Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SMARTlab in Dublin- where I am

I'm in Dublin.

The digital media group I'm part of where I'm taking my PhD has transfered to University College Dublin.

I'm midway into my research, which is producing fruits I would have never have come across were it not for this journey I embarked upon.

That's part of the joy really: being made privy to a number of theorists whose work was relevant then and is so much now e.g. Lacan, Derrida, Lyotard, Deleuze, Foucault - the list goes on.

There was a time when I used to rail against verbosity; I still do. But I have since been humbled into understanding why words that might seemingly come across as pedantic are needed, like surgery to make incisive points.

Typically some of the great philosophers too preferred the noun of a word as grounding, than its verb equivalent e.g. " This text signifies" or that "the text provides a signification".

Many philosophers, including Shakespeare, when I learnt more of him, made up words. Yes Shakespeare - that learned soul; if a word could not be found, hey presto, he'd invent one.

Kant wanted to both posit and distinguish the word aesthetics, which frankly we've all used at some point - if you're in film. But then I was taken by how Barbara Kennedy described it as not necessarily a psychological phenomenon in the way one is affected, but a biological effect.

Journalism is full of words that are in effect blunt instruments; tabloid papers live of them: "scuppered", "police hunt man", "Gunman on loose"...

When ever someone talks about journalism and new innovations, it has me wondering why few mention language.

It's the one thing that binds us, and the thing, living by the way, which commits us to new experiences e.g. The IPad - and a writing style that's fit for speed reading. No three syllabi words please.

I've resisted that old chestnut of language, signs and the tiff between structuralist and post structuralist: one group that believed signs and expressions to define images were modelled around a structure, which one could learn.  Anyone who's watched a Hitchcock film could take a scene and deconstruct it.
The post lot had different views.

Seven years ago, marking The Economists essay, the strength of language was all that distinguished one competitor from another. The Economist simply asked: What is nature?  The samples were eclectic.  But those that could argue to a granular level certainly got my vote.

Language eh!