December 6, 2016

8.30 am. A milder, still air. The uncertain outcome that will ensue an uncertain Brexit (Does this word really need to be capitalised?) casts a shadow over my conversations with European students regarding their possible future at the School. We value their presence among us; they enrich the culture and community of our family considerably. 9.00 am: A consultation with one such student was followed by a period of admin. 10.00 am: On with the first of the morning’s MA Fine Art tutorials. Sometimes tutorials are a context for discussing things other than the artwork at hand. Our thoughts touch upon values, psychologies, attitudes, aspirations, and expectations that reach towards the very boundaries of our lives.

11.10 am: Vocational Practice, where we examined the principles and pitfalls of assessment. This group has conspicuous common sense. 1.15 pm: Over lunch, and until mid afternoon, I continued with the MA Fine Art tutorials. We are all pushing forward against the gravity of accumulated tiredness, life’s complexities, and various impediments. The effort in palpable, on both sides of classroom. 2.00 pm: The final MA Fine Art tutorial of the day.

3.00 pm: After a half hour’s postgraduate admin, I held a PhD Fine Art tutorial with one of our ‘distance’ students. (They’d set off from home for their tutorial at 4.00 am in the morning. Now that’s commitment!) There’re times in a tutorial when ideas rise above both the tutee and the tutor and blossom like an exploding firework. This was one. 4.45 pm: A final Art/Sound advisory session.

6.45 pm: Practise session 1. 7.30 pm: Further administrations, of the bitty kind. Some progress is being made on gaining access to Port Talbot Steel Works, in order to photograph and record the plant in operation. There’s, too, some hope now that the steel works may remain open. This is good news for both the plant and the locality. Perhaps my sound composition will have a happy ending after all.

I began gathering together equipment (oscillators, sound devices, cables, and adapters) in readiness for the Art/Sound module’s biennial hour of outrageous noise on Thursday at 9.00 am.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s encounters:

  • Who you are and what you do are related, but not the same. On occasions we need to stop doing in order to concentrate on being.
  • A great deal of the art of the past is extant; in this sense at least, it’s still contemporary.
  • Great ideas don’t date.
  • Before all else, be yourself.
  • When making art, forget art.
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