathanson

The senior thesis is emblematic of the kind of intellectual freedom Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s Upper College students are given. It is a year-long, self-designed scholarly project that is the capstone of a student’s work. It’s required of everyone. The thesis is not just an academic requirement for a Simon’s Rock Bachelor of Arts degree, it is work that adds to the world’s storehouse of knowledge.

Below are highlights from just some of this year’s 51 theses. Student Mary Weatherbee spoke with eleven students about their work. Check the Newsroom each week this summer for a new highlight report.

Alex Nathanson

Alex Nathanson image

The principle of adventure allows me to make Photography exist.1

There is another, more subtle reason, which accounts for the number of self acted films, particularly at the beginning of the avant-garde film movement in America: film becomes a process of self-realization. Many filmmakers seem to have been unable to project the highly personal psychological drama that these films reveal into other characters’ minds. They were realizing the themes of their films through making and acting them. These were true psycho-dramas.2

Alex’s thesis is an exploration of movement: narrative movement, physical movement, and movements in culture. As stated in his introduction, “A number of disparate ideas collide around movement at points, align at others, and generally try to situate themselves within the context of my own work and the broader categories of art and politics.”

Alex’s thesis is his artwork. Starting his artistic career in straight photography, Alex now incorporates a combination of still photography and video. The featured video is a stop-motion piece from his thesis entitled “The Great Northern.” One minute of Alex’s stop-motion animation is composed of as many as 600 still images.

Narrative Movement in Fixed Images and Mixed Media highlights a number of important artistic themes relating to space, time, and culture. A study of movement, of journeying, Alex’s work aims to “explore how people navigate cultural artifacts such as architecture, media, or sounds, and the social or political environment of which they are part.”

1Barthes, 19.
2Sitney, 14.