September 8, 2015

O wretched man that I am! (Rom. 7.24)

8.30 am:


On with a little prepping for this morning’s Research Supervisors’ Training session (to which I contribute three times a year), and with examination administration for the forthcoming MA exhibition, while setting up the structure for the fifth Abstraction lecture. (I’m on schedule.)  Happily, several worthwhile exhibitions of abstract art will be on show during the period of the module’s delivery: Jackson Pollock at Tate, Liverpool and Peter Lanyon at The Courtauld Institute, London.

In the background, I played recordings of King Crimson‘s live concerts from the early noughties, in anticipation of those that I’ll be attending at the weekend. After forty years a faithful fan, I finally (and against all expectations) get to see them perform:

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 10.04.21

I don’t work to music at home all of the time, and at the School, none of the time. There are some tasks that require my undiluted attention. Admin isn’t one of them. I rarely write to music and I cannot make images other than in silence. (To produce sound works to music would be like painting while watching TV.) There are, recent research suggests, productive benefits to be gained from working to music. But not all music is for everyone at all times. For example, I love Bach, but his compositions distract me; they tickle the cognitive processes too much and demand my full attention.

11.30 am. Off, up the hill to the Research Supervisors’ Training session at the Cledwyn Building:


A solid, honest, and genuinely helpful session. I always come away having learned something new. (And, I’m one of the teachers!) The Home Office’s heavy-handed approach to monitoring the coming and going of so-called Tier 4 postgraduate students is nothing short of unwelcoming, distrustful, and draconian. Small wonder students are preferring instead to study in European countries, the USA, and Australia, where young and ambitious foreigners are embraced with enthusiasm and compassion. So, our government’s reticence to positively engage with refugees relief should come as no surprise either. It stems from the same attitude.

2.00 pm. I’m hungry, now! A light lunch and a heavy discussion with Professor Zwiggelaar from Computer Science, at the Arts Centre:


We had an initial discussion about digital processes whereby images can be analysed, converted into a bitstream, and translated into sound. (The reverse traffic was also considered.) This is pioneering work. I feel out of my depth … which is the best place to be. If this is successful (and such a project comes with no guarantee), I’ll be able to transcend the limitations of the databending process, and move beyond the methods of textual/visual, visual/sonic, and textual/sonic translation and codification that undergird The Pictorial Bible series and The Aural Bible II projects. A new phase of inquiry is about to open.

3.00 pm. Back at homebase, I caught up postgraduate admin that had accrued in my absence and began writing the introduction for the fifth lecture of the Abstraction module.

6.30 pm. Practice session 2. 7.40 pm. I continued with the fifth lecture. Tomorrow, I’ll have space to write up a proposal for the image-sound translation project, which I considered this afternoon, as well as to review the recordings made following the erasure of the Messiah 78 rpm disc.



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