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Thesis Process Journals

An ongoing documentation of my process in creating my final thesis project towards my BFA in Graphic Design at the Maine College of Art.

Week Four: Part Two

What We Said We Wouldn't Do, Part 2.

The second installment of my delinquency amendments, picking up where we left off from the previous week in the form a few new pages of grid paper and some tiny handwriting. It must be somewhere in the middle of Week Four, making it around the 7th of February now. What had been outlined in the pages before, was the first articulation of how I might go about codifying this secondary language. I can recall the feeling prior to this as something quite unformed, sprawling in a million directions with potential that both inspired and terrified me. Coming off of the first meeting of the week, I have taken stock of some realistic possibilities for output, and have a different idea for a form of survey. I begin drafting up full page surveys which I intend to distribute to people I know within close proximity, and mail to those who are either geographically separated from me, or in positions that do not regularly come in contact with mine. Margo says that this is a good step, and urges me again to get the surveys sent out. I agree with a hesitant sort of concession, and try to focus on formatting before Thursday.

They say that history repeats itself, and I might add that students who fail to reflect on their process will likely fall victim to the same fate. 

I slip, again into a period of existential questioning, where I find that the parameters of my inquiry have expanded far beyond a reasonable proportion. In moments of dire confusion, I take comfort in enormous pieces of paper and big, fat markers. 

At the same time that all of this is unfolding, we are also attempting to write our thesis papers in small installments. This week's prompt was called Sources of Inspiration, which is what Mariana, Nicole and I were all doing Wednesday night in the studio before I taped together a few pieces of newsprint and borrowed Vince's big chisel tip Sharpie. In this mind map, I have determined that what I am essentially doing, is designing the design of people's lives. I make note that I can't possibly be attempting to grasp with something so absurd as the general condition of our lives, and cycle back to the premise of rituals and habits. Coming back to framework I had started with, I affirm that these thing are the external manifestation of more specific conditions whose primary utility is their ability to be traced. What this says about a person is something I may be searching for, but is certainly not something I need to account for in my line of inquiry.

This is a breakthrough.

Thursday, February 9th, though, is a snow day (and a blizzard too). I do a little bit of childish celebration, there is some untamable wonderment garnered by any covering of snow that comes up to your shins, even if you are not explicitly dressed for the occasion. I indulge in some good old fashioned romping around, this time with the ability to purchase some cheap cabernet before the local businesses shut themselves in for a few days, and do not leave Tom's apartment until midday on Thursday. Though it is still snowing, and the drifts are higher than my head, I return home to pressing need to do laundry, so out I go again. I get myself around to working just as it starts to get dark outside. I am combing through my Pinterest boards, looking for a different angle to approach these surveys. It has occurred to me that getting away from the container for my previous ideas (a drab one, I can admit: the 8.5x11 mailer survey), might spark a renewed energy in the project. Scrolling through one of the reference boards for a time management app from the previous semester, a flash goes off. I start sketching circular surveys, something whose mechanics I had already given a great deal of thought, and come up with the final skeleton for my first survey.

The meditation course I have signed up to do with Greta begins the following day in the early evening.

For six hours on Friday, five hours on Saturday (followed by the seven hour shift at the pub), and another five hour meditation session on Sunday morning, I am wholly diverted from my studies. Luckily, another winter storm hits on Sunday, and we are gifted a snow day the following Monday.

Finding myself at the outset of Week Five with quite a bit of work to do yet, and not much time left to do it. I begin to worry again.

Mollie EnnisComment