Eagles and Moles

Spent today trying to formulate my PhD proposal. Didn’t get very far. Appreciated Timothy Morton’s series of posts on how to plan a PhD, particularly this one on archives. I’m going to be doing design research, however, so there is a bit of translating to be done regarding the concept of the archive. I think perhaps a site could serve as an archive in this sense, along with some bodies of material to be approached analytically: for example, a set of drawings or projects by another person. My view on design research is founded on the idea that design is a mode of thinking, not just a mode of applying thinking. In the same way that we might write to explore hypotheses, we can design to explore them. One of the difficulties I face is that currently I read and write a lot more than I design (myself – I spend a lot of time helping others to design). I see a design research PhD as a gesture of faith in the native language of my field. The other problem I have is that I tend towards what Morton called the eagle’s view, rather than the mole’s. But I’m an eagle eager to be a mole, face down in a pile of contingencies. I tried to draw a bit – its a drawing I’ve made probably fifty times, through which solidity occurs as a residue of collision and interference of patterns. Less blank-page abstraction needed next, I think.

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