Now in the last week of my stay in Montreal, I am preparing to head back to Oxford. There’s been a lot to take in and at times, I’ve wondered what research materials I am generating. I recently filled in a Graduate Supervision System (GSS) entry on my ‘progress’ this term and thought I might include it here as a (somewhat limited) summary or reminder of some of the things I’ve been doing and thinking since I arrived.
I have spent this term in Montreal, where I have been exploring a variety of spaces of aesthetic experimentation. Affiliated to both the Topological Media Lab and the SenseLab, as well as an active member of Hexagram (an institution for research-creation), this fieldwork has allowed for a prolonged engagement with notions of experimentation, interactive or responsive environments, rapid prototyping and ethico-aesthetic play, as well as collective action.
I have been involved in reading groups, classes, colloquia, workshops and aspects of experimental design. I adopted an experimental approach where I have sought to be not only an attentive observant but allow room for the research to unfold and develop in unexpected ways. An example of this has been working with a choreographer in the development of a theatrical production.
It has been very stimulating to work with people who have read similar philosophers to myself (such as Bergson, Deleuze, Guattari, James, Whitehead) but also be able to share new avenues of enquiry (including, but not limited to, Bateson, Debaise and Simondon). Moreover, it has been fruitful to talk about my work to others, forcing me to rethink and refine aspects of my questions. One area that I’ve been thinking about in particular concerns collaboration, and how this might not necessarily result in some ‘thing’. Collaboration might be better thought of as processual, and not necessarily goal-oriented. This also relates to how to how I might address questions of participation, ‘critical distance’ and my role, such as it is, within the labs.
I have tried to generate materials through visual means (photos, video), textual (diaries, blog entries) and talks (recorded, remembered). Responding to the call to attend to registers which are neither talk nor text has proven more problematic but has been explored through diagrams.
I’m hoping to keep active on the blog when I return to Oxford – with an aim for more regular posts rather than flurries of them – and have a few book reviews that I’m working on at the moment. I’m also trying to translate one of Didier Debaise’s articles. As ever: watch this space!