February 16, 2016

8.40 am. A sharp and enlivening morning. 9.00 am. A minor amaryllis disaster had taken place. It was on the floor of my office, soil strewn about, one stem bent. How could this have happened? Had the pot had toppled in the direction of the flower bells (the weight of which may have otherwise pulled the plant over), the spill would have been on the desk only. There’s no draft in the room, and no one would have entered it after I’d left yesterday evening. This was odd.

I aimed to get my inbox to ‘0’ unread by 10.00 am, when I held an MA Fine Art tutorial:


11.00 am. The inbox had already began to fill, like a leaking boat. 11.30 am. A displaced second year fine art tutorial. 12.00 pm. An undergraduate dissertation tutorial. Some observations and principles from today’s engagements:

  • The simpler the visual proposition, the greater the responsibility each element has to contribute to the whole.
  • One’s attraction to an object is for particular reasons. Identify and paint them alone.
  • Better to write as you speak than as another person writes.
  • Dissemble the problem; assemble the solution.
  • There’s a way that seems right, but which leads nowhere.
  • Mistakes are inevitable, in all departments of one’s life. Reckon on it!
  • Assume the folly of all things, then endeavour to discover the wisdom of some.
  • This little life will be too soon over. Among our greatest regrets at the end will be our idle days.


2.30 pm. A PhD Fine Art tutorial for the remainder of the afternoon. She came bearing gifts:


Once of the most satisfying aspects of this job is the quality of the conversation that I’ve enjoyed with the PhD students in particular. Often the content of our exchanges ranges wide of the student’s topic. I’m staggered at their generosity of spirit. I’m made privy to aspects of their lives (which somehow always curve back towards their work) to which few others have access. In this vein, I wrote to one of my charge, yesterday:

With you, conversation seems to be a process that leads to realisation. Interestingly, the term ‘conversation’ in the 17th and 18th centuries meant far more than a discussion or engagement. It encompassed the art of living and of speaking, and one’s social associations. In the Authorised King James version of the Bible (1611), the term also included the way we live our lives. Your ‘conversation’ seems to embrace many of those complexions; in other words, what you say is drawn from the matrix of who you are, what you believe, and what you hope for.


7.30 pm. After dinner on the town, I pushed on with my ‘Ways of Working with Sound’ workshop, with Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening (1989) playing in the near distance.



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