During the interview process of my research project, I began to think more about the physical form of the dissertation as well as the intellectual form. In discovering the participant’s new found understanding of paper as a diverse and complex medium, I began to also consider the dissertation as an object; a possible art form in itself.
How would the reader interact with it, if it better reflected my experience of the ‘Squid Inc’ project – both the events, but also the immersion into the subject throughout the dissertation process – in its physical form? Much-considered words printed on handmade, deckle-edged paper with striking hand-bound stitching, using a traditional Japanese stab-binding technique? A cover incorporating the printed squid gyotaku from the ‘Squid Inc’ events? Would the user interact with it differently, moving hands over translucent, dimpled paper? Would this possibly increase respect for it as a tangible object as well as a repository of ideas? Could this interaction create a better understanding of the nature of the ‘Squid Inc’ events and the participant’s experiences of both the squid and paper as a medium? Would this allow for greater reflective practice, make my words more memorable?!
Could the consideration of the medium help to reflect the complexity of an object as described within the dissertation, not only in its construction but in its ties to culture and the environment? Does the standard for plastic, spiral-bound dissertations at Queen Margaret University align with the ‘sustainable’ principles of the teachings of Gastronomy? Surely, it would have sounded pompous to request permission for an ‘alternative binding’ from the school office whilst writing to deadline, against the intangible clock?!
Would a handbound dissertation be more ‘gastronomical’? What is gastronomy?