It has been the semester/year from h@#*, teaching and finishing my dissertation at the same time, but I'm DONE! I defended the dissertation and am now a Ph.D. I guess it's the artist in me, but someone called me Dr. Stenner the other day, and it seemed wrong. I guess my response is conflicted because I see the degree as an institutional stamp of approval that is somehow counter to my self-image as an artist. I'm very proud of all the work, research, relationships, and knowledge I've gathered over the past several years. There is no way I would have learned as much as I did in any other way, but I'm excited to begin life again.
I still have some cleanup and improvements I want to make to the actual dissertation document before I submit it to the university, and I'll be working on that for the next few weeks. Once I'm happy with it, I'll post all 260+ pages here.
For those who don't know, the title is Critical Reflection in a Digital Media Artwork - Playas: Homeland Mirage. I am interested in critical reflection and its relationship to digitally mediated aesthetic experience. In some circles it is fashionable to dismiss aesthetic experience as outmoded or limited to issues of beauty. In others, the idea of critical reflection is rejected as a vestige of Adornian elitist aesthetic philosophy. In the dissertation I look at the art-historical-cultural development of these ideas, as well as, contemporary concepts of dialogism and relational aesthetics, and find a need for artists to synthesize these theories rather than lapse into narrow-minded ideology. This requires artists working with complex digital media to engage in research to begin to understand the impact technology has on the experience of their work, and to share that research with fellow artists so they can build upon each other's work. As a model of this process, the dissertation includes a case study analysis of my installation, Playas: Homeland Mirage, which is dissected using research methods from Naturalistic Inquiry.
In all, I'm glad to be done because in reality it's a new beginning :-)