Ph.D. in the making (August 2021)

Instead of writing a list of accomplished tasks, un-accomplished tasks, desired tasks, undesired tasks, in an e-mail, I blog. Tasks related to my Ph.D. research, the act of constructing the Ph.D. itself (started in 2020).

English is my second language and I love it. It gives much more freedom than French. The French language is for me the same as the people of France, which I am part of, closed and unable to adapt to the bigger picture of the world. Incoherent when it shows an openness that is a fashion instead of an act of real freedom or creativity.

For instance, it has been years of prevision with climate change affecting directly the land of France, and « we » still have permitted the building of non-adapted structures (buildings) on properties where the owners make more money but the earth gets more fragile. Death, losses in general, are usually the rewards. I witnessed this when I lived on the French Riviera with the land sliding under the pressure of water (rains) and destroying houses, roads, and cars, and frightening people.

Constructivism versus Phenomenology.

So, English. This advantage I gain over the years of studying linked me to a wide range of personalities around the world. Some of them are members of what we call today my « community ». I also build it. Construct is also a good word since, according to my « community », it seems that epistemologically I belong to constructivism. It took me 2 years to understand the realms of epistemology. it is more than the study of science.s. For me, it is a way of learning as well, or I should say a way of developing the self of knowledge. ;-) Ah, here I am with the academic vocabulary. I am not impressed with the sciences or academia, anymore, I am just disappointed. Yes, it is difficult to understand, but the amount of work one puts into the learning experience, the study, to become a Ph.D., or we should say to gain a Ph.D., is not only related to sciences in general but to the self-development and the self-growth. I do not mean that one needs to do that to self-grow, not at all. We grow with everything. 

When I first encountered the idea of phenomenology, it was in a bar of the Lower East Side (NYC) with my friend, media theorist, activist, free mind, and creative transmedia peer, Brian CLARK (1968-2015). He very much knew the ideas behind my serious game entitled « The 7 Transmedia Families », and he became a sort of mentor as I was trying to find out if I was legitimate in the community of pioneers, media theorists, consultants for media agencies, and brands. Most of all I was trying to verify if doing a Ph.D. was a good idea. I did not want to be a filmmaker anymore because the industry was changing and I was able to not only anticipate the changes in the global revolution, but also the new possibilities for people with professional experience. Brian mentions phenomenology when I addressed the idea of a Ph.D. I had no way of understanding, until now. So, what is it about « understanding »? When I understand « it » there is the Eureka moment where I can do the links between the 3 pillars of science or research that I did not know before, I had to study, ok? One needs to study, it is not enough to read blogs ;-).

« Tara Brabazon’s Three Pillars » (humor here for this title)

Epistemology. Ontology. Methodology. Oh My God. When Brian took me to Phenomenology I did not know back then that he was considering writing a book about transmedia design that he called interactive design. I found out later when his father let me looked at his data and because he was talking about it to some friends. I was discussing this strange situation with my long-time collaborator Emmanuel BETHOUX. Emmanuel said that Brian gave me a gift. Now I understand. The gift of linking ideas. I was linking ideas before very intuitively and automatically. With the comprehension of the 3 Pillars (Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology) I make these links in a more conscient way, it is deliberate and it constructs my own pillars for my research.

When I first heard the word ontology about my work it was the « unknown » and I crystallized the term for the future which is Now the present. It was in 2014, I think, from a friend who is a researcher, during a meeting about my project on the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. I did a documentary film on the 25th anniversary of Woodstock back in 1994. I wanted to adapt the +25 years to the realities of the web and the communities that have been emerging since then. I wanted to use this project as the field of study for my research. I failed. I can explain why, but this is not the time or place, it will be in another post and in the ebook that will complement and augment the dissertation (hopefully). So, I had no idea that someone could make an ontology of transmedia creation, transmedia concept, etc. Now that I understand this idea, here is my position. No, let’s not do that. It is not useful to the community, neither to the study of the transmedia concept. I want to do things that are useful.

There is a credo of Tara BRABAZON that says: « A contribution to knowledge » when she reminds us about what is a Ph.D. We could add that when we enroll in research it is powerful to propose a contribution to societies. Tara would agree and that is what she does. There is also a statement in the learning process in academia that one should contribute to the society, singular, but I prefer to say it with the plural: societies.

Where do I stand?

My ontology is becoming a transmedia concept series with lots of branches for it, several definitions, categories, propositions for the creators, for the organizations, including for agencies, brands, corporations. My focus in an the role of the Transmediator. There is an ontological way of looking at the transmedia concept and I am working on it since 2010.

My contribution is that I want to propose a new profession.

It seems simple when it is resumed, or summarized I should say. When it will be resumed, maybe in 5 or more years, it will only be based on a lifetime, tons of discussions and meetings, experimentations, readings, and failures. But I think that what it takes an individual to accomplish something for the societies takes a lifetime. Therefore my research methodology (not to be confused with the transmedia methodology I proposed in 2011), cannot be just a chapter in a dissertation, or academic references, or negotiation with my supervisors, even less with questionnaires and interviews! The methodology I create now, in 2021, is based on a lifetime (56 this year). But I will not be able to expose it all as it will be condensed in order to fit the requirements of academia.

My epistemology is taking into account my ontology. Ah, God, this is just unbelievable that I can say that and that I absolutely understand my own saying! The problem is: does my interlocutor understands me? If I have to explain to a jury why my ontological approach is congruent to my epistemological choices for my methodology…. Hum…

I still have 2 years, maybe more, in the making.

Basically, of course, my supervisor, Professor Sophie PENE, was right during our very first conversation, I am in the constructivism epistemological space. I can feel it now according to my previous actions, my artifacts, my readings. I can still refer to phenomenology but in an explanatory way for the ontology of transmedia (hum, hum, again). This means that phenomenology can be used in my research as a tool. When I will be describing the areas of transmedia creation that will be the ontology possible at the time, or the present, of the history of the transmedia concept. By the way, there is no « History » of transmedia, even less when it is written by 2 French individuals who have never been in the active online conversations about it we started in 2010. 

If you need to read stuff on transmedia, read in English, in Spanish, but French is not the most significant language in this branch of research. Sorry guys. It makes me things about the « French Theory ». There is this conventional collective idea that French is fashionable…, disruptive, brilliant, it is not. Some people have been that brilliant, but not because they were French. I am still learning about that. And I will be reading in French because I am writing in French, and I do not understand Spanish well. But in general, the best way to cope with the overdose of fake information, written data published, and cultural rumors as for the French Theory, is to make your own intuitive and constructive choices, based on experience.

SOURCES

The 3 pillars by Tara BRABAZON are on her YouTube Channel in English: https://www.youtube.com/user/TaraBrabazonMore from Tara: https://tarabrabazon.libsyn.com/

The Epic Feed with Brian CLARK, « Transmedia is a Lie », 21 avril 2012 and the comments:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/brian-clark/transmedia-is-a-lie/10150841850433993?comment_id=25044280&notif_t=like

My article in English in 2017 on the experience of the Transmedia Mix in 2014, short URL: bit.ly/2UpgrGf

Emmanuel Bethoux 2014, en français, « Transmédiateur, un nouveau rôle pour l’Enseignant : Un expérience de terrain » (Upblisher), https://amzn.to/2tlrDbH

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