The Research module consists of several elements. This post is a first attempt to orientate these towards resolution and assessment.
a. Research outline from A1
b. The dissertation, consisting of:
main body of text
different voices articulating alongside the main body of text, notably: research practice and notes sitting aside
Appendices to the main body: key points to the research practice and clarifications over key works and positions
c. Research padlets
d. Other padlets transecting across BoW and Research
e. Art works originating within the research process
f. Research folder on blog
It is this latter, the research folder on the blog that I need to organise and orientate. I have the blog so far mainly used to provide a number of things
assignments, reflections and tutorial notes
critical reflections across BoW and Research
practice pieces and enquiries, many of these are part of BoW, some are part of Research; these often have a performative nature, are often not contextualised nor annotated but instead use the blog as performance/presentation platform
some reflections on works and processes that do not directly relate to the intersection between BoW and Research, some of these are for Research
I have not so far used the blog to provide contextual studies or reviews or reflections (like artists, works, exhibitions, etc.), I did this in the past but for these modules much less so, and little that is writing for such purpose for Research.
Research tutorial 4 made clear that the current organisation of excess, appendix or satellite objects does not provide enough space to explore key debates, artists, works nor indeed conceptual considerations for my own practice within the 5k word limit of the dissertation.
Here, the Research folder on the blog will take this role, and it will hold a series of reflective and contextual pieces along with more theoretical and conceptual discussions.
Currently there are four key posts to write:
Theoretical significance of nomadism and transversalism (and possibly some new materialism also) which underpins the dissertation but is not covered in depth. (The dissertation will discuss in turn Marks and Springgay/Truman in more detail)
Key writers and artists: Spahr, Kapil and Krauss are alluded too, so are Calle, Goudal and Matta Clark; these need more discussion (and possibly just a list of relevant context as appendix in the dissertation); there are also: Bethan Huw’s Lake Piece, Gillian Wearing’s Dancing in Peckham and Georgina Starr’s Eddy & Whistle whose works keep returning to my mind. (Jonas and Palmer will in turn feature in more detail in the dissertation).
Different voices in the dissertation
Managing excess in Research
I will then also reorganise the categories and tags to account for this new section.
I have the tutorial for Res 4 soon after submission and today post my notes to Rachel. We pick up fairly effortlessly after that 13 months break between 3 and 4; we cover initially some of the discussions around immersiveness and audience engagement that arose in BoW 4 and then cover the following:
Audience relationship and notions of immersion
Voices in the document
Unpacking and strengthening academic voice
Priorities and what to unpack: the role of the blog
Using the conclusion to go back to aims
The two key items to take are around the various voices within the document and how to organise these successfully.
The other one concerns one of the rules that I declared (initially in the introduction, for word count then as appendix: that the document, the Research project, manages excess). Rachel poses this as question and I include this section:
The Appendix with Rules: Can this come earlier, these rules are significant. As foreword or prelude? I also suggest to have it as opening quote to start with. Rachel asks: so does this essay manage excess (does it succeed?)? I describe how it manages excess through the various satellite objects and a designation of different voices. I then wonder if excess is already being managed by me naming it, by planting that idea in a relational context, in a dialogue and that the other then wonders if there is more, if there is more beyond the parameter of the project. So that it effectively introduces in dialogue a fantasy object that leads the other to seek around and beyond, and to go away with a fantasy (57mins: transcribe in toto).
Will Self: Digital essay on Kafka’s Wound, a hyperlinked essay.
Arno Schmidt’s Bottom’s Dream
[While listening again, I hear that Rachel also asks whether the project is successful, I didn’t hear that in the first conversation. I will come back to this: of what is success in this, what failure? Perhaps questions of control are always both: tight boundaries provide safety but exclude and simplify massively; and vice versa. Does it depend on the actual relational contact in which this is approached and negotiated every single time to give a sense of whether it works?]
A series of key points for what is next arise from the discussion, I will unpack these further in a next post but they will principally concern
clarification of voices across the document
strengthening and tightening of academic voice
use of Research folder on blog to take all excess and allow me to unpack key issues without worry about the word count
These are relatively modest in scope, I hope the first two won’t take more than a week, the second one requires some reorganisation of the blog which I so far have not really used as a Research notebook, the notebook only every functioned explicitly for the practical work; how extensive this work is going to be is after an initial set of 3-5 posts pretty much up to me though.
