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PHD-DESIGN  2000

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Subject:

Re: Theory and originality

From:

Rosan Chow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 30 Aug 2000 14:32:25 -0400

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (34 lines) , rwchow.vcf (15 lines)

Excuse me for interrupting the flow of interesting discussions and for the fact that my questions may not be on the same intellectual level of the recent sequence of postings. I am trying to make sense of what have been posted and I think that I need your help.

Keith wrote on 25 Aug., 2000
"That is, to be aware of novelty is to be haunted by the spectre of endless creativity. Such misery is known by plastic artists where the burden falls on editing rather than
orginating".

But isn't it exactly what Ph.D. researchers do? Don't we 'edit' others' work in the same sense? Isn't all knowledge built on some sort of knowledge? Aren't all ideas built on some others' ideas? I am really, really puzzled. In the strictest sense and use of the word, nothing much can be said to be very original.

However, I understand that words have meanings only in context; therefore, in the context of Ph.D. dissertation, does what Johann wrote on 24 Aug., 2000 seem sensible?:

"If you can use this platform to make "new" connections (alliances) in order to create something "original"from "everything that has gone before", then you deserve a doctorate.

All  right, 'new connections' feels right, but then Johann has also said:

"Even our B.Tech students (honnours level, 4th year) are required to produce "original" research results, and a great part of getting to this stage of "originality" lies in the method of inquiry ...."

mmm ...'Method of inquiry' ... designers have long had our methods of inquiry to make new connections, except these methods of inquiry have been marginalized, in my view. I understand there are problems in present design education. I understand many have argued that practice of design is not 'high end' research, that practice is traditionally not granted for Ph.D. But being naive, I wonder why not? Aren't we supposed to make new connections? Aren't we supposed to rethink the traditions of research and academia?

One of my greatest fear of taking up a Ph.D. study is to see myself turning out to be a part of the hegemonic apparatus. (Yes, I believe there is one). My struggle has been this: I am a designer, visualization is my language,  a language that is not that valued in our education, so most knowledge production and dissemination has been through words and numbers. What do I do when I want more knowledge? I have to read. What do I do when I want to share my ideas with a bigger audience? I have to write. Then I ask myself if by reading and writing, am I not joining the group to further marginalize the place of visualization in knowledge building or in life?

Same difference: when design knowledge can only be recognized by the validation of traditional ideas of what research, knowledge, etc. is, what kind of design knowledge will we end up having and how original can this type of knowledge be?

Dick wrote on 29 Aug., 2000
"Fortunately, it need
not be a simple opposition of "texts" and "making."  Wise teachers will
find the balance that moves us from simple training programs--".

No, it is not a simple opposition, because one is much more powerful. It is a very tough job to find a balance, should we not be discussing how?

I very much like to thank you all for contributing, this list has become an important part of my doctoral education. I just wish someday I could accompany words with visual through email.

Best Regards  Rosan

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