Reflexive art makes explicit the inherent connection between artistic process, intertextual context, and an audience to create an intentional dialogue with its audience by tapping into the duality inherent in spectatorship - awareness of both the creation process and the final product, and participation in one or both through viewership. In this study I analyze several pieces across three mediums––film (Funny Games (2007), The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)), theatre (Ubu Roi (1896)), and video games (The Stanley Parable (2013), Bioshock (2007))––and consider audience reviews to determine how audiences are affected by reflexivity in each. Through the lens of the horror genre I consider reflexivity––and the liminal, intertextual, and interactive methods employed to achieve it––as a form of cultural reflection in which an art work calls upon its audience to reflect on how it has been created and on their place in that process as viewers. Explicitly and inescapably reflexive works of the horror/adjacent genre, such as those discussed herein, allow spectators to renew their awareness of the implications of art as both a cultural community and as individuals. While impeding some aspects of entertainment or enjoyment for audiences in the moment, as suggested by audience reviews, reflexivity seems to make these popular media works all the more culturally enduring.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Graduate Studies
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Barrack, Alyssa, "Hitting a Little Too Close to Home: Reflexivity, Liminality, and Identification in Horror across Film, Theatre, and Games" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1176.