January 14, 2016

9.00 am. It’s a blessing to see a different cloudscape:


I released the feedback forms for my second and third year Painting modules. None of my students have anything to be ashamed of, and all have everything to work for. For my part, the challenge is to construct a bespoke plan of action for each, in collaboration with their intent. During this next semester, as they assume complete responsibility for their subject matter and course of action for the first time, the stabilisers will be finally removed from the back wheels of their bikes; they’ll be free to travel wherever they like, as fast as they like, and … to loose their balance off.

9.30 am. Back into the sound studio, and on with a revision of Image and Inscription‘s section 2. The first task was to apply the principles that improved section 1. The second task, to align the pace of this section with that of its predecessor. To do so, I had, in my mind’s ear, to listen to a metronome without a beat. In order to get back into the composition again, it has to be torn apart and reassembled. Breaking and making are inextricably linked. 11.45 am. Section 3 was in the preparatory stages only when I’d last attended to it. As such, the possibilities remained wide open. In order to advance the piece, I needed to return to the drones that I’d derived from the sound of the texts’ engraving. A significant shift in the tonal complexion of the composition, in toto, was now called for.

1.40 pm. Section 3 deals with Moses descent from Mount Sinai and his recount to the Israelites of the God’s speech on the summit. The scene ends with the people, corporately, voicing their promise to uphold his will. This would be dramatic moment at which the tonal shift occurs. A loud clamour range out from the studio monitors:


At the close of the section, I alluded to Moses’ second ascent (Exodus 19.8). The move will permits section 4 to start at verse 9 and on the Mount, with the voice of God: a further and far greater dramatic moment.

6.20 pm. Practice session 1. 7.20 pm. A review of sections  2 and 3, and the commencement of section 4 . The sound at the opening is very dark and heavy — like a chorus of overdriven electric guitars —  in keeping with the threats and forebodings described in verses 9 to 13. I’ve been struck by God’s pronouncement : ‘Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee …’ (Exodus 19. 9). Obscurity and proximity:


Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, woodcut (15th-16th centuries) (courtesy of Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts)

I have been looking at old prints depicting Moses on Mount Sinai throughout the project. The woodcut renderings emblematise events; little by way of an emotional content is expressed.

8.30 pm. I gathered up material, sent to me by Mr Ruddock (one of my PhD Fine Art students), in preparation for the ‘Strata: Art and Science Collaborations in the Anthropocene’ symposium, tomorrow. He’d called upon me to chair the final session.

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