July 1, 2020

And in that Great Day, I’ll recall all those who I wanted to help, but couldn’t; all those who I could’ve helped, but didn’t; and all those who I should’ve helped, but wouldn’t.

WFH: DAY 80. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.45 am: Inbox divestment. Then, I dug-in for a morning of PhDology: tutorials and a review of work submitted. (In the background: BBC Radio 3’s Choral Evensong from Manchester Cathedral.) Reviews (with commentary) take a long time. At this point in the PhD process, the supervisor turns editor. ‘By “awkward”, I mean a phrase that sounds like the writer is stumbling over their own feet. By “amplify”, I mean that you’re either whispering a thought that needs shouting out or presenting it too succinctly.’

12.00 am: A PhD fine art tutorial. ‘Deep and wide’ — as that old Salvation Army hymn described Christ’s love — can also be a strategic objective in PhD teaching. But you can’t pursue both at the same time. Therefore, for this week’s round of tutorials, I’d asked each of my tutees to nominate one specific aspect of their research that they’d like to discuss. Then we’d ‘drill-down’ (a much overused metaphor) into it over a period of an hour. Of course, both parties soon realise that at the bore-hole’s watery bottom, a reflection of the broader picture is intimated.

2.30 pm: After lunch, and on finishing my review, I headed into the studio excitedly to continue restoring the first composition. ‘This would be a better version than the last!’, I promised myself. Unless that was my unequivocal determination, then, the game would be up even before I’d begun. An early compromise is a sign of faint-hardheartedness, which is, in turn, a mask of failing confidence. ‘Splash’, ‘ripple’, and ‘swoosh’: in union, reciprocity, and hierarchy. And the silences in between were as important as the sounds either side. Silence, like the leading between the panes of a stained-glass window, separates and distinguishes, while holding them together.

4.30 pm: On this occasion I walked towards town and on to the Promenade, returning via the Old College (which, I suspect, I’ll never again enter). Over time, the rivulets of salt-bearing sea air have sculpted the building’s sandstone. If these natural artefacts are not a product of chance (patterns of wind must be governed by some principle of action, after all), then they’re the extraordinary outcome of non-intentionality:

8.00 pm: We took the evening off to enjoy a live Zoom performance (in sync with our children, afar off) from the Old Vic, London. Duncan McMillan’s Lungs is a play for our time … this time. Claire Foy and Matt Smith gave a remarkable performance. The split-screen, two-camera device summoned an oddly stereoscopic and partitioned vision, and permitted simultaneous contrasts of deep-field, long-distance, and close-up perspectives that could not have been experienced by the audience in the theatre. The TV format truly came into its own:

Previous Post
June 30, 2020
Next Post
July 2, 2020

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.