Date of Degree
MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
The Heart of the Park works to expose, preserve, and interpret the many layers of social history, fact, and fiction within Iowa City's City Park. This exhibition is a result of archival research, interviews, and on-site investigation. As a guide, I followed the path of Enoch Emery, a park-haunting voyeur featured in Flannery O'Connor's first novel, Wise Blood, which she wrote after graduating from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Details of O'Connor's fictional version of City Park, in Chapter 5 of Wise Blood, as well as Enoch's relationship with the park, led to further discoveries regarding the park's history, and ultimately, a reinterpretation of these seemingly disparate layers of fact and fiction. While the contemporary archive claims depoliticized and anonymous reasons and methods for preservation, my hybrid practice creates a role for the subjective, idiosyncratic archivist, who suffuses factual research with myth-making. The Heart of the Park is one glimpse into an ongoing collection of interpreted sites, in which I attempt to prevent the loss of local histories, and enact the inevitable chain of reinterpretations of site.
Copyright 2012 Susanna Garts Crum
Crum, Susanna Garts. "The heart of the park." thesis, University of Iowa, 2012.