Date of Graduation

Spring 2021


Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies


Art and Design

Committee Chair

Deidre Argyle


“Saga Beyond the Gate: Chapter One, the Coming of the Gate Ghost” explores performance sculpture used as religious ritual. My work emphasizes ritual, creation myths, relics, physical manifestations of lived religion, and the power of narrative belief. One often turns to religion, science, or spirituality, to seek answers to questions about being a conscious entity, and one’s journey to the end. This saga uses scripts from all three of these schools of thought, placing the world of the Gate Ghost into tangible reality, as a play on a stage. Artefacts represent objects of power and mystery. Characters embody morality tales, set against the world around them. Publicly-constructed dramatic scenes present setting as a conversation between the familiar and the realm of high strangeness. The catalyst of my work is a fear of any form of life beyond death. I explore modes of the afterlife by physically manifesting infinite creative worlds and providing parallel escapes from this timeline. My ritual performances imbue this lived reality with meaning, drawing from the traditions of Corpus Christi plays, the culture of Eucharistic Hosts, and other communal manifestations of belief. By presenting props and costumes within the context of written narratives, I analyze the relationship between sacred objects, the human body, and existential tension. Using science fiction as a religion, I reorient beliefs about materials, souls, and time-based reality by unveiling a constructed world before the viewer.


ritual, narrative, performance, sculpture, science

Subject Categories

Biblical Studies | Classical Archaeology and Art History | Fine Arts | History of Religion | Other Religion | Performance Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Sculpture | Visual Studies


© Tristan B. Miller

Open Access