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Postgraduate research considered as a mental marathon Or, the object of research and the fetishisation of method.

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Presentation on theme: "Postgraduate research considered as a mental marathon Or, the object of research and the fetishisation of method."— Presentation transcript:

1 Postgraduate research considered as a mental marathon Or, the object of research and the fetishisation of method

2 Postgraduate research considered as a cross-country run Or, the object of research and the fetishisation of method

3 Fantasies of the PhD Shibboleth Apprenticeship Original Statement

4 Approaches to situating the practice-as-research PhD historical perspective –research is a relatively new addition to the accomplishments of a university graduate or academic, and even more soin its academically specialised senseto the armoury of the practicing artist psychological awareness –if research stresses a tolerance of uncertainty, openness and corrigibility, why do we seek to codify the few acceptable ways of doing it? social-institutional sensitivity –how come research is the spice that guarantees creative activity to be socially respectable?

5 What is the object of (postgraduate) research? The Laboratory Sciences The Human or Cultural Sciences The Humanities The Vocational Disciplines The Practical Arts THE GENERAL RULE IS HYPOTHESES ARE NOT ROUTINELY TESTED (although ideas ARE critically examined) THAT THERE IS NO GENERAL RULE

6 Method as Fetish A fetish is a story masquerading as an object. (Robert Stoller)

7 Established 2000, an affiliate of the Paris Collège de 'Pataphysique Currently six departments: Bureau for the Investigation of Subliminal Images Committee for Hirsutism and Pogonotrophy Department of Dogma and Theory Department of Potassons Department of Reconstructive Archaeology The Office of Patentry

8 The Department of Reconstructive Archaeology Anthony Hancock Paintings & Sculpture: A Retrospective Exhibition The accompanying catalogue, prefaced with an essay by Andrew Wilson (then deputy editor of Art Monthly), contains Hancock's catalogue raisonné, a description of the Department's methodology, as well as appreciations of Hancock's work, and essays on the confusions surrounding its authorship (the works of Paul Ashby and Alastair Grant). Self-Portrait, early 1950s A detail of the reconstruction by Magnus Irvin created in April 2002 dedicated to re-making lost cultural artefacts (literary, artistic, scientific, etc.)

9 The Department of Reconstructive Archaeology Self-Portrait, early 1950s A detail of the reconstruction by Magnus Irvin The Department […] has no prejudices regarding the superior validity of "the real", over "the fictional", "the imaginary" or "the virtual". The Department is concerned not simply with archaeology, but with reconstruction, with praxis rather than contemplation. Ever since Thor Heyerdal, […] archaeology has utilised practical demonstrations to corroborate the plausibility of its hypotheses. The Department does not share this dogged utilitarianism, however. We have no hypotheses to prove, and no itches to scratch, ideological or otherwise.

10 The Department of Reconstructive Archaeology Self-Portrait, early 1950s A detail of the reconstruction by Magnus Irvin The Department […] has no prejudices regarding the superior validity of "the real", over "the fictional", "the imaginary" or "the virtual". The Department is concerned not simply with archaeology, but with reconstruction, with praxis rather than contemplation. Ever since Thor Heyerdal, […] archaeology has utilised practical demonstrations to corroborate the plausibility of its hypotheses. The Department does not share this dogged utilitarianism, however. We have no hypotheses to prove, and no itches to scratch, ideological or otherwise. THINKS ! But is this worthy of a PhD? THINKS ! But is this worthy of a PhD?

11 The criteria for award of the PhD (a) consist of the candidate's own account of his/her investigations … (b) and form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality by the discovery of new facts and/or by the exercise of independent critical power; (c) and be an integrated whole and present a coherent argument;

12 The criteria for award of the PhD (d) and give a critical assessment of the relevant literature, describe the method of research and its findings, include discussion on those findings and indicate in what respects they appear to the candidate to advance the study of the subject; and, in so doing, demonstrate a deep and synoptic understanding of the field of study, (the candidate being able to place the thesis in a wider context), objectivity and the capacity for –judgment in complex situations and –autonomous work in that field;

13 The criteria for award of the PhD (e) and be written in English and the literary presentation shall be satisfactory, … (f) and not exceed 100,000 words; … (g) and include a full bibliography and references; (h) and demonstrate research skills relevant to the thesis being presented; (i) and be of a standard to merit publication in whole or in part or in a revised form … […]

14 The criteria for award of the PhD In the fields of Anthropology, Arts and Computational Technology, Fine Art, Design, Media and Sociology a candidate may –either register to undertake research leading to a thesis submitted in accordance with the normal provisions, –or register for studio-based research/other audio-visual research. In the latter case the thesis may include a portfolio, exhibition or other audio-visual display. This must be original work which –exemplifies and –locates the ideas which are developed in conjunction with the written part of the thesis. However presented, this work must be accompanied by an adequate and approved form of retainable documentation.

15 Examining the practice-as- research PhD thesis The examiners point-of-view: –What are the legitimate grounds for referral The candidates point-of-view: –What are the allowed grounds for appeal against the examiners decision?

16 From the web-blurb for IM2 Practice-based researchers are faced with a dual challenge. The first is the intrinsically bifurcated nature of a research project composed of a written element in conjunction with a practical element. The second is the interdisciplinarity inherent in writing art. ? ? ? ?

17 pataphysics … is the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments (Gestes et opinions du Docteur Faustroll, II, viii) … rests on the truth of contradictions and exceptions (Raymond Queneau, pataphysician) from Alfred Jarry Les Minutes de Sable Mémorial, 1894 Alfred Jarry 1873-1907

18 Method as Fetish Research methodology … is not a matter of logic, but of the logic of the matter. (Theodor W. Adorno)

19 Are you sitting comfortably? Postgraduate research considered as a cross-country run


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