I submit a word document with embedded audio and ten appendices to my Research tutor.
There are a few notes to accompany this submission:
Case studies, a/v materials and word count. The dissertation word limit is 5000 words. The Research handbook suggests a study with primary research, which I took serious and present the work primarily as Practice as Research (PaR), it features also forms of narration that fall between theory/fiction and creative writing. The word count even for a simple primary research study is severely limited. My desire to trace divergence with different formats runs up against that limitation even more.
My solution to this are several strategies:
A series of appendices was early on discussed, as satellite objects, I take Kate Zambreno’s (2018) Appendix Project as inspiration.
I move some of my theory discussion into a video narration
I present three case studies (verge/weed, Dreaming the staircase and Stromverteilen), they each relate to large work series with BoW, the latter, Stromverteilen, effectively becoming an overall container. Each of these series have an attendant padlet space which operates as object for the Research. I currently present the written narrations for each case in the dissertation but also include an audio file narrating these. I would like to consider these quotes rather than part of the word count.
To a lesser degree this also applies to a few sections from my research folder where I quote my own notes.
The above gives some space to explore the research findings relating to the questions, this still feels cursory (I offer a series of routes through enquiries along with two longer discussions of reach/resonance and near space as key findings). I include a list of resources and materials in which I provide more insight into the research processes and the BoW.
Of course the above restrictions budge up against my existing writing practice across these registers: research articles of around 8000 words or in fact a PhD thesis where a 5000 words dissertation will always feel superficial and limited. And yet, I feel this working draft does work, it provides a frame and focus onto the questions that animate the PaR and it offers a series of original insights. What forms and publics these may seek beyond the assessors is a different question, which in part can also be attended to in SYP.
The early discussions around the glossary as well as satellite objects and excess has found a form and expression that seems fitting to me. It allows for different registers and media to circle in different orbits around the text.
There is a lot more in the reference (both artistic works and academic writing) that is not expressed in fullness, Friedrich Kittler’s work remains salient and solely features in a footnote. Relating Laura Marks sensuous theory to Kittler seems promising and is not articulated in writing (though perhaps in practice).
That this is completed almost 12 months late feels like a considerable achievement. I pressed pause at the start of the pandemic, then a combination of winter wave and family illness pushed me further away from the academic work while generating far more practical work (while all the same the loss of distance to and detachment from seemed to ever increase).
I am excited that it is at this stage, I look forward to the discussion of some of the findings and ways to hone and sharpen the written contribution for the Research module.
There are two things remaining ahead of the tutorial:
I start the work on Research 4 (draft) by turning to the existing (almost full) draft that I submitted for Res 3 about a year ago and investigate both the research questions and the extent to which these need to change as well as the glossary. The glossary currently exists and a .png file, an object but not a glossary as text.
In the previous Research tutorial we discussed:
how the glossary maps out the terrain of the dissertation and research and presents a research object in its own right; and
that I should investigate the relationship between the research padlets (verge/weed, stair:case) and the glossary object as a matter of research itself to feed back into the dissertation.
I am starting this process now before writing through the draft sections. Over the months I had updated and revised the dissertations sections as the project was shifting, and am in terms of structure fairly clear what needs to be cut, what reordered and what added.
A similar clarity exists as to the glossary terms: I revise, after having done a rather long list of potential new ones; I cut the ones that for the whole project no longer bear all that much relevance; and alter some terminology. I am clear about the four sections (new conceptual contribution; obstacles; series solutions; methodology; and that these will be the footnote added to the object). Some terms may combine or diverge (bridge/edge are contained in new Sorge/care; smallness of things becomes lin; a/drift covers some of the earlier barriers.
It may be necessary to abandon the title concept drawing/contact: it seems too vague now (and I have a similar sense over how I used performance in earlier submissions). Tentatively, I propose reach/resonance to cover the relational of drawing/contact, it seems to contain the movement better too as well as the role of site. I may delete site/practice and practice/site too: perhaps it’s also too generic and unnecessary.
I am considering including keywords as appendix as short, more traditional paragraphs for each term of the glossary.