PDP on writing Dissertation

In the beginning the exact nature of my dissertation was not clear for some time. I took quite a while in deciding exactly what it was that I wanted to write about. This was a pitfall that would hinder me several times along my journey. It seems to have made me to resolve to ‘Just go with the first idea’ in the future. At least in the initial instance, as it gets you writing, as I found it was all to easy to get stuck in the thinking zone. I read a lot to begin with and filled the best part of a Moleskine notebook stuffed with notes and ideas, I built up a large collection of files of notes on google docs. I enjoyed the reading and the research, at times I would become very engrossed in my reading, but not really forming a critical analysis of what I had read. The problem I suppose was getting pen onto paper, and forming the ideas into constructive, critical and cohesive arguments. Needless to say I got little written in my first term, and did rather badly in my formative assessment.

I originally decided that I wanted to make an artifact for my dissertation, but found that as I neared the Christmas holiday I found myself increasingly unable to settle on what exactly I was going to make. This is a shame because now, with hindsight, I realize I could have produced a really interesting artifact using rapid prototyping. I feel this because the writing of my academic paper made me realize the subjects I am interested in, such as Rapid Prototyping and the maker movement ethos, are so current and exciting that it would have been fantastic to produce a piece of work that was part of it.Some of the ideas and note taking I gathered whilst thinking about that are collected below:

  • The digital craftsman: Algorithm meets the material.
  • Define what you mean by craft
  • – what differentiates craft from fine art or design ( could draw on ideas from first year archetypes brief)
  • The applications of digital media in the craft world
  • does the digital craftsman exist? What do they look like? how can their work be described/ categorized
  • – organic matter being created from digital algorithm
  • will this give rise to naturalistic undefinable forms? an emergence of mode of new sculpture?
  • Theory of Sculpture matters, this needs researching…
  • – Mike Hansmeyer – using fractural(?) geometries to apply an algorithm to organic architectural design – making a physical object from a computer

 

– Michael Eden – transforming the organic process of ceramic into a digital form

– Geoffrey Mann – flight of the moth – transforming movement (organic nature body time motion) into physical object using digital techniques.

Process of making:

Algorithmic design – grasshopper- others?

above. grasshopper definitions

  • you have a 3d print – very complex – direct cast in bronze?
  • Laser cut- layers approach to large complex object like Hansmeyer…..
  • Future 3d printers or laser cutters we are able to work in a whole range of materials – ceramic (examples)
  • rapid prototyping allows us to move on quicker, we can create more stuff/or maybe less stuff but better stuff?
  • Internet generation (everything is instant)

 

Your object

How can you apply this to an object. Maybe have different examples of different types of rapid prototyping applied in a craft way relevant to the definition you gave at the beginning to justify them.

 

 

Should I consider post graduate study in the future, I shall be sure to consider the academic written requirements expected of students at that level and assess whether I am ready for it and that I have something to say that I think I could convey well.

The final title of my dissertation eventually became The Industrialization of the Maker and Digital Fabrication. Ill admit it went through quite a few different variations before it finally arrived there. From the beginning I knew that I wanted to talk about Making and the Maker Movement. The rise of the maker movement to importance in the world today and its reliance on the modes of production and infrastructure that came before it is really the meat of my writing. If I were to revisit the writing I would like discuss some more specific case studies that show the progression of the maker movement revolution and the parallels that can be drawn from Britain’s industrial revolution past. I really enjoyed writing the Maker movement chapter, it felt like the structure came a little easier in that section. The research came with a little more ease than I had found with the industrial revolution work. I found the research and writing surrounding the industrial revolution content interesting but a little harder to work with, some of the texts could become a little laborious to read at times. I found the most difficultly in constructing my final chapter, it proved to challenging though – drawing from the earlier chapters in the text to formulate arguments.

In conclusion I’v learnt plenty of new skills in writing this dissertation such as researching, formatting academic text, constructing a bibliography and voicing an academic argument to name but a few. The process of writing the dissertation also reminded me of some of my weaknesses, time management, indecision and experiencing difficulty in achieving a specific focus that was required to hold the whole scope of the writings argument in its totality and see where to go next. These are things I should have to keep in mind should I venture on another attempt at writing an academic text such as this again. With focus and time I can improve. Dissertation was tough, for me it started right at the beginning starting with that indecision on what to write. This was really unfortunate as I found as time went on I was finding it harder to talk easily about it with my tutor, admittedly I found more and more awkward to cement the direction of my writing. I have had good support with the work though, with my dissertation tutor always nearby should I need some help. Discussing the work with peers a really good way to get past impasses which inhibited progress.It has certainly been an educational process this dissertation.

I found that writing things out large on a board enabled me to get a better scope on the structure of what I was trying to write.

 

 

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Notes on Artifact Ideas

The digital craftsman: Algorithm meets the material.

Define what you mean by craft

– what differentiates craft from fine art or design ( could draw on ideas from first year archetypes brief)

The applications of digital media in the craft world

does the digital craftsman exist? What do they look like? how can their work be described/ categorized

– organic matter being created from digital algorithm

will this give rise to naturalistic undefinable forms? an emergence of mode of new sculpture?

