this page will be updated during the semester — check it out regularly ☀︎ this page will be updated during the semester — check it out regularly ☀︎

Semester B

"To essay is to try, to attempt. The essay is a form of doubt — a format in which one can explore doubtful theses. While the essay is at root a literary genre, in the twentieth century it leapt into new media. The transition from the printed page to film was a haphazard process, and its conceptualization even more so."

— Sven Lütticken "Hito Steyerl: Postcinematic Essays After the Future"

In this semester we will explore different research methods in art and design along with various formats and distribution models of your research outcomes. In the increasingly "cinematic" context of new media it is important to utilise the blend of media in your favor. Often in your studies you are asked to write an essay — a short well-structured text — as the result of your research process.

However, what is a text today anyway? In the course of 3 monthly projects, you are invited to challenge the traditional format of synthesizing and delivering knowledge. Research is about the way you structure and deliver your findings. Modes of distribution are as important as the content itself. Is academic essay as efficient for design research and as powerful for knowledge dissemination as a video or a poster? And how does the format affect the content?

This brief consists of 3 projects. We start with a poster/research question project (A still). In the second part, based on your question, you write an essay (A text). In the last part, you will be asked to perform a translation from a written essay to a video essay / motion-based piece (A sequence).

A still

Design an A1 poster that includes:

  • A selection of images
  • A research question for your essay
Image circulation

We will start with the task of "self-exploration" through visual research. You are to compile a collection of around 40 images. Each session we will be discussing and analysing your expanding and mutating collection of images.

Position yourself

You carefully select images based on your semi-instinctive honest response to an image. You keep a journal of all images and your annotations to the images that provide reflection on your choices. Gradually, you start to see patterns and dominating themes/keywords in your collection. This exercise helps you to articulate your voice as a practitioner.

This is not a mood board exercise but a visual exploration of your personal inclinations. Honesty is key. Avoid stereotypical/"iconic" images unless they *actually* mean something to you.

Research question

Research question will lay foundation for your essay (section ii A text). A good research question is specific enough for you to be able to cover in a short essay. It is easier to start with something small and concrete. A good research question is also polemic. You want to start a debate around it. It is never neutral or vague. Consult the Yale guide on a good research question in the references.

  • 16 Jan — 10 images collected, defining keywords, likes/dislikes
    In session 1, each student receives feedback from the group in the form of three questions about the collection. Then, based on the 12 questions from the students (3qx4s), each student formulates a new set of questions for the updated and extended set of images.
  • 23 Jan — 20 images collected, defining keywords, possible themes and essay questions
    Exercise: revisit the texts from the previous semester. Reverse engineer any text of your choice: extract a research question from it.
  • 30 Jan — 30 images collected, defining themes, keywords and essay questions, poster prototypes presented
  • 06 Feb — 40 images collected, essay questions and posters final presentation