On To the Next Milestone(s)

On To the Next Milestone(s)

Hello again, reader, and forgive my shock once more as I marvel at the fact that only a handful of weeks separate us now from the conclusion of this semester!

Counting the days, coffee, and donuts until our thesis exhibition.

When I last wrote, I was preparing for my MFA Candidate thesis critique. I am relieved to say that I made it out from that experience, with some valuable insights no less, and am here to recount it to you along with the milestones that remain ahead.

As I mentioned previously, before critiques I was working to create a narrative around my project proposal, research interests, and methodology. It was a precarious balance to weigh how and what to present of my thesis plans before faculty and peers. I was somewhat torn, as I felt some of the most fertile territory for me lay in my research and making processes, but at once knew I needed to offer a tangible project proposal and plans to those with whom I have not been working in close confidence.

Preparing some of my physical samples for thesis critique.

And so I elected to present my concise project plan and concrete sketches of my proposed installation, paired with the underlying threads of inquiry and my approaches to researching and making in response to these lines. Overall, I think that this was an effective approach, although I did feel I could have done more to direct the conversation toward my specific research interests at moments rather than posing the request for more interconnecting material in a broad and open-ended sense. However, it is often the case that our perceived shortcomings are inflated in our own memories; I was heartened to subsequently read feedback forms filled out by peers and faculty who really seemed to see my vision and offer helpful connections to artists, technologies, and metaphors I had not yet considered.

As I begin to synthesize the information gained at critiques, of course, new milestones continue to present themselves. This week, the very real concern of the technical and logistical challenges associated with mounting an installation became acutely present as our Thesis I class met with DEPS (Department of Exhibitions, Performance and Student Spaces) staff to discuss our project plans and potential exhibition layouts. As this semester ends and we blend into the new one ahead, the pressure to move from the abstract, theoretical version of our project plans to the actual and resolved becomes more and more real and urgent.

Concurrently, our cohort faces an even more immediate deadline with drafts of our thesis papers due to our respective committees and Thesis I instructor in a matter of days. Nonetheless, this process should be facilitated for each of us by the literature reviews–annotated accumulations of our influences and references for our thesis work–that we have all been assembling since before the start of the semester.

Balancing all of this along with other courses, work, and self-care continues to be a feast of things to do, but–even so–I am enlivened to see everything somehow organically develop more and more as I move along in my final year of study at Columbia!