• Lexique de l’intéractivité
  • Text+Design+Development: Douglas Edric Stanley
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Lexique de l'interactivité, Douglas Edric Stanley

On the 16th of October I was awarded the highest honors, très bien, by the jury of my Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies, a French pre-doctoral diploma situated halfway between the Master’s Thesis and the Doctorate. I can now, with this diploma, study as a doctoral student. My D.E.A. was entitled “L’interactivité : essais, expériences, lexique”. The jury members were my thesis director, Jean-Louis Boissier, joined by Edmond Couchot and André Rouillé.

Lexique de l'interactivité, Douglas Edric Stanley

The jury was very positive about the thesis (hence the honors), especially André Rouillé who went so far as to insist that I publish it as a book. I’m a bit skeptical about this idea, as was Jean-Louis, but that said, I have made the entire thesis available on-line at http://www.abstractmachine.net/lexique/. One of the particularities of this thesis was idea that the illustrations themselves would be interactive programs, thus the entire work makes more sense as an online work.

Lexique de l'interactivité, Douglas Edric Stanley

The stucture of the thesis itself was designed as a hypertext, using short sections organized in alphabetical order around a lexicon of terms — a rare form for an academic text. Indeed, Edmond Couchot was quick to point out that such an unconventional form would be unacceptable as a Doctoral thesis and basically that I was lucky to have been appointed a sympathetic jury that would even read such an “experimental” form of academic work. Jean-Louis at first rallied to my defense at this point, worrying I think that Couchot was questioning the quality of the work itself, but was subsequently reassured by Couchot that he was leaning towards top honors. At this point the discussion turned more or less to minor details. Couchot added the suggestion that I refer less to contemporary philosophers, such as Bernard Stiegler, and return in the least to the philosophers that informed their texts in the first place. He mentioned Leroi-Gourhan and Simondon, and I would probably add to that list Canguilhem who heavily influenced Deleuze’s thinking. That said, Deleuze has always been a major influence, and I tend even to read the authors that influencd his work through the tainted glass of his thinking, so in the end it’s probably best to just stick with my original influence at least, if getting-back-to-origins (yikes!) is what this is all about.

The only low-point was my opening presentation which was a long and rambling. I didn’t prepare for it very well.