A Little Behind But Catching Up!

Hey~

So, in my last couple posts, I mentioned sticking to a rather strict schedule–one in which I complete a section a week of my thesis until I hit spring break (the second week of March). Then, I’m supposed to go hard into editing and revising mode so that I can have a final product to present for Research Days (which I got approved for!!!) at the end of April.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been fairly consistent with this schedule. More, I’ve been able to devote certain chunks of time to thesis work during the week. Unfortunately, in the past two weeks, this schedule has gotten a little “wonky”, to say the least. I was supposed to have the Metalworks section done last week; it was half done. I finished it this week, though. It’s definitely rough but I can finesse it in the revision stage. Right now, it’s functional enough.

Taking some extra time to work on this section allowed me to explore more artists who are incorporating CAD (Computer Assisted Design) technologies and combining some of these technologies with traditional craft techniques. I found artists like Caitlin Skelcey, Annika Pettersson, Joe Wood, and Joshua Demonte. All of these jewelry-making artists use CAD technologies in different ways to explore concepts like self and perception. Skelcey is of particular interest to me and my work. (You may remember I mentioned her in last week’s post as one of the artists who’s FIT symposium presentation I was interested in?) Skelcey’s work explores the intersection between self and advancing technology. Mainly, her works seems to focus on how a sense of healing and a restoration of self can be achieved through digital intervention. Her work is very compelling and I recommend checking out her Fabricated Bodies series.

Collar_Process2.Skelcey.Thesis

ABS plastic, stainless steel machine screws
3d printing pen, implanted screws
8”x 7 ½” x 9”
2016

Honestly, I think viewing the digital as means through which to promotes self-healing is a fascinating topic and a totally different thesis. More, though, I like the idea that digital means can restore a sense of self by providing this “piece” that makes one feel more whole. I think it’s something to explore, even in the periphery, in my own work. It seems related to Page’s idea about the “partiality” of self and how the digital is a way through which to not only emphasize this fragmentation but also a way through which to work through it. Very interesting work.

Anyway, all this is to say that I spent most of the two weeks since we last saw each other working more on one section than on two. Tbh, I’m planning on working on another section of my thesis tomorrow afternoon before class. I’m hoping I’ll have the time between tutoring students to get some of my own work done. Regardless, the section I need to work on is on meme, gifs, and sh*tposting–a topic I have a sh*t-ton of thoughts on so I’m not anticipating too many issues conceptually with the section. I have an abundance of resources to draw on from my independent study last semester as well. I feel a lot more confident about approaching the remaining sections of my work. I feel like more of myself and my own percolating ideas are going to finally get the chance to make an appearance. You all know how much I love to talk about myself.

In addition to this written work, I’ve also begun working in the studio on the installation part of my thesis (progress pictured in the Featured Image for this post). I finally got all of my materials. Last week, I flattened some wire and began to play around with how I want to structure the piece. Also, I found a website that can translate a message into binary code. So, I think I’m going to chase some numbers into the wire I flattened last week that spell out a message. I’m thinking of the message, “TAKE ME SERIOUSLY” or “TAKE ME ME SERIOUSLY”. That’s playing off of the Dada slogan, “TAKE DADA SERIOUSLY” that was scrawled haphazardly on the walls of the Degenerate Art Exhibition as a form of mockery. I’m thinking about reclaiming it. (It really bothers me the more and more I think about how it was mocked.)

Anyway, that’s where I’m at with my thesis this week. Whatever time isn’t spent at work or filling out scholarship/job applications  or working on #netnarr stuff is spent working on my thesis. I wish I had more time to devote to just my thesis but life hasn’t worked out that way. I think I’m making it work the best I can. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

****

~Till next time~

Making A Comeback

So….

I’m back.

jokerclap

And, I’m not going to lie, I took a major break from working on my thesis over our winter recess. Some things in my personal life were really affecting me deeply and keeping me from feeling inspired or motivated to work–despite loving my subject matter. I’m not trying to make any excuses, just state reality. I was unable to find the inspiration to work for most of my break. There were many late nights spent up trying so hard to work and finding nothing but frustration and, I’ll admit, some tears. It’s not that I didn’t want to work; I couldn’t.

Towards the end of winter recess, I did begin writing some more and completing two additional sections of my thesis. I think they could be “bulked up” some but, overall, they have thoughtful ideas in them and a focus. Thinking about my thesis as more of a map of my own thinking and mapping for this project has helped me generate content. I’m less worried about making some grand statement or about impressing anyone and more concerned with making my project make sense to others. I want my own thinking to be center stage. I believe it is my perspective that makes this work compelling. More, I want to write my thesis in my own voice and with my own words. I don’t want to use recycled, academic jargon. I don’t want to be a part of some academic circle-jerk.

In this process, I’ve been really thinking about Hugo Ball’s quote, “This humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect” and how I want to convey that kind of tenacity and courageous belligerence through my work. Ultimately, I think it is the courageous and rebellious spirit of Dadaism and new forms of digital content creation that resonates with me and, I believe, with others. That’s a large part of where the connection lies. These emergent, digital expressions like Eliterature, memes, shitposting, etc. are our responses to the utter bullshit the world has become in so many ways. This is how we sass the powers that be. This is how we snark. How we rebel. How we drag the powers that be back down into the dirt and dust they left us in and remind them that we are still here and those powers that be have NOT earned a speck of our respect. Perhaps its pathological but it’s definitely ideological.

The more I read and the more I think about this subject matter the more compelled I am to believe that this is a revolutionary shift in thinking and in creating. Online spaces and the digital realm have provided us with so much opportunity and resource to unionize. Ideas are powerful in these spaces. They can have real world impact. I think it is so important now more than ever to understand that and to want to understand how. That’s what I feel like I am doing with my work. More, it feels like I’m trying to develop this new analytical lens to look at content like this because, quite frankly, I think our traditional lenses are antiquated and not super suited to do this job. I hope that by combining a literary lens with an art historical one, there can be new understanding. There can be a new recognition and appreciation of meaning.

So often, new forms of creating are dismissed for not being “meaningful” enough. Especially content like memes and gifs and shitposting–they’re all discounted and dismissed as being another meaningless aspect of Millennial culture. It’s insulting. Also, it’s ignorant and negligent and seems to be the powers that be trying desperately to neutralize a challenge to their power. Trying to stave off a challenge to the establishment.

But, I don’t think it’s working. And, I think those powers know that.

New forms of content creation are how we communicate with each other now. They are how we express our feelings of pride and contempt. They have become conduits , deeply embedded with rich and diverse meaning. If they seem like challenges to the powers that be, that’s because they are. These symbols say “we know what’s going on”. They say “we know and f*ck you for thinking we wouldn’t”.

Maybe I’m projecting some of my own feelings onto this medium but I think that, if even half of what I’m saying applies to this subject, then that is noteworthy and it is sure as hell meaningful.

I was beaten down at the beginning of this break but, after everything and remembering Hugo Ball’s words, I’m back up on my feet and ready to take some swings at the establishment. I’m ready to fight back. Bite back. I’m pissed that I let anything stop me from doing what I love to do–writing and calling out assh*les for being assh*les. For only seeing garbage where’s there’s solid gold.

Best believe I’m making a comeback and coming for the crown.

This humiliating age has not succeeded in winning my respect. That’s for damn sure.

****

Down nine times but I get up ten.

~Till next time~