Friday, 24 August 2012

What is Research?

If you ask this question seriously, you might happily piss yourself laughing. In general the words 'reflect' and 'practice' often constitute components that (eventually) constitute research, but this is by no means clear cut. Practising architectural academics have been moaning for years that every back extension was their research, and that can't be right (can it?) except when they reflect on the process, then it can, right? Anyway research implies a lack of certainly in the constant pondering of doubt. Unfortunately nobody likes this condition anymore, it makes you out to be unfortunately indecisive, and that was probably last popular in the C16th. Michel de Montaign comes to mind, he was always wondering what the hell he was doing, and when doing it, he still makes for an excellent read. Montaign did very good research.
But we live in an era of the eager and the cocksure, even if what is spouted is nonsense, and unfortunately this would include lots of books routinely published by Routledge (or whoever) as a kind of cookie cutter product, and any final projects completed at the Architectural Association (shucks!) They certainly may not know what they are doing, but god help them if they display any doubt about doing it. I blame computers, TV, twitter and Tescos.
Above all, politicians have to be easily believable, they are expected to know their stuff, to have done their research all the time. However, we actually get the likes of Boris Johnson, who is easily believable, until you ponder further the hoytey toytey, the totty and the bluff and the fluff that makes up his whole being. Mind you, having Boris is highly preferable to any right wing American politician. Any pondering of them leads you to think they are a bunch of crack pot billionaire Ayn Rand fanatics. The more weird the world gets, the more absurdly single and simple minded they need to sound, and that isn't any good at all, since Ayn Rand was mad in the first place.
Me, I may not know what research is, but I know when I'm doing it, largely when I'm horizontal. However when I lie in bed reading the Desmon Bagley novels I first read when I was thirteen and I realise that girls are not as they appear in these novels and neither is adventure in any form, and say to Julie that by doing so 'I'm reflecting on my practice' Julie pisses herself laughing.

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