researcher as romantic

Two items from the readings were particularly inspiring. The first comes from Murch’s article on sound. Particularly, I appreciate his warning to not let sound become the obvious accompaniment; instead, to force sound to cause tension and play against the expected. Other articles provide interesting background on the diagetic/nondiagetic contrast, etc, but Murch’s comment stands on its own as a design principle.
The second appears in the Steiner article (2/23), where the author writes “We may spend half an hour in frontĀ of a titian but the aesthetic effect is as if we were taking in the whole painting at a glance. In narratives, on the other hand, the dual time orders function independently.” The burden of the narrative is to be both kinetic and interpretive at once – moving the story forward, while endowing it with meaning. However, what if the narrative were less chained to these dual duties? Can it be purely kinetic at times, and at others lapse into the life of a painting? Terrence Mallick’s movie do a pretty awesome job of this. I also love Raymond Carver’s short stories for this – painting a moment that seems almost devoid of kinetic plot elements, but full of tension.
I will be working with still shots and sound to chronicle my engineering research project. The working title is “The Researcher as Romantic” and I hope to delve into both sound and narrative and their interrelationships.
Explanation for the below: in a single frame, one petri dish full of bacteria colonies doesn’t seem like much. A fascination, perhaps. But in the incubator, where there are hundreds of these trays, it looks tedious, maybe ominous. Just between these two photos, a narrative of the project emerges, whereas independently, these photos would mean something else entirely. I got carried away and included my reflection. Finally, this is a sound of the autoclave running, which I hope to edit and use as a source of terror. It’s a scary machine, man.
autoclaving, setting 2

A Wednesday Morning


Hi there, I’m a first year MS/PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. I worked for a few years as a designer & strategist at innovation firm IDEO, where I developed the skills and a taste for ethnography as practiced in design research. Accordingly, I have the requisite (meaning, minimum) technical competencies in photography, video editing, sound editing, etc in addition to the abstract framing and synthesis that goes into worthwhile research.

I’ve also spent time in various writing workshops for short story craft, so I’m looking for ways to bring that mode of thinking to bear on multimedia narrative.

No projects in mind, yet.

Looking forward!