The format of a dissertation in an artistic PhD is not be self evident. During the little over two years that I have worked on my project I have followed many discussions and read reviews and reports on other artist’s dissertations. The general theme has been whether or not an artistic dissertation should require a text element, what the relation between the text and the practice should be and in what terms the candidate should respond to questions raised by his or her work.
My general idea has been to produce a dissertation that somewhat follows the format of a classical dissertation in human sciences combined with documentation of the works (score, recordings video etc.). However, in a recent discussion with one of my supervisors I learned that my institution, for a number of reasons, will try to avoid having dissertations that resembles the traditional format. Learning this has made me rethink. We will have to remember that this is all taking place in Sweden, a country that has never before allowed for artistic PhD’s and that there are a number of people that apparently whish nothing more than to be able to crush me and my collegues if only to de-justify the existence of an artistic research programme.
The point made by my supervisor was that I should aim at producing a final documentation in which the text can not be removed from the works. Luckily for me, I don’t have to worry too much about why this is so important (IOW the political bs) but rather focus on the content and the best format in which to present my work. I have to admit, that although I first felt disapointed about not getting a chance to defend my work (i.e. described in text) it is somewhat a relief. The flip side of that coin is that it’s much more time consuming to produce a portable and compatible compound documentation than a text with CD recordings. I’m going to take another look at the <a http://www.w3.org/AudioVideo/>SMIL</a> format and its text handling. What I would like is to be able to combine audio, video and text in an interlinked non-linear file. This was how I envisioned my final result in the first year of my work, but I somehow gave it up due to the time factor.