Complexity, affect, aesthetics, relationality,
entanglement and the nature of experience.
The focus of my research involves the study of the dynamics and evolutionary processes of urban environments from a posthuman perspective, informed by object-oriented and symmetrical theoretical frameworks, recognizing the agency of objects in complex systems and relational human/nonhuman events, processes and sociotechnical assemblages.
This research is transdisciplinary, merging the methods, perspectives and theories of art, design, philosophy, sociology, ethnography and anthropology towards better understanding complex urban phenomena and the aesthetic nature of meaning and experience that arises from spatiotemporal relationalities.
My research seeks new ways of exploring the aesthetic dimensions of infrastructures and patterns of practices as affective ambiences and topologies of rhythms, undercurrents and energies, with a focus on the sensory, affective and emotional dimensions of urban environments and the role of sensibilities and embodied awarenesses in the evolution of ways of being.
Drawing upon such scholars as Whitehead, Heidegger, Harman, James, Latour, Merleau-Ponty, Massumi and others, my research seeks to further develop these theories as well as the possibilities offered by phenomenology as an orientation.
Thesis title: "The Phenomenology of Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City"
My PhD thesis, completed in March 2018, examined the urban traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam from a metaphysical and philosophical perspective in order to analyze the relationship between perception, experience and practice. The study used a video-narrative approach, revealing ways in which meaning emerges through our relationships with objects, both material and immaterial, including affective atmospheres, and how tacit knowledge and pre-conscious skills are used in negotiating this unique traffic system. This approach provides an alternative and complementary approach to the study of traffic that differs from other more technologically driven methods or approaches that view traffic systems in universal terms.
This research project resulted in a monograph thesis and was nominated for an outstanding doctoral thesis award by the examiner. The examiner commented that:
"Glenn Wyatt’s thesis contributes a profoundly original and insightful philosophical approach through which to see, understand and reflect on pervasive, everyday infrastructures. I will be thinking of many of the insights and provocations included in this thesis for years to come. It is without any hesitation that I recommend this thesis be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, without any changes required."
"...this is an exceptional PhD study: poignant in its purpose, unique in its approach, surprising in its insights and beautifully written."
My PhD Thesis entitled The Phenomenology of Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City may be downloaded from the QUT ePrints repository at https://doi.org/10.5204/thesis.eprints.120284
I am currently writing an academic book entitled The Phenomenology of Traffic: Experiencing Mobility in Ho Chi Minh City, due to be published through Routledge/Taylor and Francis next year (2020) as part of their book series Ambiances, Atmospheres and Sensory Experiences of Spaces.
The project also resulted in experimental or “phenomenological” videos, an example of which may be viewed here:
This PhD study is a continuation of my interest in the evolution of cities and cultural studies, beginning with my Master’s thesis, which explored the impact of processes of globalization on governance and identity in Singapore in 2003.