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research_interview_lionel [2012-02-04 11:45]
alkan created
research_interview_lionel [2012-02-04 11:50] (current)
alkan
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 I was interested to hear if there was something specific to the PARN project itself that contributed to his loss of momentum – perhaps its overwhelming scale or diffuseness, or maybe its peculiar blend of science, pseudoscience, and speculation? And indeed, Lionel mentions that a large part of his research on PARN involved asking questions that were not immediately self-evident to him: “What is this project? And why?” Asking these questions became a research project in its own right, leading to interesting discoveries. While discussions with Nik and Maja were rewarding and helped form a picture of the imaginary of human-plant relations that formed the core of the project, they did not directly answer the question of what the project was really about – Lionel had to discover this by himself.  Also, a meeting with American science fiction writer, journalist and technologist Meredith Patterson was a “great moment” which strengthened his awareness of the DIY world and the rationales for “doing biology in the kitchen.” I was interested to hear if there was something specific to the PARN project itself that contributed to his loss of momentum – perhaps its overwhelming scale or diffuseness, or maybe its peculiar blend of science, pseudoscience, and speculation? And indeed, Lionel mentions that a large part of his research on PARN involved asking questions that were not immediately self-evident to him: “What is this project? And why?” Asking these questions became a research project in its own right, leading to interesting discoveries. While discussions with Nik and Maja were rewarding and helped form a picture of the imaginary of human-plant relations that formed the core of the project, they did not directly answer the question of what the project was really about – Lionel had to discover this by himself.  Also, a meeting with American science fiction writer, journalist and technologist Meredith Patterson was a “great moment” which strengthened his awareness of the DIY world and the rationales for “doing biology in the kitchen.”
  
-Lionel reflected that it was something of a culture shock coming to a milieu like FoAM from a French-influenced intellectual background. He is consciously a product of this intellectual tradition – which is rightly renowned for its culture of sharp analysis and critique – and felt that FoAM was not really a place for this type of approach. Though inspirational in the sense of being freeing, he missed the process of dialectical and critical thinking that is perhaps more a characteristic of academe than an organisation like FoAM. This felt lack of critical culture was both a problem and a stimulant. For example, while he simply couldn’t stomach the writing of Terrence McKenna, reading “Plan/Plant/Planet” – seminal to the imaginary of the PARN project – perhaps helped him better understand FoAM’s vision of PARN, and in the process made him reflect and refine his own position more exactly. Furthermore, it raised nagging concerns about the seriousness of his work which were never entirely resolved. It felt that there was no true recognition for what he was doing beyond the FoAM network: how could he explain his research to friends, family and university colleagues? He became aware that he was quite dependent on this kind of approbation from the “outside world.”+Lionel reflected that it was something of a culture shock coming to a milieu like FoAM from a French-influenced intellectual background. He is consciously a product of this intellectual tradition – which is rightly renowned for its culture of sharp analysis and critique – and felt that FoAM was not really a place for this type of approach. Though inspirational in the sense of being freeing, he missed the process of dialectical and critical thinking that is perhaps more a characteristic of academe than an organisation like FoAM. This felt lack of critical culture was both a problem and a stimulant. For example, while he simply couldn’t stomach the writing of Terrence McKenna, reading “Plan/Plant/Planet” – seminal to the imaginary of the PARN project – perhaps helped him better understand FoAM’s vision of PARN, and in the process made him reflect and refine his own position more exactly. Yet it also raised nagging concerns about the seriousness of his work – something which was never entirely resolved for him. It felt that there was no true recognition for what he was doing beyond the FoAM network: how could he explain his research to friends, family and university colleagues? He became aware that he was quite dependent on this kind of approbation from the “outside world.”
  
 Even so, he came to appreciate that the context and parameters were different at FoAM. For example, with something like DIY biology, the emphasis is less on original research and more on actually being able to do science in your kitchen with the ready-made tools at hand. This realisation was cemented particularly during the [[http://fo.am/radio_mycelium/|Radio Mycelium workshop]], where the difference between research in a scientific laboratory and DIY research was strikingly apparent. Even so, he came to appreciate that the context and parameters were different at FoAM. For example, with something like DIY biology, the emphasis is less on original research and more on actually being able to do science in your kitchen with the ready-made tools at hand. This realisation was cemented particularly during the [[http://fo.am/radio_mycelium/|Radio Mycelium workshop]], where the difference between research in a scientific laboratory and DIY research was strikingly apparent.
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