Tagged: Skype

Research Paper Seminar 16062015

Below is the explanation I provided on the Skype Chat. It’s too vague. After some more research this week, I hope to significantly narrow it down to a better and more suitable question / abstract. 

My research paper will focus on Nam June Paik’s ‘TV Buddha’ and elements of Damien Hirst’s ‘A Thousand Years’ to investigate whether the longevity of internet / digital technology use is comparable to religious practice, in terms of shaping the personal “quest for identity.” This will look at the idea of the gaze, and how social media and constant-flow information impact a person’s definition of belief systems.

this is far too broad, and I need to focus in on the main ideas more. Its also mildly obnoxious, for that i apologise but I certainly find the topic interesting and relevant. I’m undecided on Damien Hirst’s inclusion, I’m also considering work by Jake and Dinos Chapman. I need to narrow this down quite dramatically.

My research will be based on Virilio’s idea of the information bomb and Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message amongst others. I aim to contact CODEC and other organisations looking into the diminishing reliance on religion in the age of techno-science.

– the longevity of social media use. the self gaze and the window into others lives.
– Religion as intrinsic on personal and group identity. Relevance with these windows? Is this identity still based on location / situation?
– TV Buddha as a stand off between the religious and the scientific
– A Thousand Years to demonstrate grasping scientific endeavour in artistic practice. The potential life cycles of both the work and the viewers.
– Religious practice, technology use as addiction.

Too broad, too insensitive, too obnoxious, potentially too problematic…. however I still feel theres a serious relevance in this research, and potentially a good research paper.

I explained my paper right at the end of the session due to time constraints, so unfortunately Gareth had to leave and didn’t really manage to make any comments. However, what I did receive from Jonathan and the other students was positive, and very useful.

Below are some of the key notes from their responses:

– Bill Viola,


– I need to focus on one aspect. The explanation above contained about 5 ideas hahaha. ALWAYS too ambitious. Need to rein it in.

– Marshall McLuhan “Quest for Identity”

– Check out Ars Electronica, there COULD be some interesting info worth exploring. All are in CSM library.

– Art & the Spiritual. Edited by Bill Hall and David Jasper. This  book is in the Camberwell library


– Jonathan has loads of other Theological Book examples.

– Allegiances with different computer companies – Apple, IBM, Microsoft.

I’m hoping that when I read over this in a week, I’ll laugh at the simplicity and stupidity of my question. That’s if I achieve the work I hope to in that time. I’ve chosen this subject, because its something that I know I can delve deep into, as naturally, I’m interested in its relevance today. I think this interest will drive it forward to be a suitable research paper to shed light on my work. 

I must admit that I’m still undecided by Damien Hirst’s ‘A Thousand Years.’ Its a great piece, and certainly relevant to the topic, but I think theres something better….. 

Research Paper – Online Seminar NOTES 02062015

This is a shortened version of the Skype transcript. The online discussion yesterday was very useful. Main points are in BOLD. 

– “The Research paper can give focus and clarity to your practice.” Jonathan 

– Narrowing down the argument / context to specific, defined points.

3000 – 4000 words.

– “Do not write about your own art, instead write about the context for your art.” Jonathan 

– You can refer to some work, if it supports your arguement.

– “Research Paper’ – Objective, Not an essay – Subjective

– “You can never be truly objective but you are trying to write from that position rather than a subjective personal opinion.” Jonathan

– “Research Paper as: Making an observation about an aspect of art that seems relevant and then finding the research (art, references, secondary sources, etc.) that define and support it. Yvonne

– Relate to your work, but don’t write about your work.

– “Critically contextualise the issues you re addressing; and arrive at a justified and independent conclusion.” Yvonne.

– “Look into wider contextual issue that will help shed light on your practice, but not directly related to it.” Jonathan

– “Don’t try and complicate this paper to make it sound more academic. You should aim for clarity and simplicity.” Jonathan 

– “Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity, Clarity and Simplicity… I hope you get that point” Jonathan. 

