August 8, 2017

Yesterday. When someone asks me the question: ‘What one thing would you really like to do or be?’, I’ve no answer. I’ve never had an answer. Perhaps, there’s nothing and no one that I want to do or be. Perhaps, I don’t want to do or be only one thing. Perhaps, I’m doing or being it already. Perhaps, these realisations are yet to come. But I do know, assuredly, what I don’t want to do or be. And those things can take as much determination and energy to resist and put to rout as positive aspirations require to resolve and achieve.

9.00 am: Studiology. The cause of the hum heard on plugging the Roland device into the turntable mixer was established. As I suspected, the source was too ‘hot’ for the input. Now I have experiment with a mini-mixer in front of the turntable mixer in order to push two separate stereo signals outputs into one stereo input. But this could both compromise the sound quality and increase the ‘noise’ floor of the devices. It wouldn’t be a solution so much as a different presentation of the same problem as the one that I’m trying to resolve. I’ll purchase a 4-channel mixer and test the hypothesis.

I opened the conference folder again, and continued drafting the call for papers. One has to demonstrate an authority over the theme. This takes time and thought and more than a morning’s labour. The work continued after lunch. A solid structure emerged for the first section: ‘Sound in the Bible’. By mid afternoon, I’d made my first assault on the second section: ‘The Bible as Sound’. By the close of the afternoon, I was confident of the spread and division of ideas.

Today. 8.30 am: Into the rain, onto the Old College, for a 9.00 am PhD Fine Art tutorial, followed by another at 10.00 pm. The conversation, in both cases, was drawn to concerns and endeavours that were peripheral to the work, but nonetheless important. Art forms within a gas cloud made up of many different and contiguous elements associated with our life in the broadest sense: circumstances, predilections, personality traits, psychological profile, enthusiasms, opinions, flaws, virtues, commitments, and much more besides. Some of these things inevitably seep into the forum of tutee-tutor discussions. And that’s no bad thing.

11.30 am: A PhD Fine Art tutorial via Skype. Something occurs when two people are physically present in the same space at the same time that doesn’t attend a virtual or remote conversation:

So, is embodiment crucial? (Coincidently, the same question emerged from a tutorial with a PhD Fine Art tutee at the beginning of the afternoon.) Perhaps, there’s comfort and consolation to be had in the company of another, even when talking just business. Presence confirms mutuality. ‘The evolution of the arm’:

2.35 pm: Postgraduate admin beckoned. 4.00 pm: A gratuitous (in the best sense of that word) tutorial with an undergraduate painter. 5.15 pm: Homeward.

6.30 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: Studiology. Hypothesis testing. The Roland and Deck 1 were routed into the new mixer. Its output was, in turn, sent to the line inputs of the deck mixer. Success (I think). There was no increase in the floor level noise, no loss of signal integrity, and no difficulty achieving unity gain on recording and playback throughout the system:

The final half of the evening was set aside for preparing intercessions, which I’ll deliver at Holy Communion on Sunday morning.

Some principles and observations derived the today’s engagements:

  • There’s only one thing worse than failure, and that’s the inability to recognise it.
  • This is normative artistic experience: a vacillation between confidence and insecurity, dedication and detachment, fulfilment and dissatisfaction, and passion and dispassion.
  • I’ve never known a perpetually upbeat, certain, happy, and satisfied artist who ever made anything worthwhile.
  • Be the artist that you wish to be rather than the artist that others want you to be.
  • It’s better to fail on your own terms than to succeed on those of others.
  • An artwork may serve as a substitutionary presence for the artist in absentia.
  • It’s more worthy and harder to do one thing very well than many things merely adequately. (Multiplicity is the refuge of the mediocrity.)
  • Wisdom in choosing and fortitude in following the right path.
  • With art, you’re always learning on the job.
  • It’s possible to be successful doing something that you dislike. But the artwork produced thereby is like unto an unwanted and unloved child.
  • There are certain circumstances, tasks, and relationships that bring out the best in us. If only we could engage such exclusively.
  • Having found the truth, one must proceed to discover it.
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