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Dissertation Defence: Flowing to Unsettle: A Multimedia Exploration of Inhabiting Time in Computational Performative Art

August 3, 2023

Yujie Gao, supervised by Dr. Megan Smith and Dr. Rebecca Caines, will defend their dissertation titled “Flowing to Unsettle: A Multimedia Exploration of Inhabiting Time in Computational Performative Art” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies – Digital Arts and Humanities Theme.

An abstract for Yujie Gao’s dissertation is included below.

Examinations are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public. Registration is not required for in person defences.


The ubiquity of technology in the contemporary era has opened up unprecedented opportunities to manipulate, record, and experience time in ways and scales that were once unimaginable. This research delves into the exploration of diverse perceptions of time through artistic experiences that leverage technology in creative ways. Specifically, the study investigates the concept of inhabiting a multiplicity of times, allowing for the coexistence of various perceptions of time. Through the lens of time, this research builds live artistic projects that cross over multidisciplinary approaches and focus on creating accessible art environments for participation and connection to happen. The goal is to deepen our connection with time and enhance our capacity to navigate its complexities in both artistic and real-world contexts, fostering meaningful shared experiences that bridge and celebrate uniqueness and differences among individuals. This study employs a methodology of research-creation to examine the utilization of time in creative technologies, and the human body in constructing an open-ended durational, generative and immersive art environment. This research investigates how to organically integrate digital media art techniques into durational performance art, creating new generative experiential environments referred to as Computational Performative Art. Immersive and generative elements in computational environments have the potential to awaken our sensations, leading to a unique experience of time. The objective is to amplify the experiential impacts of what is taking place and unsettle the time we take for granted in daily life and enable individuals to perceive different temporalities and comprehend the disparities between internal clocks, social norms, cultural variations, and relationships between humans and machines. Moreover, new media techniques can be incorporated into durational performances to extend the embodied experiences. The research encompasses a variety of creative forms such as durational performance, immersive installation, data visualization, creative coding, and generative drawing to explore novel methods for presenting and conducting research on experiential time. Through practicing being in time with a greater awareness of different intentions, or in other words, practicing doing time, individuals can gain new insights into different experiences through time such as flow and wander. This research findings will be delivered through a series of three bodies of artistic work and associated creative documentation, contextualized within the longer process of artmaking, culminating in the dissertation exhibit at UBC Okanagan Campus in August 2023.


August 3, 2023


Innovation Precinct Annexation 1
3505 Spectrum Court
Kelowna, BC V1V 2Z1 Canada
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Additional Info

Room Number
IA 138
Registration/RSVP Required
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Research and Innovation
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates