October 19, 2015

Commune with your own heart, and in your chamber, and be still (Psalm 4.4)

8.45 am. Post-communion. A sift through incoming mail and a some further work on this afternoon’s Abstraction class materials. I’ve sheaves of material related to essay and dissertation writing, developed over the years for modules which I no longer teach. I should aggregate the best bits into a general document for my art history modules. Today, I’ll issue a slip that the students can fill out anonymously, the returns on which should help me refine any further advice that needs to be issued on essay technique:

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10.15 am. A little research admin before … data bending (which sounds far more exhausting and excruciating than it really is), again. Working with the same engraving that I’d addressed on Saturday, I took the RAW file version of the BPM format of the source image and re-imported it into Adobe Photoshop. The result: an instant abstraction of quite extraordinary complexity and austerity. I wish I could make paintings like this:

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‘Rhoddiad y Ddeddf’ [Conferring the Act] (tonal inversion)

When imported into Adobe Audition as a sound file and slowed by 800%, the image sounded like a low frequency rumble. This was an apposite evocation of the thunder on the mountain which accompanied the manifestation of God to Moses.

Yesterday afternoon, I read through the full account of the patriarch on Mount Sinai. I now need to undertake a fairly close textual study to ensure that the context of the text, and the nature of the sound phenomena described therein, is adequately comprehended.

1.40 pm. After lunch, I travelled to the School and set up in readiness for the 2.10 pm Abstraction class which, today, was on:

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This type of session is more informative than interesting, more to be endured than engaged. Nevertheless, it was necessary (in my opinion). My ambition is that no student should pitch below a 2.1 mark for either assignment. After all, why should they?

3.15 pm. Post-class admin back at homebase. Then, back to the data bending (lubricated with small glass of ginger beer and a few squares of dark chocolate). The source image was converted into postscript, imported into MS Word, converted in a RAW file, and, finally, imported into Adobe Photoshop. In this instance, the output has a brooding abstract ambience, not out of keeping with that evoked by the figurative envisioning of the biblical narrative:

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I’m hitting the boundaries of the technique in relation to this particular image. At this point, one either backs off or tries for a breakthrough.

6.30 pm. Practice session 1. 7.30 pm. Off to the Arts Centre to wish Nigel Thomas (one of the pillars of the university, and a man who has kept Information Services prospering) to wish him a fond farewell and smooth transition into retirement:

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In the background to the occasion, Kate Saunders, one of our Fine Art alumni, was playing an Appalachian dulcimer (new one on me) with her folk band:

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8.30 pm. Back at home, I updates websites, and finalised prep work for tomorrow’s MA Vocational Practice class. 9.30 pm Practice session 2.

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