Month: June 2016

June 2, 2016

Maxim: Some friendships can be experienced in principle only, rather than in practice also.

9.00 am. To do: medical appointment; cable order; postgraduate monitoring update; tutorial time revisions; and appointments for next week. Then, down to the meat of the day: the sound projects (present and forthcoming). In respect to the latter, I must move forward, even though the realisation of the Port Talbot Steelworks piece may be stymied by the TATA Steel’s (understandable) delay in granting copyright approval to use the glass-plates and their surrogates:

Postcard: The Morgan Works, Port Talbot (c.1930s)

The original Port Talbot steelworks was named after Christopher Rice Mansell Talbot (1803-90). He was a relative of William Fox Talbot, the photographer and pioneer of the salted paper and calotype processes. Thus, the steelworks has had a link to photography beyond that of being being a subject before the lens. The industrial site was constructed between 1901 and 1905. The final two years of its inception coincided with the period of the Welsh Religious Revival. (I cannot let that connection go unreferenced in the sound composition.) The works were closed in 1961, and demolished two years later.

Towards the end of my first year BA Fine Art studies, I made several small landscape pieces informed by the Ebbw Vale steelworks (which lay in the valley parallel to my home town). It’s curious how, often, the germ of the present has been planted decades before it comes to fruition. The past abides:

John Harvey, Industrial Landscape No. 1 (1979), mixed media, 26.5 × 11.5 cm.

Afternoon. Before lunch, I headed for the School to conduct a second supervisor’s annual review interview with one of our current PhD Fine Art students:


After a late lunch, I turned again to the text of the CD booklet and prepared to write the final paragraph. Eventually, there’ll an exhibition booklet (related to the 23 works that made up The Pictorial Bible III: Bible in Translation, exhibited in 2015) and two websites associated with the album. The first website was completed last year, and embodies a 57-part composition, seven hours long, entitled The Floating Bible: Miracle of the Risen Word. (I played the suite during most of the afternoon.) The second website will provide an extended description of those concepts, processes, and techniques that have determined the character of the sound works on the new release.

Evening. I wrote up my report of the afternoon’s interview and proceeded further with my general website updates.

June 1, 2016


8.15 am. En route to the Old College to hold an early morning PhD Fine Art tutorial. In the West Classroom, the residue of the finalists’ last battles with painting and rallying cries still stained the screens:


The room now has additional ‘ghosts’. A memorial to absence:


At 10.00 am, I engaged one of the MA Fine Art students, now proceeding to their second and final exhibition. This has to be completed between now and September, and it’s a tough call by anyone’s standards. The challenge is to better one’s best.

This has been a day for conversations. Some have been conducted face-to-face, others by email. All were of a very different complexion. They entailed expressions of, variously, joy and uncertainty, vision and conviction, determination and clarity, frustration and disappointment, and exasperation and betrayal.

I enjoyed a coffee with a ‘retiring’ finalist at 11.00 am, and a working lunch with my colleague, Dr Roberts, at Tree House. Our business topics covered research collaborations, enhancements to the Art/Sound module, and funding possibilities for the upcoming SteelWorks project.

Afternoon. I finalised some incoming Postgraduate Monitoring admin, and conducted an interview, as second supervisor, in connection with the same. 5.20 pm. Homeward:


Evening. I reviewed the submission of a postgraduate thesis that had required a few amendments before it could be accepted. Rarely does any thesis pass without some changes, these days. Standards! Standards! Thereafter, it was back to updating my CV and website, and responding to related emails. Consistency! Consistency!

May 31, 2016

Maxim: An art historian is just another type of artist.

9.00 am. Since Saturday, I’ve substantially redesigned Handboard 1, introducing a stereo line signal after the first effector (now the EMX Flanger/Hoax), and adding the Rodec/Sherman Restyler, while passing the signal through the compressor/gate, then onto the sampler and D-Loop, and, finally, into the amp’s stereo inputs:

Handboard 1: configuration schematic (May 2016)

One concern remains: whether to route Handboard 1 in series or parallel with Pedalboard I. The latter arrangement would have significant implications for the amplification and recording of the whole system. Sometimes are idea is too complex for its own good:

[SteelWork]: notational configuration schematic for performance (May 2016)

On, then, with a morning of Postgraduate Monitoring admin: responding to email and forms, as well as other inquiries, that had landed over the Bank Holiday weekend.

1,00 pm. ‘The Painters’ Last “Hurrah!”‘: At the eleventh hour, finalist painters and staff shifted venue from Sophie’s café to the Crimson Rhino, where we ‘pastime with good company’ (as Henry VIII put it). A farewell to finals:

The Regiment. From the left: Georgina Gale, Rachel Rae, Carmel Reid, Alison Phillips, Vin Førde, Fran Crown, Capt. June Forster, Alysia Webster, and Jenny Knight

Back at homebase, I returned to the Bible, Art, and Visual Culture [working title] book, and composed my response to observations on my original conspectus made by the potential co-editor. He is everything that I am not: Jewish, American, and a biblical scholar. Thus, there’s the potential for balance and equilibrium in the working relationship.

My CV and website site were due for an update and a spring clean. The latter takes place annually at the start of the Summer research drive, along with a compilation of my itinerary of ‘things to do’, priorities, Google searches, and determinations related to my practice. It’s curious how my practice is perceived in publications such as the various ‘Who’s Who in …’ type that litter libraries. The entry is more often either a partial or a prejudicial perspective:


After the early evening practise session, I pushed on with my website updating. Websites are like pets. Once you have committed to one, you need to take care of it for life. So ends the last day of May (courtesy of my wife):