Hilary Yarger

Date of Award


First Advisor

John Myers

Second Advisor

Brian Mikesell

Third Advisor

Christopher Coggins


In Japanese culture, emptiness holds as much value as filled space. The Japanese aesthetic concepts of ma, the word for empty space, mu, the term for nothingness, and enso, the circle, inform traditional Japanese art forms and culture. Among these traditional Japanese arts includes ikebana (flower arrangement), ongaku (music), shodo (calligraphy), and karesansui (zen gardens). Through a linguistic analysis of the words ma, mu, and enso, Japanese aesthetics can be connected to traditional art forms, ultimately informing their visual styles and supporting their significance in Japanese society. These aesthetic ideals further influence a digital arts compilation in video format, incorporating the concepts of emptiness within contemporary interpretations of traditional Japanese arts. The video combines a variety of digital media influenced by emptiness.


Ask at the Alumni Library circulation desk for the companion piece that accompanies this thesis.

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