October 4, 2017

8.30 am: Off to School to prepare the Painting (levels 2 and 3) induction class. Dr Forster and I laid it on the line about developing a good work ethic, passion, commitment (which is the fruit of passion), and all-round exemplary studentship. In an age where students are paying a premium for, and (understandably) asking a great deal from, their education, educators are tempted to tread softly softly, avoid offence, and kowtow to the ‘client’. To my mind, the two don’t necessarily follow. If I paid a personal trainer, I’d expect them to give me a hard time. I don’t buy the ‘client/provider’ paradigm anyway. The tutee/tutor dynamic is of an entirely different order. The relationship is built upon mutual trust and respect and a joint submission to the authority of the subject. I treat my students as I would my own children: with courtesy, tact, support, and a recognition of their individuality and rights, but with discipline and stern warnings too, if I fear that they’re in danger of frittering away their talents and opportunities:

Following the class, one student and I took a table to the Project Room and turned it upside down. This was not a gesture of defiance on our part. A photograph of the object would form the basis of a poster form my Open Day presentation, ‘Turn Table’. This was the idea that had presented itself to me at my ‘communion’ yesterday morning. The sound artwork will be based on the narrative of the cleansing of the Temple, when Christ turned over the tables of the merchants and money changers (Matt. 21.12–17, Mk 11.15–19, and Luke 9.45–48). The piece will be improvised, using a DJ turntable, effectors, and the techniques of so-called abstract turntablism, and Scourby’s reading of the texts. In this respect, the presentation will be a manifestation of ‘The Talking Bible’ Project.

11.00 am: Back at homebase, I attended to bitty administrations while banging together a draft poster for the ‘Turn Table’ presentation:

Before and after lunch, I continued to communicate minor shifts in arrangements regarding postgraduate studio space. Hopefully, by Monday, we’ll have further options on ‘properties’ at the Old College. If we are to continue to recruit well to the MA Fine Art scheme, then the School needs to procure a container big enough to accommodate the contingent in the coming years. 3.30 pm: While fending off incoming mail and Occupational Health follow-ups, I reacquainted myself with the first few lectures for the Abstraction art history module, which kicks off tomorrow:

4.20 pm: Gradually, I moved towards what I had intended to do this afternoon before being waylaid by necessary incursions related to other matters. That’s life at this time of the year. Welcome to the world of circus plate-spinning. Managing my MA Fine Art tutorials, however, was going to be something closer to a conjuring trick. There were so many competing considerations to be taken into account.

7.30 pm: An MA Art History dissertation was on my table wooing me. I succumbed to its charms, helplessly. (No choice, really. There was a deadline for completion beckoning.) Thus, I courted the text. (‘Don’t slouch, John!’):

11.00 pm: After an hour in stand-by mode, I returned to complete the first reading. The wind rushed through the branches beyond my study window, with the sound of an incoming tide. (‘Who are you addressing here, John?’ Will they ever know?)

An aside: Fixing and teasing apart a transient and layered emotion:

‘Save’/’Don’t save’.

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October 5, 2017