January 26, 2021

I want to be someone other than I am; I want to do something other than I do.

WFH: DAY 14. 7.45 am: The busyness of the immediate times required an earlier start. I console myself with the realisation that I’m not having to be a home-school teacher on top of my regular job, as are some of my university colleagues. We are each being tested beyond the ‘manufacturer’s specifications’. Endurance, perseverance, hopefulness, kindliness, thoughtfulness, self-control, patience, adaptability, and realism, among other virtues, are in the smelting pot, presently. My dross will be purged and my gold, refined (I hope). These aren’t times for the fainthearted. Emails were posted in quick succession: letters of imprecation, clarification, and notification. ‘Bite the bullet, John!’

8.45 am: ‘Be still’. 9.00 am: The first of the mornings MA fine art tutorials (online). The cohort are at different points on their journey. Some are moving from the Portfolio module to the Exhibition 1 module; others are continuing with the Portfolio module, and yet others moving through the Exhibition 1 module to its completion in May. Each student has an entirely different profile of needs and ambitions. Down to business, then.

Some observations and principles derived form this morning’s engagements:

  • T: ‘You’re far more open to influence presently, and that has born fruit in a qualitative improvement in your work’.
  • In the digital realm, unlike in life, you can make an appalling error with impunity, and delete it completely and permanently.
  • Time and narrative; text and kineticism.
  • The worst that can happen is that you fail in an interesting way.
  • S: ‘Authenticity … It’s got to have that above all else!’
  • S: ‘Sometimes the materials get in the way’.
  • S: ‘A little bit on insanity helps’, I find’.
  • T: ‘Just getting to the end of the day is an achievement these days’.
  • You think that your coping psychologically, then suddenly it strikes you forcibly just how appallingly pale, thin, deformed, and narrowly circumscribed life is at the moment.
  • Make nonsense rather than nothing.

1.30 pm: Emails, mark finalisation. 2.00 pm: A exchange of views with Graduate School, and an agreeable outcome. 2.30 pm: Back to the REF game (with postgraduate admin on the back burner). (In the background: Shakti with John McLaughlin’s, Joy (1975). ) 4.15 pm: A counter-clockwise walk. The town looked forlorn. Wetherspoon’s, now empty, but still illuminated; still with its Christmas decorations up. Mary Celeste.

7.30 pm: Onwards with admin and REF-ing. (In the background, David Bowie’s incomparable, Low (1977). It was released in the year that I first went to art school. It was not of its time. The world is still catching up.)

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January 25, 2021
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January 27, 2021

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