– “Choose something you really WANT to research – something you don;t know now but want to know more about – this will keep up the motivation.” Jonathan 

Q: “Why do you think writing this paper is worth doing? what is the rationale? If you were in my position what would you be telling everyone is the reason for doing this? and “because we have to to do the MA, is not a good answer – I only give you things to do that are actually useful and valuable,” Jonathan

– “To dig deeper in to the context and interests that drive our practice” Me

– “It helps articulate our work” Jason 

– “A Variety of reasons: 10 We might find new work/areas that takes us in new directions 20 It will bring together our research into one concise place.” Pete 

– “This is reflection with a capital “R”. It will help us perhaps resolve some questions regarding our work, clarify its direction.” Yvonne 

– “Its important that the topic is more widely known.” Rhiannon 

– “Open our horizon in terms of studying the subject matter we are interested in – and from there, to move ourselves towards new understandings/learnings and to reflect deeper.” Cecilie

– “All very good answers” Jonathan 

– “Daniel Chandler – who is a literary researcher said a challenging thing – ‘in the act of writing you are written’ – it is worth thinking about that for a while later.” Jonathan 

– Daniel Chandler – Semiotician.

– “I would argue that this sort of exercise is important because its developing a critical dialogue within your practice: its contemporary and historical context. Art is not created in a vacuum or by instinct alone.” Jonathan

– “Also contexts are, arguably, generated rather than foundJonathan

– “Also, please don’t stop making work while doing this research paper… It is vital that you continue both elements… theory can be a stimulus (or trigger) to the production of work and not simply its post-production explanation.” Jonathan 

– “We seem stunned” Yvonne. 

– “Research Question: “This should be a question or identify a specific research issue in the context of visual/material culture. (It doesn’t literally have to be in the form of a question though).” Jonathan 

– Simple steps to define the Research Question: Formulating a Question

1. Find a broad subject area.

2. Narrow this interest to a specific topic.

3. Question that topic from several viewpoints.

4. Choose the question whose answer is the most significant to you.

(Do not attempt an all-encompassing narrative spanning centuries of art production and interpretation).

– “If you are having trouble narrowing your subject area ask yourself why YOU consider this topic to be an important and significant cultural issue and derive your research question from this.” Jonathan. 

BAD example: “This paper addresses the issue of appropriation.” Q: “Why do you think this is not good?”

– “Too Broad” Rhiannon. 

– “Appropriation of what?” Pascale

– “Hasn’t been narrowed down” Me 

– “Don’t need to state “this paper” get into the question as a statement.” Yvonne. 

– “Very vague” Jason. 

– “Appropriation when, what of, where, who by?” Rhiannon. 

– “I didn’t know appropriation was an issue…” Sarah LOL

– “Yes so the title needs to explain that a bit, the title suggests there is an issue but it doesn’t say what it is.” Jonathan

“‘This paper addresses the issue of appropriation.’

1) what issue?

2) in which context? (music, literature, photography)?

3) which artists are relevant?

4) how will it be answered?

5) what is this paper about?


Better example:

“Through the art of Dubuffet and Tapies this paper examines the epistemic and ethical implications of appropriating visual languages from other cultures.”

– “The research question is better if it gives a glimpse of the approach by using certain words e.g. if one explores the topic founded within social constructivism it would be good to include “… the social construction of….” in the research question.” – Cecilie

– “Don’t worry about the specific artists names or the issue – just look at the preciseness of the question.

“Through the art of Dubuffet and Tapies this paper examines the epistemic and ethical implications of appropriating visual languages from other cultures.”

1) with this title the subject is clearer – appropriating visual languages from other cultures

2) the writer will use just 2 artists to explore this.

3) She will also use another angle to look at it – i.e. the epistemological and ethical implication


Right now, don’t worry about the meanings, just look at the structure.” Jonathan

– “The title may well change during the writing of the paper.” Jonathan

Another example:

“By contrasting the work of Rineke Dijkstra and Philip Lorca di Corcia this paper will argue that the consent of the photographed subject is central to an ethics of photographing others.”

subject – consent in photography – is it important.

look at it through the work of 2 artists (Dijkstra always asked the permssion of those she photographs – di Corcia famously won a court case where someone sued him for using his image captured secretly in the street – the artist won the case.) Jonathan 

– “In the work for the research paper, this writer discovered another idea that was useful to her argument…

so the title actually ended up being….

“By contrasting the work of Rineke Dijkstra and Philip Lorca di Corcia this paper will argue that the consent of the photographed subject is central to an ethics of photographing others. This analysis will take place within Emmanual Levinas’ philosophy of ‘care’ for the other.'” Jonathan

– “Another example, this time with not just only 2 artists as the focus, this time only 2 individual works of art as a focus…

“People in a crowd: the cityscape and its meanings, a comparison between L.S. Lowry’s An Accident 1926 and Edward Waden’s Liverpool Street Station 1960” 

Although it comes across broad, the focus could be specific to “people in a crowd”.

