August 25, 2020

WFH: DAY 120. 7.30 am:

8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: I prepared for a day of postgraduate tutorials, marking, and ‘potching’ around in the studio (recording, modifying, and editing). 9.30 am: The first of the day’s MA fine art tutorials. Currently, there’s a complex of deferrals, resits, and resubmissions taking place under the university’s Covid-19 regulations. In between tutorials, I emailed those students from whom I was awaiting material. A gentle reminder never hurt anyone.

10.00 am –12.30 pm: ‘Making is a way of thinking,’ ‘Don’t pack too many clothes into too small a suitcase.’ ‘At times like this, it’s only natural that you lose direction and affection for your work.’ ‘Sometimes, in the absence of inspiration and motivation, we must proceed dutifully, mechanically, and ploddingly. But proceed we must.’ ‘Think with your heart too.’ ‘Be kind to yourself; appreciate that, both practically and subliminally, you’ve endured a great deal over the past six months’. ‘Don’t sell yourself short for the sake of an audience’. Drip, drip: resubmissions entered the inbox. Storm Francis gathered.

2.00 pm: After lunch (futurology): I exchanged views with the university’s Occupational Health consultant. Plan B was now in motion. Plan B may, in the end, prove to be better than Plan A. I wanted to record the wind and rain buffeting windows and roof of the house. I sensed that a modified version of its roar and disquiet would be absorbed into ‘Seen in the Air’. Capturing wind is notoriously difficult. Outdoors, strong gusts produce a ‘pop’ in the microphone, even when its protected with shielding. Indoors, the window provides a perfect barrier:

3.00 pm: I settled to begin marking resits. (In the background: Robert Fripp’s Music for Quiet Moments.) The storm wrestled with the trees and bushes, breaking arms and hastening the Fall. 4.30 pm: A little reading:

5.00 pm: A little listening. I applied various versions of the wind recording on ‘Seen in the Air’. It’s rather like trying on clothes. Things that clearly don’t suit you help to clarify a range of things that might. ‘Try on something else, John!’ I returned to laptopery and generating the ‘groanings, appeals, and cries’ that accompanied the vision in the sky, seen above Carmarthen around 1681.

7.45 pm: I began extracting utterly dreadful, doleful sighs and hollers from yesterday evening’s sound processing.

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