January 27, 2016

8.30 pm. I’m endeavouring to become more aware of, and to delimit, what distracts me and what I turn to for a distraction. My proposals:

  • Close down all windows on the computer that are unrelated to the task at hand.
  • Work in silence, where possible.
  • Check and respond to emails periodically, rather than constantly.
  • Post to social media sites once only in each session of the working day.
  • Consult the internet only when relevant to the task in hand.
  • Monitor body posture.
  • Drink less tea and more water.
  • Make time in the day to do nothing.
  • If a distraction is necessary, either read a book, or write something, or learn a scale.

In a letter written in response to a recent PhD Fine Art application, I remarked: ‘your answer will necessarily change the nature of the question’. What we wish to do and what we do do (whether in research or life in general) are bound up with one another. As in jazz improvisation: one musician calls (raises the question), another musician responds (answers to it); the caller, in turn, responds to the answer, and makes another call, and so forth.

10.00 am. A dental appointment, and a protracted period of open-mouthedness while my upper back tooth was excavated (the filing having failed after fifteen years of service) and rebuilt. This was micro-sculpting par excellence:

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11.00 am. Various administrations. 12.00 pm. I gave an introductory talk to students undertaking the BA Fine Art Exhibition 1 & 2 modules. Some principles and observations from today’s engagements:

  • Meaning is not the same as purpose. One can proceed with an artwork without knowing its meaning, but one cannot proceed without some sense of an intent.
  • The intent of a work may be, in part, to arrive at its meaning.
  • Its meaning may be discovered in the process of making.
  • The meaning of the work, thus found, may be of relevance only to the maker.

2.00 pm. The first third year fine art tutorials of the semester. Together, we worked through the comments on the recent feedback form. 3.00 pm. A cancellation gave me an opportunity to return home and attend to tutor/tutee admin and module uploads. My high-end guitar cable had arrived from the USA, costing a good deal of money for a great deal of quality. But it doesn’t get any better than this:

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6.30 pm. Practice session 1. 7.15 pm. I returned to the conspectus and small admin tasks (in tandem). The succession of appallingly poor nights’ sleep over the past few days slowed my progress and tested my attentiveness. I punctuated my writing with reading. Academics disconnect these activities at their peril.

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