7.45 am: A communion. 8.30 am: off to the School:
Back into the fray:
A number of students had made an early start. Good on them! The overcast weather came as a blessing. Yesterday’s resplendent sunshine generated a formidable heat in the studios. It’s an annual challenge. The studios go from Saharan conditions in the day to Antarican, at night. The temperature variation can play havoc with adhesive tape, sticky pads, and other modes of temporary fixing.
11.00 am: On with collating papers and preparing for marking. For the next few weeks, my feet won’t touch the ground.
After lunch, I toured the zones and awaited Dr Forster’s availability for an early MA assessment. I’m like raw meat to flies presently. Students buzzed about me. Advice was disposed on a first come first served, need to know, basis. Slowly but surely, the exhibition spaces are filled.
7.30 pm: Adminy things. I’m itching to get on with ‘Born Blind’, but deadlines are pressing. The dreaded Postgraduate Student Monitoring Round was initiated. I can’t politely express how much of a chore this is, annually.
Some observations and principles derived from today’s engagements:
- Don’t ask a tutor a question for which you should already have an answer.
- There’s a dimension to art that’s utterly mysterious and inexplicable. Some theologians have spoken of this as, metaphorically, its ‘sacramental’ quality. Just as the bread and wine of the Eucharist is that on one level, but far more in terms of both its significance and materiality on another, so also artworks transcend their self-evident nature to point elsewhere and to something that’s deep within, and far beyond, us.
- Is there an ideal elevation at which to hang an artwork? The principle of eye-level is problematic because it assumes a common height on the part of the percipients. Moreover, some artworks, by dint of their conceptual nature and formal attributes, need to be positioned either way below or way above eye-level. The notion of eye-level is bound to that of the horizon line which, in turn, is rooted in the tradition of the figurative landscape genre. Why should the conditions of one mode of art dictate those of another?
- Every practice worth its salt requires a discipline. Discipline is what makes the artwork difficult to do. Artfulness is what makes the artwork appear effortless in its execution.
- We are our own worse enemies. Therefore others are theirs, too. Rather than fight one another, we should commiserate and join forces in helping each other to resist our common foe. Love, understanding, patience, and practical care must be at the bedrock of any working relationship.