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UC San Diego First Art Practice Ph.D. Candidate to Graduate in June


  • Sheena Ghanbari

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  • Sheena Ghanbari

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"Finding Things I Don't Want To Find." Photo courtesy of the artist, Katrin Pesch

Seven years ago Katrin Pesch embarked on an academic journey in artistic research and production at the University of California San Diego. An inaugural member of the Ph.D. Art Practice concentration within the Art History, Theory and Criticism doctoral program in the Department of Visual Arts, Pesch will be the first graduate of the program this spring. She will screen her thesis film, “Finding Things I Don’t Want To Find?,” Tuesday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. and June 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Visual Arts Presentation Lab, SME 149. A reading from the written component of her dissertation entitled, “(Im)material Encounters: Ghosts and Objects at the Bancroft Ranch House Museum,” will accompany the screening.

UC San Diego’s Art Practice concentration is a unique program offering working artists one of the only opportunities in the country to conduct doctoral research alongside their artistic practice. In selecting the university, Pesch looked for a place with interdisciplinary perspectives where she could pursue her art and writing.

“My work draws from diverse fields such as material culture studies, environmental humanities, film studies and postcolonial studies, and it finds its expression in writing and film,” Pesch explained.

Her project evolved when she discovered the Bancroft Ranch House Museum in San Diego’s East County. Then she decided to create an experimental ethnography in the form of an essay film.

“I became very intrigued by the objects there, not only artifacts and museum objects, but also rummage and junk, along with peculiar collectors’ items,” Pesch said. “ ‘Finding Things I Don’t Want To Find,’ takes its cue from the museum’s unorthodox archive where the historical and the personal gather in relics as much as in refuse. By following the daily routines of the site’s caretaker, the film unravels how eccentric practices and unruly objects destabilize the museum's official narrative.”

After graduation, Pesch plans to look for a position in academia and work on turning her dissertation into a book. Additionally, she has initiated future projects that cross disciplines and boundaries.

“My next project looks at films by the French director Claire Denis in the context of contemporary ecological issues and debates,” she added.

For more information about “Finding Things I Don’t Want To Find, ” please visit the website.

The Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego is ranked 13th in the nation for fine arts, according to U.S. News & World Report, with high-ranking specialties in multimedia and sculpture.

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