October 28, 2015

8.50 am. At the School: the first half hour was given over to postgraduate admin. (Wednesday is my focal-day for the activity.) Each week, I rid my office of dead paperwork associated with defunct modules and administrative roles. I came across a box file of teaching material produced for the School’s (then, department’s) Foundation in Art Course, which began in 1986. I ran it, single-handedly, as a distance-learning provision; students came from all over, as well as from outside, Wales:

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9.30 am. An essay tutorial with one of the students on my Abstraction module. There’s some mileage in discussing the preliminaries to essay writing in terms of the students’ preparations for image making: notational studies, compositional sketches, drafts/proofs, etc. 10.00 am. In my role as second supervisor, I held a tutorial with one of our PhD Fine Art students. Another box of words; this time, of Aboriginal origin:

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11.10 am. Homebase, and on with a review of PhD Fine Art text submissions. Writing about one’s own work in a detached, precise, reasoned, and methodical manner is a tough call. Many students have considered this to be the most demanding aspects of the PhD. It’s the acid test of whether an artist really knows what they’re doing. There’ll always be a dimension of our practice that extends into a place where words cannot go. But while we cannot know our work exhaustively, we can know it (and ourselves) sufficiently.

1.40 pm. Back to words, and to the source text for the Image and Inscription sound work (Exodus 19-20). I read through the account of Moses reception of the Ten Commandments, paying particular attention to descriptions of the concomitant sounds and natural, physical phenomenon: thunder, lighting, smoke, fire, quakes:

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There are a number of recurrent motifs and patterns that are adaptable as instructions and ideas for sound composition: dark tonality (the cloud); voices (of God, Moses, and the people); repetition, recitation, and restatement (God’s words to Moses, and Moses’ words to the people); a sustained note of a trumpet; and the sound of a trumpet that gets progressively louder.

6.30 pm. Practice session 1. 7.30 pm. ‘The trumpet shall sound’. The objective was to construct a sound that evoked, rather than imitated, a trumpet blast, using the material that I’ve gleaned from the sound of the engraved image, plate, and vinyl recording. This will not be like rolling off a log. By the end of the evening, I’d nailed my source sound.

10.30 pm. ‘The Night Watch’. I dispatched a backlog of alumni job references.

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