What is a real life? A well-lived life? And how do we define either? Baby Bird & the Electronic Abyss is a collection of personal essays that questions and explores escapism and existentialism as experienced at music festivals and campsites around the United States. Within this collection, festivals are illustrated as more than just spectacular stages and bright lights—they're depicted as fascinating, budding utopias that encourage creativity, generosity, and positivity from attendees who abandon inhibitions, and oftentimes logic, in the name of fleeting freedom from the routine of their "real" lives. The narrator strives to live a fulfilled life—what many might call a well-lived life, if not a privileged life—but she struggles to identify her life as meaningful as she works to disentangle the falsities of her "real" life as typically defined by society, a corporate, desk life in between festivals, and her electric life, an actualized but less publicly-accepted life at festivals. She repeatedly contemplates her relationship with art, and whether or not art offers a sort of immortality to those who pursue it. As a festival-goer, she finds that the art of music takes her away from her own art, writing, but her writing is about the festivals, so a love/hate relationship grows with the festivals over time. Many of these essays, such as "In a Tent, a Home," "Rebecca," "We Left Town," and "I Don't Wanna Wear No Shoes," ruminate on how dislocation and travel can be fulfilling occasions for further ontological inquiry. Other essays, including "They Call Me Baby Bird," "Monterey, Babe," and "When the Fire Dancers Come Alive at Night," focus on music and entertainment, and a kind of resulting debauchery that compels the narrator to reflect on her moral incontinence, inability to identify reality, and jaded self-appraisal.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)
Senior, Alexis, "Baby Bird & the Electronic Abyss" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5338.