Thesis: Initial Thoughts

Presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1zJjaZrn7tJg4xFA1OUakOWx1IpupizEsco1rq4TReXU/edit?usp=sharing

I am excited for thesis! Reviewing my past work in my presentation helped me see parallels. I studied political science, English, and journalism in undergrad. I often blend my past experiences through the use of educational applications, a connection I am only now realizing.

The other day, I thought about one of my favorite memories. In college, I focused a great deal on Shakespeare. I enrolled in an intensive two-year program to study the bard, which included a fully-funded capstone experience in England to analyze plays. I am interested in creating a tool that makes Shakespeare more accessible, and relevant, to users. I desire to share my passion by highlighting the brilliance of the writing.

On the other hand, I may be interested in creating a project that addresses an urgent need. Am I a highly utilitarian person?

While at ITP, I focused on projects that deal with technology and health. This semester I am specializing in accessibility technology. How can the design process be more inclusive, especially in mixed reality? With the pandemic, I have a lot of questions related to both mental and physical health. What are people craving the most, but are lacking? One of my most important questions is how interactive technology may benefit people during this crisis, such as by establishing greater connection.

Perhaps I always seek to help people in my projects in one way or another.

Lastly, a great deal of my projects tend to be humorous. I find comedy to be highly motivating. I enjoy experimenting with the nonsensical. I came to ITP to create blunt political work, but often times I find myself leaning towards self-reflective and ambiguous performative pieces. May the mindset of people be changed through laughter? Why do people laugh at subject matter that they find to be shocking?

Letter to me at age 60:

Dear Nick,

You created goals early on and you leaped towards them with utmost conviction. You always enjoyed reinventing yourself, remaining relevant. By now, you know who you are. Yet, you are still pursuing something new. You are still amazed by all of the questions you still seek to answer.

You traveled the world, always seeking to change your perspective. You enjoy discovery and adventure, but in a highly self-reflective manner. I’m proud of you for always jumping into something new. Sometimes you need to analyze the jump only after you land.

You followed your heart, whether in your academics or projects. You are surrounded by people who uplift you. You let go of past relationships that weighed you down, even though the decision was difficult. Everybody around you values you as much as you value yourself.

Of course, you endured your hardships. You always struggled to fit in, but you do not need to look any further. You carved your own path. You stayed true to yourself. You may have appeared disorganized due to your defiant spirit, but you’ve always followed some form of structure in your decision-making.

Your work asks significant questions, but does not answer them fully. One of your greatest assets is your empathy. You have created beautiful work that pushes people to reflect, but you cannot change their mindsets. You cannot control anybody or anything.

Finally, you learned to say no. You let go of always needing to please everyone. You put your time towards the projects that matter the most. Lastly, you are never afraid to say yes to something that scares you.

Thank you for being you,

Nick Grant