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Julia.1 (Thesis Blog Post 1)

Good evening. It’s currently 9 PM on a Sunday and I am sitting on my couch in a living room on Macon Street.

Part I

To preface this first thesis blog post, I’d like to note my state of mind regarding the thesis process, ITP, and life itself. I once had great anxiety and felt immense pressure over what my thesis project might be. It’s portrayed as, and in some ways is, a momentous climax of post-graduate education studded with success, brilliance, and carefully crafted storytelling. But shouldn’t every project be treated that way? What makes a thesis project different from any other?

I am very pleased to say that I’ve found great solace in the thesis process. This is me practicing trust in myself, my thesis group, ITP, and my support system. I have no doubt in my ability to make an excellent thesis project and presentation. The real question is what that project will be… Thankfully, I also trust that through conversation, journaling, and self-reflection, my key interests will float up to the surface for me to pick them up and draw upon them.

Part II

This is all to say that… I have no idea what I want to pursue for a thesis project. But these are the current motifs that I’m currently jiving with [or in other words, are occupying a great deal of mental real estate]:

  1. One’s place in the world [Nature/Nurture]: How do we find or make the paths (geographical, emotional, spiritual, etc.) that create enough friction for us to flow1?

  2. A changing woman2 [Past/Present/Future]: I can see my past self in hindsight and can paint a picture for an ideal future life. Who is the person in between the future and the past? I am changed and I am changing.

  3. Living Legacy: I have been formed, shaped, modeled, nicked, cut, sliced by every person I’ve ever engaged with. There is only one of me, can you tell? I carry all these people like patches on a Girl Scout vest (I can show you mine) yet their threads are rarely acknowledged. I am enamored with the idea of life as a systems map3. Everything is connected.

What tools can I use to execute a thesis project from these ideas?

  1. Narrative [duh]

  2. Something physical (idk)

  3. Spatial? [an exhibition?]

  4. Temporal?

  5. Fabrication [probably]

  6. I like books (a lot)

What are some examples of a manifestation for these project ideas?

  1. A digital systems map on a touch screen that explains how everything is connected to each other.

  2. A physical systems map, perhaps a mobile, that shows the physical relationship between elements. Some of the connections are “invisible,” perhaps connected by BLE, for example.

  3. A way for you [the reader] to relate or connect to me. How can I make you (or a stranger) care about me/my life/the people in my life/my story, etc? Once I actually have your attention, deliver a story catered to you.

1 Notion of friction and flow state borrowed from Mushon Zer-Aviv’s presentation at ITP on 9/23/22 for his forthcoming book ‘Friction and Flow’

2 Coined in conversation with Bethany Herrmann on 9/25/22

3 Referring to Mark Lombard’s Narrative Structures

Part III

Moving on to our highly regarded 2022 thesis projects, here are my thoughts on three projects that I suspect might be relevant to my thesis process:

Finding “Vietnam”, Anh Le

Anh gave one of the most compelling presentations in the entire class. She delivered personality, wit, sarcasm, and sorrow, all at once. I was moved by her presentation, and impressed by her delivery. The project itself included a wide range of cultural references that a wide range of audience members would be able to relate or connect to.

Miniature Reality, Eric Kalb

Eric’s project brought joy to so many people, including (obviously) myself. It felt simple, yet very well crafted, and the experience to engage with his project was fun, different, rule-breaking, and rewarding. I hope to create projects that offer a similar joy and are inherently playful.

The Solution, Divya Mehra

I was really impressed with the poetry of Divya’s project and the way she softly [and smartly] looks down on the wellness industry. She is critical of popular perception, and commonly agreed-upon “truths” that have been made up for the sake of capitalism. Let’s be more critical of capitalism.

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