May 20, 2017

Yesterday. The postgraduates put pay to a hard week’s work; the floors of the studios and galleries were swept; the building prepared; and what was not to be seen, hidden. At some point during the morning, the new Vice Chancellor made her first visit to the department. (A good day so to do; we looked busy.) Amid all this, I headed (lunch in bag) to the Arts Centre Gallery, where Mr Ruddock was finalising the installation of his PhD Fine Art exhibition. It looked and sounded terrific — reminiscent of the set from a sci-fi film:

Photo: courtesy of Jess Rose and Julian Ruddock

5.20 pm: Closure. (I recalled Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, and Robert Ryman.):

Today. 8.30 am: Second year feedback reports poked me in the ribs. One must stay on top of these things. (Some Mahavishnu Orchestra in the background, and an afternoon to look forward to.) At a time when jobs in the HE sector are under threat, and perfectly decent art schools are being forced to close, I treasure each moment (however irksome). ‘Change and decay’ will come (as it has, ever since I took up my academic career). One’s own standing, achievements, occupation, wherewithal, determinations, resources, and opportunities are fragile and insecure at best. An end may not be in sight but, be sure, it’s travelling towards me (like an asteroid on a collision course) from afar off. All will, one day, be smashed to dust. As the novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson remarked to me, some years ago: ‘It’s all just straw and stubble in the end’. Let it go, rejoicing.

11.30 pm: By mid morning, I’d caught up on my write-ups. On, then, to further postgraduate admin until 12.30 pm. (In the background: Henry Purcell’s Funeral Music for Queen Mary (1695). I’m making a connection, mentally and emotionally, between the drumming accompaniment on his compositions and my exercises with clicks and scratches for [‘The Talking Bible’] project.) 12.30 pm: Lunch at the Crimson Rhino.

1.45 pm: I’d promised The Ego magazine a short article on my recent 24-hour stint at the National Library of Wales. Notes to that end were made.

3.00 pm: Off to the annual Opening:

 

The smaller show, this year, permitted more walkway space which, in turn, gave the visitors free course to move around the galleries without getting into a sweat. Murmurs of excitement and approval could be overheard. I did my round of documentary photography, tweets, and empty-cup collecting. (One ought to remain useful and mobile on these occasions.) In some ways, the show is always the same and always different — the intersection of a continuity of teaching and unique individuals.

6.30 pm: An evening with my wife.

 

 

 

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