Although it’s been less than two weeks since the academic quarter ended, I find myself missing all things school related. That said, I am writing this post from my office on campus, so it’s not like I’ve left. Everyone else has though, that’s for sure. Campus becomes a bit of a ghost town in the summer, and this week is even more quiet because summer classes have yet to start. I most miss the pressure of the quarter system, which allowed/compelled me to write ten blog posts on LuAn within a very short period of time. I guess I just miss the pressure in general. I am currently in an awkward and new position of having nothing but my dissertation to work on for half of a year. I know that I’ve written here before about how tangential our digital endeavors are to my dissertation project, but over the last week I’ve gravitated more and more toward my computer, and not just Word, as I play around with my enormous project. For one, I have decided to create a website/wiki for the project, that will most likely only be open to a small number of colleagues and my committee until the dissertation is finished. I’ve been thinking a lot about sharing information and ideas freely, and I really do want to make as many parts of my work available online as possible. What that will do to/for me once I go on the job market is unclear, but as a young scholar I am still idealistic enough to imagine my thoughts might help someone else and no one will appropriate them in any sort of damaging way. We shall see. Stephen Ramsay’s blog is an excellent example of a site which shares a lot of phenomenal academic work free of charge. I really can’t say enough about how his blog and book have changed my way of thinking this year.
I have also been using presentation and modeling software to try to make sense of some organizational issues I’m having. To summarize in an unsatisfactory way, my dissertation looks at corporate spaces and individual resistances within, through readings of a handful of contemporary novels that engage with theories of power and management. There are some films thrown into the bag, and I am also looking at new media. Organizing the general chapters has been a bear. I initially wanted to write four chapters, each focusing on a main book. I was then encouraged to try to organize according to types of corporate spaces I have found in my research (spaces of boredom, networked spaces, etc), and finally we have come somewhat full circle back to the book by book organization. One of my committee members suggested I think of each chapter as a constellation, an idea I’ve always found very elegant since my readings of Benjamin. Yet, since I’m not writing The Arcades Project, I am struggling with how a constellation becomes a dissertation chapter. Enter Prezi. I am doing some mapping that may in part be a way of putting off the inevitable–writing–but seems to be helping me make sense visually of my thoughts. I thought about posting some of them, but for now I will reserve them for my private site, and will continue to tinker and refine in the hopes that at some point I will be able to share them with you all.
My resin/Pale King manual art project is also coming along, and I thought I might share a picture of one of the first layers of work. What you can see is my plastic drop cloth (epoxy does not attach to plastic, thankfully), the interesting looking discs are actually just plates to prop up the frame because I do not live in a level house, and the first layer of painting/text (acrylic paint, and the text is glued down to the wood with elmer’s). I will perhaps post other pictures showing the progression, I have been considering making an animation of the process as well.