Back to design fiction

Strange that my last post was on the day Steve Jobs died. No relation, however. Part of the challenge in moving forward on the graphic novel is that this is also part of my thesis for my MFA. Hence, there are two parts, as I have blogged about before. The first part is the project itself. The second part is the scholarly work that gets me my degree, which will also authorize me to teach design. Without turning this into a lengthy excuse on why I have not blogged prior to this, suffice to say that between teaching and writing, visuals have taken something of a back seat.

New developments have occurred in the meantime. I have received word from Iridescent, the Journal of Design Research that my paper submitted last June has advanced to peer review. That surprised me. I guess it took so long that I had pretty much forgotten about it, and I think that a lot of papers that get submitted to these “Call for Papers” things sometimes go without a response at all. Of course, since June I have done a considerable amount of new writing on the subject and the whole idea of design fiction as it applies to my project. Clearly, at this point I’m seeing my effort at design fiction as both a work of fiction and a work of design, which definitely makes it a hybrid of that concept as defined by Sterling and Bleecker. Certainly, it makes it wildly ambitious, since it takes on many dimensions, including an interesting form of design research. I will elaborate on that in a different post.

As for the project, my thesis committee was pushing hard for more back-story. Imagine, asking questions like, “How did we get here?” I was considering this stuff possibly too tedious. Nevertheless, I think I have found some exciting new devices that can weave back-story into the body of the work without being boring. The fact is, I’ve done a lot of research into why and how the world got to the way I have depicted it in 2159 — why not weave it in?

Finally (for this post), I am staring down what they call 5th Quarter Review. This is the point in your thesis journey where you report to your committee on what the heck you are doing and show some work and progress. Theoretically, they can tell you to go back to the drawing board, or to look for some other career, or give you the thumbs up. In most cases, they tell you to make some additions and move forward. I have been staying in touch with them regularly and though we have had some bumps in the road, I think we are on the same page. My goal for 5QR is to have an entire scene from the book rendered, a couple of spreads of back-story and my thesis introduction, and outline complete. So, I will be busy this quarter, too.

Hopefully I will keep blogging throughout. Though I have plenty to talk about — no promises 🙂

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