Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Mobile thesis

As I currently wrestle with the exact combination of essay/collage/html my dissertation will take, Ken distracts me with Daria Loi's interesting and fun PhD Thesis at RMIT University, Australia.

A suitcase as a PhD…? Exploring the potential of travelling containers to articulate the multiple facets of a research thesis

What happens if a PhD Thesis cannot be articulated in a conventional format? What if some notions require other senses to be fully accessed, appreciated, and expressed? What if words alone tell only one portion of the story? Can a suitcase and its complex content be a research thesis?

This paper examines these questions via a recent experience where a PhD thesis was designed and developed by the author as a series of travelling containers that include written text and a range of interactive artefacts. More than supporting material, these artefacts are embodied conceptual arguments that transfer ideas and sensations when physically handled.

The author argues that in some circumstances ideas should be expressed and accessed in multiple ways and that anomalous formats can enable researchers to convey concepts on sensorial, emotional, and intellectual levels that traditional formats cannot always reach... [T]he thesis/artefact is not only a platform for expressing ideas and reflections, but also a place where content can be experienced in the act of unfolding.

Cool. I really like the idea of a mobile and tangible thesis. Mine would be soft and voluptuous, I think. And move with the consistency of evaporated milk in strong coffee.

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