This world of ours, and worlds unseen,
And thin the boundary between.
(Josiah Conder, 1824).
8.30 am. In this world: the Monday morning ‘liturgy’ — the opening and dispatch of emails, an allocation of tutorials and classes, and a revision of module materials that I’ll use this week. The overarching objective is to economize on time, corral kindred activities, and release sufficient blocks of time for meaningful research.
10.00 am. I returned to processing image files for The Floating Bible artwork while, again, endeavouring to achieve further efficiencies in respect to time and effort. Errors, anomalies (that weren’t manifest during the test phase), and lapses inevitably creep in, slowing down progress. (‘Thorns and thistles’.) Previous gains were lost, while new ones were found; new problems (unconsidered) arose and earlier ones (ill-considered), solved. Nothing is either simple or easy when it’s serious. By 11.30 am, Matt. 19.4 was completed. I needed, then, to test the lateral accumulation of stretched words for the longest verse: Matt. 20.23.
Throughout the morning, I’d dipped into my photograph album to remind myself of those painting students with whom I’d graduated in 1981. (What draws one back to a specific period in the past? Something is afoot.):
How many of them are still practising … still in ‘this world’? The men’s names don’t yield any results on either FaceBook, Twitter, or Google. The women (some of whom will have married and changed their surname) are equally invisible. Perhaps our generation didn’t warm to social media. Ann Evans (far left) was a survivor of the Aberfan disaster in 1966. Max Palacz (far right) was a very fine painter in the mold of Serge Poliakoff. Of all of us, Max seemed most likely to break through. You can never tell.
My third year paintings were semi-abstract evocations of the post-industrial landscape around Abertillery, south Wales, where I grew up. Left: Vale No. 3 (1981), mixed media on canvas, 6′ x 6′; right: Vale No. 2 (1981) acrylic, gouache, and graphite on board, 6″x 6″:
Albert Irvin was our external examiner.
2.00 pm. Now … a world away. An afternoon of file processing, with a view to completing the process (at least) by the close of the day. 4.00 pm. Sunlight through the rain, through the glass (the thin boundary between the interior and exterior worlds):
6.15 pm. Practice session 1. 7.30 pm. In the evening session, I marked up tomorrow’s lecture. It’s the first time I’ve read the script since writing it; so, I find it useful to refamiliarize myself with the content and dynamics. The mouth is a very different vehicle of transmission from the keyboard.
Alongside, I completed a 2-minute sound piece derived from the noise that my flatbed scanner made when scanning the words ‘flatbed scanner’:
The output was, then, un-synchronously superimposed and looped. I’ve neither topped and tailed the piece, nor added any modulation or effects. It’s very bald. The composition will be sent to a colleague of mine, who’s also a practising noise artist/musician. He’ll engage with the piece and transform it into something far better. He, in turn, will send me a sound sample, and I’ll endeavour to do the same. It struck me that the idea could be extended by recording the scan at different dpi settings (each of which sound would have a somewhat different speed and pitch, in all likelihood), and integrating the variations as a whole.
9.40 Practice session 2. 10.30 pm. ‘The Night Watch’. I completed the processing of word stretches for today’s verse and made a mock up of its insertion into the recto template. The completed image suggests the possibility of a much larger scale rendering of the formation, in paint. But, for me, a possibility is not credible solely on the basis of a visual potential. It needs to have, also, a coherent concept that allies form and content to persuade my resolve.