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  • Bolor Amgalan

Wk2_Tuesday: Impetus for Research

We started the class with a writing exercise reflecting on a past experience. We picked a past experience based on the kind of creative impulse that we felt at the time of the experience. I picked an experience that was characterized by the same kind of curiosity and willingness to try different things to find out more of something. The feeling is that of a pursuit for knowledge and clarification of many things that happen on a personal level.

When I picked what I would study at university, I considered many different possible careers in biochemical engineering to ancient history and education. At the end of the day, I think I based my decision on the answer to a very simple question: "Imagine that all you have is a shabby little shed, and you live a very simple life. What can you do all day, every day, and still be happy?" Both my parents wanted me to do something I wanted to do, and this question was something my brother asked when I couldn't decide.

As a kid, I grew up making all kinds of things, mostly using soft materials, from paper to fabrics. I would make things and give them as gifts to family members. I learned to sew while watching my grandma make traditional Mongolian dresses (called 'deel'). I think I started using a manual sewing machine when I was no older than four years old. I quickly transitioned to an automatic machine with a foot pedal when I was 5. Once, after my mum had left for work (and I'm assuming my dad and my brother were also not home at the time since I was alone), I took out her automatic sewing machine just so I can try to run the machine, not to sew something, but to just see how it would run, with a few stitches on a scrap piece of fabric. This resulted in the machine needle almost penetrating into my right index finger. Luckily the needle didn't go all the way through my nail. Around seven or eight, my dad taught me how to do pattern-making properly.

So it wasn't a very hard decision after all to pick fashion design. I do think however that it was the making that I loved, not necessarily or exclusively the fashion design part. The excitement one gets from seeing the form they had in mind materialize into a physical thing in front of their eyes is simply addictive.

So after a degree in Fashion and Textiles and a master's in Material Futures, I wanted to keep making things, but in an environment that fostered new ideas and provided me with the resources to materialize them. This led me to DT.

In the first year of DT, I worked part-time as a research assistant (RA) in the MFA Textiles department. So my Impetus Statement is based on both my experience as an RA and my Major Studio one final project experience.



1. What kinds of creative intentions are motivating your thesis topic? Are you trying to solve a problem, ask a critical question, inform a specific audience?

2. Think of a time that you had a similar creative impulse to make something. What were the first three things you did, and did they help your process or not?

My intention is to use textile or craft specific features to enhance the AR or VR or XR experience because I believe that the familiar tactile qualities evoked by textiles/craft will make the digital experience less intimidating, more intuitive and perhaps also more accessible. This involves figuring out what I mean by textile/craft FEATURES and which features specifically lend themselves best for this purpose. It's a search for a good enough answer where there is very little known about what constitutes good or bad answers.

The last time I had this kind of intention where I wanted to re-purpose textiles/craft was when I worked as research assistant in MFA Textiles. Although our research intention was clear in the beginning, for some reason we did not take on this intent head on, and instead decided to explore the general research area - get a feel of it - through playful making with very little focus. In my opinion, the making was too open-ended which equated to a lot of time put towards refining and making the research more directed, only to arrive at the initial research intent. The strategy would have worked if we had at least twice the amount of time than what I actually had to make prototypes. The time I did have was significant but not enough to follow such an exploratory process in the beginning, and this time could probably have been best used to make and test not to make to find the research intent. Any playful making should perhaps still have some intent. Perhaps there was intent, but it was not communicated to me clearly.

Another time when I had similar intentions was in Major Studio 1 when I purposefully established for myself a much smaller project scope and began the process with something other than textiles that related to textiles to then re-purpose textiles using that thing as a medium. That thing in this case was mathematics, more precisely base conversion and modulo arithmetic. For these two projects, the first three things I did were:


For this kind of project about craft/textile/making:

  • It appears that deciding on technique early helps.

  • It appears that thinking about application early (as second step) helps

  • It appears that making/testing early (as third real thing I execute) helps

  • It appears that changing mind (technique-wise or otherwise) before fully exploring one technique is not good if the research intent is not well established.


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