– “The title will also be clarified by the abstract.” Jonathan 

– “The abstract is NOT the introduction it is a summary of the whole paper. Writing a title and an abstract will be finalised at the end after doing the work but setting it early in the process can really help give a framework and direction – even if it changes a bit as you go along.


here is an example where the title is probably too broad, or not specific enough but the abstract works very well to bring clarity:

“Dwelling poetically in modern technology: Exploring Heidegger’s theory of dwelling.”

The focus of this paper is to analyse the relationship between ‘dwellings’ and modern technology. It starts by giving some information about Heidegger’s understanding of the term dwelling and then goes on to look at technology and other relevant theories. The paper’s major finding is that technology transforms humanities’ way of life and controls the nature of a dwelling. Finally, it comes to the conclusion that we should keep poetic thinking to free our humanity, which is the best way to maintain the original meaning of dwelling within the technological era.” Jonathan 

– “In two weeks from today (YESTERDAY) you will have the first group session with the supervisor, I suggest that you have a rough idea of your title AND a rough draft of an abstract for then – the details can change a bit but and as you do the research things might emerge – but having a focus early on is vital. In the session in 2 weeks you will all discuss each others ideas.” Jonathan 

– “The Research Paper really can be one of the most important stages in the MA – although often students are a bit fearful as they see themselves as artists making work not writers and theorists – I have seen this paper bring clarity and direction to practice again and again.” Jonathan.

– “Having said all this I am acutely aware that sometimes analysing work is in danger of stifling the life out of the often intuitive process of making – this is partly why you don’t write about your own work – but overall I am open to be challenged about even this structure.”Jonathan

– “Bibliography – Most important – DO NOT leave this until the end. It will take hours and hours to get it right – keep information about what you are looking at and reading all the way through.

UAL uses the Harvard system of citation – check it out carefully http://arts.ac.libguides.com/citethemright ” Jonathan 

Zotero – Helps gather online sources. http://www.zotero.org

– app – RefMe – point the camera at the barcode of the book and it grabs all the important information and formats it in Harvard citation.

– “Q: Order in level of importance and value some of the potential sources you could use.” Jonathan

– “Images, original papers, books, artists websites, speeches,” Pete. 

– “People, Interviews” – Rhiannon

– “Lecture Vids / audio recordings, e-journals” Me. 

– “elibrary, specific art, new media,” Yvonne. 

– “colleagues blogs” Pete

– “Documentaries” – Sarah

– “In terms of hierarchy I would say primary sources first” Pete

– “Generally at the top level you have anything that is ‘peer reviewed’ i.e. a group of people qualified to a high level have agreed that a paper or book is of suitable value to be published – alongside this is ‘primary sources’ i.e. something direct from the source.

Books or research papers from peer reviewed journals are very good – but they can date quickly.

it is important to be aware of the value of the source you are quoting from.

classic example – wikipedia – which i think is actually very good – but it would not look good if your bibliography is full of wikipedia links – maybe 1 or 2 but no more!” Jonathan. 

– “Often the “talk” channel behind the wikipedia page – where the debate on editing the page goes on is more interesting. On the wiki is a helpful little animated video to explain the difference between primary and secondary sources – https://vimeo.com/87001150 ” Jonathan 

Sign up as an editor to see the Talk channel on Wikipedia.

– In keeping the paper objective – “never make a claim if you can’t justify it – on the other hand that is the challenge of the MA, finding a critically reflective position.” Jonathan. 

Justify, Justify, Justify, Justify, Justify, Justify!!!!

– “There is often temptation to explore issues around psychology, or sociology. Be a bit careful as you are not studying psychology etc – use these other fields of study absolutely but use them wisely and carefully” Jonathan 

– “Two of several good things artists bring to the world:

1) Comfort with Ambiguity

2) Cross-Disciplinary Research 

Both of these things are really useful” Jonathan. 

– ” Be aware of the danger of only presenting one side of the argument.” Jonathan. 

– “Having a conclusion now is not a problem as long as you are open to be challenged and maybe change your mind in the process of researching.” Jonathan. 

– “You write this paper now so that you can benefit from what you discover, if this was written at the end of the course you would probably miss out on what you could gain from it” Jonathan. 

–           July 7th – Tutorials       July 21st – Tutorials

– “Also, you will undoubtedly find loads more stuff than you can include in one short paper, this is where the title and abstract will keep you on track and focused, you can keep other stuff for a later date, or further research.” Jonathan

– “See this as a great opportunity to investigate something exciting and useful.” Jonathan.