WFH: DAY 132. 8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: I tuned myself for a morning of MA fine art tutorials and a consultation regarding the Covid-ready delivery of the Vocational Practice module. 9.00 am: Kettle failure!! As domestic disasters go … it doesn’t get much worse than this. 9.30 am:
Perhaps the greatest regret that I’ve had regarding the provision of online education, during the period of the pandemic so far, has been its effect upon student exhibitions. The opportunity to present work before an audience represents not only the natural culmination of, but also the reward for, effort. They’ve been robbed of this. The School of Art’s online Graduate and Postgraduate 2020 exhibition has helped softened the disappointment considerably. In between tutorials, I envisioned the beginning of the new academic year and caught up on university policy.
Landscape and melancholy. Why is music so much better at evoking emotion than visual art? Are moods and emotions synonymous? Can thoughts also be feelings? The landscapes of our childhood lay the bedrock for our perception of the same as adults. Emotions are, for the most part, not singular but hybrid. Often, they conflate opposites. Thus, for example, we may talk of a melancholy-joy. Some feelings cannot and ought not be given descriptors. For to label is to limit. There’s a relationship between memory and emotion that I’ve never got to the bottom of. Experiences are the seed of memories are the seed of artworks.
12.00 pm: A meeting with Mr Iliff to discuss the curriculum for Vocational Practice. The module will combine face-to-face delivery with online instruction. It’ll have to be organised very tightly, and supported by a bespoke surgery, in order to deal with problems arising.
1.30 pm: I returned to the ‘Sound Expressive of Something’ composition, and began developing the bass/baritone part of the notional fairy tune. I deliberately didn’t listen to period Welsh folk music. The musicality of my composition had to arise from the cadences of my own modified voice (which presently sounded like that of a Swedish Death Metal singer). But, then again, fairies in Jones’ accounts are depicted as vicious and unpleasant buggers.
The ‘melodic’ line — comprising sub-samples of the most musical phrases from the whole sample — fitted together reasonably swiftly.
4.30 pm: Aberystwyth’s municipal cemetery has a small area dedicated to Second-World War graves. This is the only area that was regularly maintained during lockdown. Many of the graves are anonymous, and hold several bodies. ‘Two sailors’ — who may have been as unknown to one another in life as they are to us in death — together lie in one place, until the resurrection dawns:
7.30 pm: Throughout my walk, I’d been humming sections of the composition in development. That’s a good sign. The melody was at least catchy. On my return to it, I ruthlessly edited to ensure that the dynamics and rise and fall of the tune were clearer, simpler, and even more memorable. Given that the fairies, mentioned in the account, had danced while playing their tunes, it seemed worth exploring the possibility of manufacturing a rhythmic accompaniment. I wanted to use the sound-potential of the leaves of a book being turned as a source. The first necessity was to find the right size book with the right type of paper to make the right type of sound. After making trial of many suitors, a cheap spiral-bound notebook proved to be the Cinderella shoe: