November 17, 2017

8.00 am: A communion. I began reading Isaiah, chapter 9, verses 1 to 7 in preparation for my Advent Light talk at Holy Trinity Church on 8 December. For me, its important to live inside a text for some time before inviting others to enter. 9.00 am: Studiology. I reviewed Monday’s tentative beginnings of the jazz/hywl composition before re-opening Turn Table. My encounter with Basquiat’s work on Wednesday had enabled me to see opportunities within the composition that were previously obscured. Quite how his influence has affected my work has more to do with an attitude than an idea or a process. But it just goes to show how important is the habit of exposing oneself to other artists’ work. 10.45 am: I directed a copy of the mixdown of the composition to my discerning ‘external ear’ for a critical review.

Back, then, to the earlier pierce. I’d learned something from the revision of Turn Table that gave me greater confidence when it came to opening it up again. Progress (or, at best, evolution) was painfully slow; it had to be, this was a difficult and delicate operation requiring me to listen attentively from the beginning to the end of the composition every time a new element was added:

Thoughts about PhDs in Fine art and Art History, extracted from a Messenger exchange during the morning:

  • Do you have to be self-reflective to be in charge of what you’re doing?
  • If you’re an intuitive and instinctual artist, and that works for you, why screw it up by trying to be intellectual and systematic?
  • The idea of self-reflective research in fine art practice would hardly have occurred to artists such as C├ęzanne, Picasso, and Braque. They’d have preferred to ‘theorise’ over a bottle of wine in a cafe rather than on paper.
  • Self reflection: a self conscious, critical analysis with a view to discerning what was, is, and is to come.
  • Sometimes the issue is not one of aptitude but, rather, of necessity.
  • The right thing at the wrong time.
  • What I wanted to do was to develop a context for me work. That’s always been pre-eminently important. I don’t need to do a PhD to reflect upon my practice. That takes place in situ.But I do need to know the traditions in which I work.
  • Two parallel streams (art history and art practice), converging only within oneself.
  • Borderers (like those on the Welsh Marches and the Salopian edge): living and crossing over between two countries and counties. One can be a borderer between disciplines. too.

2.00 pm: After lunch I made a dash for the finishing line of the text-to-beat alignment. Along the way, small adjustments were made to the duration of the samples. It takes an inordinate amount of time to generate just three minutes of composition. But, then again, some of the best singles ever released were shorter. 5.00 pm: The evening began to draw in:

7.30 pm: I began work on my introduction for The dementia project at the Royal Commission on Wednesday. Once I’ve written the first paragraph, I know where I am in respect to the tone of the piece, its density, pace, and unfolding.

 

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