A pretence (and some rules)

I wrote about a year ago a set of instructions to my Research dissertation, about the pretence of linearity. I sensed the 12-weeks of lockdown ahead, hoping for only 4 (until Easter was the Germans’ unusually optimistic timeline).

I reread this now, while seeking the space of two register shifts that I didn’t see coming, and realise that I anticipate them quite alright in my instructions:

Nonetheless, I would like to introduce a few rules for this dissertation:

1. it manages excess. Part of the enquiries into drawing/contact are abundant and inherently generative. They are small and inconsequential when taken on their own (at least sometimes) yet in toto accumulate to a distributed field that far exceeds 5000 words. There are appendixes, follow-up on questions and there are satellite objects. 

2. it presents in conventional linearity something that is far less linear in practice. Yet, for a textual document the practice of ‘reading on’ still presents a key approach to temporality, not unlike other time-based work. I can add loops, side notes and references for- and backwards, and still: you will scroll down or turn over. My theoretical contributions are for this presented as findings; my case studies are story-lets that open outwards (to other media, to existing or imaginary appendices).

3. it budges up against its edges, seeks to subvert and step into the sidelines (knowing fine well the sidelines are as much part of the construct as the core itself). In this, it is dissatisfied with the institutional requirements. It tries to laugh at them but also takes them rather serious in its attempt to find gaps and little fissures to disappear into, to retrieve something from elsewhere or test where the citation convention can be made to serve other purposes.

(11 March 2021, Facebook timeline, Friends, no Acquaintances, also Appendix A: The fantasy of linearity in a distributed field)

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