Update!

Whew.

I am no longer working towards a Vision Science PhD.

I have officially converted to a master’s route that will graduate this semester.

I applied to art school for fall 2013.

I stayed silent about this process because coming into a PhD and leaving with a master’s can be an awkward route.  A PhD (in the sciences) is a paid research position.  Funding usually comes out of a mixture of the government’s and your program’s pockets.  You get a salary because people are investing in you.  You will join a lab, produce new ideas, publish papers and secure grants.  These will bring accolades to your lab and to your program.  A master’s typically costs you money – you pay upfront for the knowledge and mentorship that you’ll be getting.  Switching from a PhD to a master’s means that I’ll graduate while on the program’s payroll.

I didn’t want to post anything before I talked it out with my program.  And prospect of talking to my program was somewhat daunting for fear of pissing everyone off by leaving ‘early.’

As it turns out, my mentor’s and colleague’s reactions were nowhere near as one-dimensional as I envisioned them inside my head.  Of course, they don’t want to lose a student, but they were ultimately just concerned with whether or not I was happy here.

After explaining that, while I’m still incredibly curious about the brain, this PhD wasn’t the right venue for me – I officially became a master’s student who is putting together a thesis.

And on to art school (fingers crossed) – where I can focus on making interactive works that explore the brain, but in a more personal way.

We understand the world through interactions.  As we walk around a room, we are bombarded with photons that represent different angles of view of the same physical space.  There’s a constant stream of information that responds to our actions.  Designing interactions allows the manipulation of that stream.  I’m particularly interested in distorting perception of space and time in order to reflect on ‘normal’ experience.

And as for the immediate present, I’ll post another update later on what exactly I’m working on.

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