weeknote 19

What comes next? It’s been a big question for me lately. I’m in the fourth year of five funded years of my PhD and in my sixth year of graduate school. Do I want to stay in academia? Do I want to do corporate R&D? Consulting? Thinktank? Start a company? My background is different than that of the other people in my architecture program (and with very few exceptions, with architecture in general), so it’s unlikely I’d pursue a traditional architectural history position. But this week, I found out that an academic position is open that speaks directly to my multifaceted background. I’m going to apply. There’s no downside to it. At the very least, it’s a good opportunity for me to try to put myself on the academic market and to go through the focusing process. And if I land it, it would be tremendously exciting.

I’ve refocused my dissertation proposal to hone in on the architecture and information/artificial intelligence aspect, moving away from characterizing it as generative computing. It makes me see that I’ll be able to incorporate a lot of the writing I’ve already done  in various papers so far. I’m very lucky to have such a supportive committee. It makes me see this dissertation as a real thing that will not only come together, but that I will complete. A year ago, that seemed so far away. It even seemed far away when I was writing the original dissertation proposal. But now, it’s organizing itself. It’s coming together.

I’ve been reading media theory this week in order to try to situate the projects and practices I’m writing about. At bat: Jean Baudrillard, Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Friedrich Kittler. I still kick myself for not taking the media theory class two years ago — it would have come in handy — though I loved the All-Marx-All-The-Time class I took in its place.

We’re getting things set for the Princeton Center for Architecture, Urbanism and Infrastructure (CAUI) workshop in Shanghai — my flights are booked and I’ll be there the last week of the month. We’ve also begun to put in place the content strategy (including the social media strategy). I’m enjoying the collaboration. We span more than 50 years and every level of higher education from Mario Gandelsonas, the director, through PhD, master’s in architecture, and undergraduate students. Two of the M.Archs  were in the writing group I ran two years ago: now we’re peers in this effort. I like how things flatten.

Finally, this week I’ll be speaking at the Media + Modernity lecture series at Princeton on Thursday (announced in my previous post). It’s exciting to have the opportunity to present my research to my colleagues across the school.

And then the travel picks up: New Haven, Boston, LA, Shanghai, all between now and October 27. The quiet in Princeton is a kind respite.

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