Theory of Sculpture matters, this needs researching…

– Mike Hansmeyer – using fractural(?) geometries to apply an algorithm to organic architectural design – making a physical object from a computer

 

– Michael Eden – transforming the organic process of ceramic into a digital form

– Geoffrey Mann – flight of the moth – transforming movement (organic nature body time motion) into physical object using digital techniques.

Process of making:

Algorithmic design – grasshopper- others?

above. grasshopper definitions

you have a 3d print – very complex – direct cast in bronze?

Laser cut- layers approach to large complex object like Hansmeyer…..

Future 3d printers or laser cutters we are able to work in a whole range of materials – ceramic (examples)

rapid prototyping allows us to move on quicker, we can create more stuff/or maybe less stuff but better stuff?

Internet generation (everything is instant)

 

Your object

How can you apply this to an object. Maybe have different examples of different types of rapid prototyping applied in a craft way relevant to the definition you gave at the beginning to justify them.


Wednesday Writing Workshop – Criticality

Today I went along to a Wednesday Writing Workshop, the topic this week was on the subject of Criticality and using critical thought/writing in our written work. There were about 12 people in the class today. Chris Dennis who gives the workshops provided us with a series of examples that were good critical pieces of writing. They were writings on architecture, specifically on the Porte Rouge of the Notre-Dame in Paris. We worked through the examples looking for the examples of description and analysis in the writing, how those two things were layed out in successive paragraphs and the critical parts of the writing punctuated the descriptive parts. We learnt that criticality is suggested by phrases, words and the overall structure of presentation of data, description, evidence and then the analysis, questioning and probing of the latter. Critical writing must show control of the material and should contain evaluative sections that present opinions that are contemplative not opinionated and the bringing together of arguments to conclusive points that allow the writing to develop and progress.

So, some of the notes I jotted down that I think are useful I shall list below.

  • At appropriate moments refer back to and reiterate to key points and arguments this is one of the elements of a strong dissertation.
  • After longer passages of description and presentation of facts and ‘data’ (try to break this up with sentences of analysis) a longer section of analysis and critical thought/approach is necessary to show your skill in really thinking about an idea and questioning it laterally.
  • In the examples given in the workshop the writer measures what she is saying against other writers.
  • Succinctly and clearly summarise an argument! This is important to do frequently, especially if you have been writing for a while. Doing this will give the writing sort of check points and help to keep the interest of the reader. It is a critical technique that shows the consideration of the writer for their argument and how it is developing.
  • Summarise briefly and clearly the main points of past work and then a few points that suggests what is coming or where the writing is to head next in its discussion or line of inquiry.
  • Clearly articulated arguments.
  • Take what you have amassed and written and communicated or express it in another way – it should challenge conventions or cross examine – holding the work up to scrutiny.
  • What in the ideas and opinions you have assembled is clear and really thought out? What isnt? Which areas does the author/writer underplay or not write much about? How does that area affect their point or argument?
  • Transform and Extend the knowledge/work you are working on/writing about!
  • Bringing together opinions – analysis and breakdown, then stand back and pull out the key points and arguments and themes. Scrutinise, do they hold up? use them to make an informed opinion or evaluation.
  •  Good criticality emerges out of well written knowledge and analysis. The questioning and ‘taking forward’ of the knowledge and ideas.
  • Evaluation calls for a broad view of a topic to justify focusing on specific things. The relative importance to what the specific context is.
  • Dissertation is about supporting your opinions convincingly.
  • What is the overall argument? THINK!
  • Summaries should be structured with juxtapositions, comparisons and consideration for each part.

Chris suggested we look at Socratic Thinking/Questioning as a way into topics or as a method of becoming unstuck if writing becomes stagnant. There are is a guide on the CSAD website.

Some further research into critical writing this evening came up with this really good concise guide from the University of Leicester website.

Another good one I found which is a bit more lengthy and involved is from the University of Worcester website.


Some Thoughts On The Work Ahead

Lately I have not done any work on dissertation material as I have been super busy with getting things done for my end of second year show and assessment. I came away from all of that with a high 2:1 so I am very pleased and ready to be getting on with my dissertation studies.

The last meeting I had with my tutor Alexandros we tried to discern a focus for my work so that I could shorten the time it will take me to get to writing. We listed what my dissertation is and is not:

  • Clear: It is about algorithms and programming
  • It is about art and craft
  • The relationship between/or that these can have.
  • the work is not interactive
  • it is compared with traditional craft
  • it will ultimately be a combination of lots of different processes
  • I need to make, write and think in the same time frame – this way it will evolve
  • Case studies are a great base to work from.

Since a couple of weeks ago when this meeting was, I have not done so much as I stated above due to other work.

I have downloaded grasshopper but have not used it yet. I will be experimenting with it later to day. I want to blog regularly about my progress with it but we shall see how that goes. Initially I think I will follow some tutorials to get a feel for the way it works and then just play with it and see what forms I produce. Once I am proficient with grasshopper I need to consider where the algorithm will enter the work, from the considered and decided use of an algorithm to how I actually use it and how that process will work.

I shall also try to blog about some artists and organisation who’s work is in similar veins and is inspirational and helpful to my dissertation work.