August 29, 2017

Yesterday, was a partial day; a time for catching up on non-essentials, thinking in second gear (which can sometimes be more productive than thinking in first gear), and doing dutiful and homely things. 8.00 am: To begin, I squashed a minor surge in emails activity, set my day’s diary in order, and readied myself for the peculiar challenges that day would present. Experience prepares us for the unexpected, only in part. Coping with unfamiliar tests requires, in addition, imagination, self-control, caution, and (on occasion) the wisdom of silence. 8.30 am: Off to the School. A deadening and achingly grey tarpaulin stretched across the sky:

The cassette tapes that I ordered, together with the CD recordings of the sermons upon which I. Nothing. Lack. will be based, had arrived. There were only four addresses delivered on the theme of Psalm 23 in August 1979. I’d assumed that there’d be five – one for each weekday. 9.00 am: The Royal Commission ‘Memory’ day event was pushed forward an inch or two. Co-ordination and communication is of the essence. That done, I advanced the preparations for my sound event during the archive week too. There were letters to write and a venue to secure.

11.30 am:

A PhD fine art tutorial with one of my second-supervisees. 12.30 pm: A final MA fine art tutorial with one of our retiring postgraduates. The part-time journey always feels longer than it is. The second exhibition is a corker. In my opinion, and the experience of many students, it’s the most challenging component of the degree scheme – as it should be.

2.15 pm: After lunch, I headed for the Old College for a PhD fine art tutorial, accompanied by tea and kiwi fruit. Teaching can be conducted in a very civilised manner still. 3.30 pm: Another final MA fine art tutorial.

4.30 pm: My second PhD fine art tutorial of the day centred on image to sound conversion techniques, and a general discussion about the distinction between content, intent, and experimental method in research. I had time at the end of the day, in between finalising MA admissions for the new academic year, to take a peak at the new print exhibition at the School’s gallery:

7.30 pm: The final final drafts of one of our completing PhD Fine Art students was in by inbox. Their deadline looms; which means that mine does too. Onwards.

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • The journey to a dead end, creatively speaking, may still prove to be both engaging and worth pursuing.
  • Don’t squash an unexpected idea, deviation, or unintentional development. They may prove to be signposts pointing to where you should be really headed.
  • Our work may reveal to us aspects of our personalities and experience that are entirely concealed from others.
  • We can know too much about our work. This is the burden of the PhD Fine Art student.
  • An unconfident and a pessimistic outlook on our work can sweep in upon us as quickly as a sea-mist, and linger for as long. But, in time, it’ll disperse.
  • When your love for making art deserts you, do it dutifully. Never stop. Gradually, the passion will reassert itself.
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