8.00 am. I set up my devices in preparation for the Art/Sound lecture, and materials in readiness for the ‘Priming Board’ demonstration:
I’ve not presented a talk on painting techniques in over fifteen years. What could have been a rather dull and pedantic account of ‘the way to do it’, felt animated, sweetened with humour, salted with precepts, and genuinely relevant to the students’ practical needs. Today’s art students are far more receptive to this type of instruction. When I was in art school, we actively resisted or, at least, filtered, our education — perceiving it to be constraining, value-loaded, and prescriptive. Better to learn nothing by yourself than something from someone else, we told ourselves. Foolishness!
Some observations, advice, and principles derived from today’s tutorials:
- Discover ways by which to defamiliarise the artwork at hand. Make it look strange to you or other than your own.
- A sense of fun, enjoyment, and fulfilment are not reliable criteria by which to judge the success or otherwise of an artwork.
- However, if there is no fun, enjoyment, and fulfilment in the doing of it, then, something is seriously amiss.
- Resign yourself to producing a great deal of nonsense. It provides the necessary coarse aggregate of your foundations.
- Perhaps we learn more from the mistakes of others than from our own.
- Attend to the process and the product will take care of itself.
- Think and act (conceptualise and practice) together; never one without the other.
- We all have ‘demons’ who insinuate that we’re insufficient for the task. They come in many forms and whisper different lies.
1.20 pm. Lunch in the Old College Quad. The dark plaque opposite my table:
Jones was a celebrated and successful Principal at the, then, University College of Wales Aberystwyth (1927-34), a scholar of ancient history, and a lexicographer. The Latinate inscription is, thus, peculiarly appropriate.
2.00 pm. A full afternoon and some encouraging engagements. I suspect that if a student had sufficient confidence they might be capable of anything. ‘Where is?’, indeed:
Shades of the final scene of Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). Their ‘ghosts’ are present in the studio still: the names of some are visible on the screens and the remains of their pictures, buried beneath gesso and the efforts of current students.
Sandra’s workspace is always a joy to encounter. Sumptuous:
5.15 pm. Closure.
7.30 pm. I uploaded and archived sound files created today and posts to the Art/Sound FaceBook site, completed module admin. and emails for the week, and otherwise cleared my desk in readiness for a return to research tomorrow. I’m considering a performance of La Mont Young’s Composition 1960#7 for electric guitar and effectors. This would form part of the ‘Making a Noise About the School of Art’ series.