February 23, 2021

WFH: DAY 37/LENT 6. 7.00 am:

The wind buffeted the house; casements rattled; birds were blown off-course; and the trees bristled like a cat’s hair. But it sent the dark clouds packing. An hour later, a Spring-like day prevailed. Likewise, turbulent periods in our lives can bring clarity and resolution in their wake. 7.30 am: A communion. 8.00 am: Futurological and catch-up emails were posted. In respect to the former, I need some sense of fixity regarding a very significant ‘deadline’ that looms. ‘Patience, forbearance, charity, and optimism, John!’

9.00 am: A morning of MA fine art tutorials began. So many words. So many words — ideas exchanged, challenges set, criticism offered, directions given, and encouragement voiced. There was much for me, as tutor, to be encouraged by, too. Worlds within worlds:

Some principles and observations derived from the morning’s engagements:

  • T: ‘Sometimes, you know what you’re doing only when you’ve done it’.
  • T: ‘What is the condition of “excess” with respect to your work?’
  • S: ‘I was listening to ZZ-Top at high volume in preparation for the tutorial’.
  • T: ‘Develop a visual narrative that is implicit, rather than explicit’.
  • T: ‘Works prompted by inarticulable intuitions.’
  • T: ‘You should drop some of those ideas and approaches not because they’re bad but, rather, because they aren’t as good as some of other ones. Sometimes the gardener has to prune away even the good wood in order for the better wood to prosper’.
  • T: ‘What do you expect others to get from looking at your work?’
  • T: ‘There needs to be a greater sense of urgency about the work’.
  • T: ‘Austerity, and the imposition of limitations, can be a virtue, but you won’t live long on just tepid water and lettuce leaves. Therefore, re-introduce more elements into your work’.
  • T: ‘Cut loose the painting!’

1.30 pm: Futurological matters seemed to be going in the right direction. I’d know for sure after Friday. I made a stretched recording of the source text for ‘Throw the Stones Out of the Water’. On Friday, I’d test whether it would serve as a mood-setter, in the background of the forward and reverse splash sequence. 2.00 pm: There was a REF output descriptor to revise in the light of external feedback. (‘Is there no end to this?’) I knuckled down.

3.45 pm: Done! And done to the best of my ability within the limitations of the word count. 4.00 pm: Suddenly, there was an inundation of unanticipated meetings about Covid-19 and recruitment. This threw my diary into disarray. One change implied another, implied another. Catch up! Refill. 4.30 pm: I pursued postgraduate admin for the remainder of the afternoon.

7.30 pm: I spent the evening talking to myself on Panopta about:

The talk (hardly a lecture) was delivered extemporaneously. If it had been presented in a lecture theatre full of students, I’d have played to the audience. There would have been periods for quizzing the attendees, and an opportunity to make jokes at my own expense. At best, my delivery shades into stand-up comedy in that context. (Time management is a dull topic, otherwise.) Tonight, the discourse was restrained, sober, and not a little po-faced and moralising. Live-lecture delivery is to be preferred; at least (even if you can’t see the students) you know they’re listening in real time. Recorded lectures have something of the ‘By the time you hear this I shall be dead’ ethos about them. Moreover, talking to yourself non-stop for an hour, in any other circumstances, would smack of a developed psychosis.

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