8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: ‘Admin Monday’. I lifted the lid on the inbox. 9.00 am: A phone call to my surgery to order the annual blood test M.O.T., and a flu jab. (For years, I’ve been hesitant about receiving the latter; no one has ever been able to tell me whether I’ll react poorly, given my background medical condition.) I chose to do the difficult things (to invoke John. F. Kennedy) first. These things aren’t so much demanding as bitty, unstraightforward, and tiresome. But necessary, and occasionally urgent. Sending money by transfer to a Russian museum in euros is no fun. (Repeat.)
I’ve encouraged my students to drop images and ideas into the Microsoft Teams chat window in between tutorials. It helps maintain a sense of contact between them and me, particularly now, when I don’t have the occasion to brush shoulders with them, informally, in the studio and on the corridors. Maintaining forward momentum and a sense of urgency in these disconsolate times demands far greater effort than before. In everything that’s well done, presently, we build towards a better future. So, I pressed on. (In the background, I played back the compositions that I’d been working upon on Friday and Saturday, deploying the principle of ‘distracted attention’.)
On this day in 2017:
11.00 am: The rain kept pouring — driven by the wind — without sympathy. I tinkered with the compositions when ideas for improvements beckoned at the periphery of my attention. The best ideas, when grasped, often prove to have been the most obvious; they were there under my nose all the time. I didn’t perceive them, because I wasn’t paying sufficient attention to the internal logic of the composition. ‘Don’t add more; rather, make what’s already there do more, John.’ 12.00 pm: In preparation for the Goldsmith’s University symposium in November, I began exploring approaches to embedding the spoken text into PowerPoint slides. The acquired skill would also be usefully deployed in my next semester’s online art history lectures. A somewhat high-end condenser microphone acquisition might be in order.
This paper would also have been delivered at ‘The Shining Pyramid’ symposium last year, had not the pandemic and lockdown intervened. The project has now been recast as a cassette-tape release. 12.30 pm: I was slowing. I reviewed the text for the slide show (which will be published in a booklet that accompanies the release). 1.00 pm: Lunch: small and simple. The only chips were those on the plate itself:
1.30 pm: Back to admin, of the postgraduate kind. In conjunction, I continued with the process of text and image alignment for the PowerPoint, all afternoon. Daybreak didn’t really get off the ground today. By 5.00 pm, the light had begun to slowly dim.
7.30 pm: Back to admin, and reviewing my PowerPoint presentation for tomorrow’s MA Vocational Practice class.