I invite you to offer your critical reflections on my academic journey. I’ve experienced the journey as complex and challenging, daunting even, but deeply absorbing and mostly interesting. It is a journey punctuated with sporadic and deeply rewarding, if tiny, moments of clarity. I have met many wonderful people along the way - including you in the DECD group – engagement with whom has empowered me to hark away at obstinate barriers to gradually reveal new vistas of knowledge. That said, the selfless generosity of DECD folks remains as one of the most profound lessons in my academic journey.
I am an architect by training. What I present here is how I have grappled with the vagaries of making sense of the socio-material conundrum: Is it possible or even necessary to convincingly reconcile extremes - material/discursive, individual/collective, natural/artificial, modern/primitive, immediate/distant, temporal/spatial, determinate/indeterminate, hierarchical/distributed, fixed/emergent, tiny/massive, frame/content, hard/soft, square/oval, revolution/evolution, inside/out, solid/void?
Adapting Tim Ingold’s ideas, I will use the analogies of lines, strings, knots and streams to frame the seminar’s discussions as a terrain defined by threads of thought from the philosophers Arne Naess, Benedict de Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Bergson, Karen Barad, Slavoj Žižek. The aim is not to present a deep and original reading of the philosophers. Rather, it is to locate them as knots with threads that wonder off to outline a knowledge meshwork that is both intricate and expansive.
In a retrospective component, I’ll present how the meshwork enables positioning of my diverse and disparate academic endeavours: ecological architecture, DECD, the Future Water Institute and community engagement. I’ll end with a prospective exploration of how the knowledge meshwork can begin to galvanise my efforts towards what I see as the ultimate purpose of my academic labours: socio-ecological justice