Bor√•s 2: Barbara Jansen’s PhD defence

ūüôā it was so good to do this trip.

The exhibition took place in the dark and simply cannot be communicated here. I include some pics anyway. The first is from her Masters: layers of screens enabling the construction of a 3D temporal composite using fibre optics. The other three are from her PhD:

Barbara Jensen






Barbara Jensen   Barbara Jensen   Barbara Jensen

Her actual defence began with her¬†demonstrating a braid that she has been¬†basing some of her work on (above and below). The performance¬†was a beautiful use of time and space. The role of quietude, particularly lovely.¬†Look at the braid below, now imagine it done in fibre-optics, with each fibre individual addressable, able to be lit up in any colour desired… The red thread shows the path of an individual fibre. It’s spatially powerful within the flat braidThe video is gorgeous, but only pics here for the moment.

Barbara Jensen weave example

She discusses the braid here: Why a change to a braiding technique? There are four reasons why I decided to work with braiding: it is a traditional technique, the way light is emitted and spread inside the structure, complex light patterns, and independency in the manufacturing process.

‚Äď p.73 of Jansen-PhD thesis book-digital version-2015.pdf, available here:¬†

Barbara¬†had 30 minutes for the¬†solo part of her defence, but only used 15 ‚Äď for the performance, then she stopped. She¬†didn’t clarify what her research question was, or how she came to it. She didn’t contextualise her research or tell us about her contributions. Doing so would have made the defence¬†impeccable. Personally, I think¬†it should have been split 10/10/10 or even 15/15, with the performance as it was and then the theoretical approach and contribution providing intellectual rigour. Lucky for her,¬†Prof Nithikul Nimkulrat, from the Estonian Academy of Arts was the opponent in charge of the rebuttal and she did an excellent job, teasing out all of the information we sorely needed. Impressively thorough.

Judging from the associated (17) publications, it could perhaps have been a thesis by publication. I’ve not read them yet, but perhaps they fill the gaps? At any rate,¬†Dr Jensen should be celebrating. It’s lovely, rigorous creative work.