Attempting to ascertain a different path for my research I have begun to remove myself from my previous venture in exploring the difference between traditional mediums of art and design and emerging digital manifestations. Having recently chosen to direct my enquiry into the rudimentary elements of graphic design I had developed a vague hypothesis with the aim of considering the creative act as an extension of communication (as discussed in my previous post). Last week I was mindful of an upcoming task that involved sharing my envisioned project and research to fellow students in the form of a poster and for that reason I made an effort to present my research as clearly as possible. In retrospect I recognise that I was trying to connect an array of theoretical disciplines without an established preceding question and therefore I struggled to generate a cohesive description of my work which was inexorably reflected by the feedback I received.

Subsequently I was contending with the poster dilemma and cogitating a resolve for my approaching mid-term viva in the time that I had before this week’s research seminar with Dr Stephen Thompson. In preparation for my own presentation next month I was eager to witness how Thompson would conduct his seminar and more importantly how accessible the content would be for the unknowing spectator. I admittedly spoke to Thompson on regular occasions at this point and begun to delve into similar research topics that had been recommended, nevertheless it was apparent that the presentation was stripped down of complexity and articulated in a graspable manner. Not only did I gain an insight into Thompson’s presentation methods that I intend on executing in my own delivery of research next month but also found a number of notable statements that I aim to explore further.

The overarching subject of technology philosophy integral to Thompson’s presentation was insightful and underlined an array of elements that have progressively come to be relevant in my own practice. I admit that the research field of technology philosophy is expansive and have only begun to delve into specific areas of interest that I feel necessary in order to shape my position on the matter. A statement found in 'The Systems View of Life' chimes with my current research and corresponds with the actor-network theory:

Twentieth-century science has shown repeatedly that all natural phenomena are ultimately interconnected, and that their essential properties, in fact, derive from their relationships to other things. Hence, in order to explain any of them completely, we would have to understand all the others, and that is obviously impossible.

The Systems View of Life | Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

Particular components that can perhaps be applied to my current endeavours are the actor-network theory and recognising technology as an extension of ourselves. I have become vaguely familiar with the debates associated in technology philosophy stemming from Thompson’s seminar and recent engagement with Merritt Roe Smith’s ‘does technology drive history: The Dilemma of Technological Determinism’. The term Technological determinism supposes that society and cultural values are inherently and predictably driven by technological innovation. But I myself believe that this relationship cannot be reduced to such a cause and effect formula and remains far more complex. Ian Hodder who looks at humanity’s relationship with things in his book ‘Entangled: An Archaaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things’ identifies that things are not isolated. That they are connected and remain intertwined in a framework of relationships, a principle of the actor-network.

In light of recent discussions on the ontological presence of technology as a facilitator to emancipate from our biological limitations, I determine that Graphic design is an extension of our ability to communicate and has been from its first inception.

SMITH, M. (1994) Does Technology Drive History. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.