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'Becoming Diagrammatic'

MRes Arts & Culture practice-led research outcomes

Claire Scanlon

University of Brighton, 2016-18

'Becoming Diagrammatic' was a creative practice Masters research project, investigating how conceptual art drawing intersects with the speculative idea of the imagethought in post-continental non-philosophy.


It made use of the relatively new interdisciplinary field of Diagrammatology to situate the study ‘at the borderlines’ between phenomenology, ontology, and semiotics (Stjernfelt 2007), framed by Laruelle’s speculative new genre of philo-fiction.

The practical outcomes of this research project were realised through a performative, non-philosophical methodology, as a series of 'postures'.

MRes abstract.jpg
diagrammatic abstract for MRes Thesis

Posture 1: Geometer

A series of 21 A1 graphite pencil drawings from which a set of 12 A5 digital prints, and a ‘diagrammatic’ wallpaper design have been produced.


The set of 12 images indicate the trajectory of my ‘Imagethought experiments’ in the paradigmatic shift between a meta-philosophical ‘position’ and a non-standard philosophical ‘posture’.


The set is offered up as a ludic opportunity for others to engage in their own imagethought experiments, through the action of re-combination along a horizon of possibility.


Across the set a consistent ‘horizon’ line and poly-optic viewpoint are redolent of a myriorama parlour game.


The diagrammatic wallpaper design works towards another imagethought hypothesis involving a stereoscopic optical experiment which also requires a participatory observer.

series 3x4 rectangle.jpg
'imagethought' box set of 12 A5 digital prints

Posture 2: Doodler/Animateur

As stop-frame chalkboard animation, this diagrammatic doodle is loosely based on notions of automaticity to allow a more ‘naïf’ and less constrained exploration of the abstract drawing of the first series.


In being produced on the vertical at much larger scale and in chalk on blackboard, the mark-making is freed-up to move ‘flexuously’.

'imagethought' stop-frame animation (chalk on blackboard)

Posture 3: Worker/Player


A collaborative ‘game’ tilted Ludicrous Labour, in which each participant worker/player holds a dual but simultaneous intention in mind (think patting head and rubbing tummy).

1. the action of drawing sculpts the drawing tool by a process of reduction.

2. each participant holds a different desire for their intended ‘sculpture’ in mind, which qualifies the marks they make.

Before drawing/sculpting can begin, the paper support is folded or creased by various methods to increase traction with the mark-making tool.


Both the ‘drawing’ and ‘sculpture’ (which is never achieved) are residues of the expenditure of ‘labour’. Turns are taken, with each participant working until they are tired or bored. The game ends when all the available surface has been covered with graphite.

P+C+J+D 01-07-18.JPG
completed 'ludicrous labour' drawing (four participant labourer/players)

Posture 4: Meta-Modeller


A set of laser-etched acrylic models, which bring together Plato’s classical philosophical diagram of ‘the divided line’ with my own diagrammatic model of non-philosophy.


They are designed to be used experimentally as a research-creation tool.

5plato's divided line divided by non-phi
4plato's divided line divided by revised
laser-etched acrylic models 

Posture 5: Scholar


A set of diagrammatic drawings made as ‘learning machines’ through the duration of this MRes project.

In this posture the diagram functions heuristically to help understand key concepts and texts.

LD guide to time 22-01-18.JPG
learning machine - 'a guide to time for chronolexics'
paulclaire silhouette.jpg
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