July 27, 2017

There’s one thing better than making a good work of art, and that’s developing a good way of working. 

Yesterday. I completed the extraction of words and phrases from the Matthew, Chapters 9 and 20 texts and formatted them. The latter process entailed normalising their volume and length to facilitate a looping and overdubbing of the source. Double words, such as ‘Mercy Mercy’ (being the same word taken from each of the two chapters), and long words (for example, ‘immediately’) were rendered at 1.000 sec, and individual short words, at 0.500 sec.

In the late afternoon and through the evening I reviewed chapters from a PhD Fine Art thesis, which is presently on its last lap. The beginning and ending of a project are the trickiest phases in its development.

Today. 6.00 am: I’d planned to take an early-morning jog. No sooner than I stepped into the garden, it poured. Floor exercises were, therefore, the call of the day. 7.30 am: A confrontation with self, a consideration of others, and a consultation with heaven. 8.30 am: To work. The scope of ‘The Talking Bible’ required a decisive delimitation around the New Testament narratives about blindness. In essence, there are three levels of address: A Core Narratives (New Testament); B General References (New Testament); and C General References (Old Testament):

Interestingly, there are no accounts of individuals being healed of their blindness in the Old Testament. Which is why, I imagine, Christ’s ministry in this respect was considered so extraordinary and significant. I now have to integrate all three levels in the suite of compositions.

11.00 am: I attended one of the MusicFest Fringe performances on the theme of ‘Music and Art’, held at the School of Art Gallery. Chris Grooms, a Texan (and a fluent Welsh speaker) played a ‘Romantic’ guitar made in the early nineteenth century. This was quite a bit smaller than a classical guitar. I suspect that the, later, parlour guitar owes its origin to it:

He was an enthusiast in the tradition of the raconteur troubadour, and presented a fascinating insight into the particularities of not only Welsh guitar music but also the tradition of Welsh guitar playing, going back to the sixteenth century. In the audience was a  number of the School of Art’s guitar geeks. Dr Maria Hayes (one of my former PhD Fine Art tutees) drew Chris in performance. She is Artist in Residence at the festival this year:

Maria Hayes, ‘Tinc Y Tannau with Sianed Jones and Alisa Mair Hughes’ (2017)

After an early lunch, I assembled the texts to all the biblical references to the word ‘blind’, so that I’d have at my elbow a running script on which connections could be more easily mapped. My preparations prior to the execution of an artwork have always been laborious. I’d prefer it to be otherwise. But this is what the task demands of me. And who am I to argue? In the background, I played whatever I could discover by a young experimental guitarist who was new to me: Joileah Concepcion. She has a rare musical intelligence for her age.

7.30 pm: An undisciplined appraisal from the seat of self-loathing:

9.20 pm: An assault on the hill to re-join the MusicFestivities and the young jazzers that I’d listened to on Tuesday night. Tonight, they were presenting their end-of-course set to an (albeit, non-paying) audience as part of the fringe performances. There was an energy born of joy present. I could hear not only conspicuous talent but also great potential. These were dedicated, hardworking young people, who clearly loved both their instruments and the genre, under the tutelage of still young tutors:

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