Monday, 20 August 2018
PhD-Ness Part 3 in weekly series - Speaking, Coughing, Snotting, Reading....
In this weeks picture - the plastic skull I fill with notes about nice things that have happened, a book I bought from a lovely independent bookshop called Forum Books in Corbridge earlier this year, my new bookmarks/page markers - I put one of these or a coloured post it note on the page where I've read something that is particularly interesting/apposite, the last weeks notes and my talk which I delivered on Wednesday evening for the PhD In The Pub Leeds - before then coming down with a bad cough and cold which left me unable to do much other than cough, splutter and watch repeats of Columbo and Law and Order for the past few days.
So in the same way that rain stops play in cricket, snot stopped me from doing much last week, I'd felt a bit sore throaty prior to the PhD In The Pub in Leeds on Wednesday evening (held at Slocken on Call Lane - never been there before but they do a very nice gin and tonic) and I was feeling okay for talking about my research and the talk and questions and answers bit went well but my throat was very scratchy by the time I got home and by the following morning I was just a sneezing snot monster and fit for little other than lying on the sofa trying to read but even that without much success as I couldn't concentrate for long or I couldn't stay awake.
Feeling a bit better today (have only had to use my inhaler once so far today so that's a definite improvement) and just trying to gather my thoughts about what I got up to or didn't last week. I've already mentioned the PhD In The Pub talk and it is just talk as they don't have anything other than a flip chart so there is no accompanying powerpoint presentation. I did take along some of the pieces I've been working on recently though - the lightbox image of Ann Carr's tombstone and a couple of embroidery hoops. I thought it'd be in a small room with about 10-15 people but it was in the upstairs floor of the bar and there were actually about 60 people there, including two women who love cemeteries and had seen it advertised on Twitter and came along especially to hear me talk about St George's Field, and a chap I met at the Curator Space meeting I spoke at in Wakefield last month, who then came to the talk I did at Leeds Central Library and who brought along two of his friends to hear me. This is especially flattering as it makes me think I can't be that bad a public speaker and my subject matter is interesting if someone comes to hear you more than once and brings their mates along.
Delivering the talk was the main thing I did last week, though I also did another bigger matte medium image transfer onto canvas (not pictured) which I was pleased with in terms of technique but not so pleased when I realised that the image was the wrong way round and the f**king modern bin that gets in the way of the Victorian era I am trying to evoke was on the wrong side of the Chapel steps - I had forgotten to flip the image. I feel such a dolt as a result. Hence the highlighted 'NEED TO FLIP IMAGES' on my notes. One of my jobs this week is to 'flip' the images I want to make matte medium image transfers of.
The other thing I made a note of was check image ownership before retweeting - as the image that the organisers used for my talk wasn't an image of mine but one of Dr Tina Richardson's from her Particulations blog. I knew it wasn't one of mine because it was in colour but I presumed it was one the organisers had taken or had permission to use but after chatting with Tina on Facebook it transpired they hadn't. Which was a bit cheeky on their part - if they'd asked me I could have given them one of mine to use. I then retweeted their tweet with the correct image accreditation. This taking of images from the internet without asking permission or giving credit is why increasingly I don't put images I've made or taken online.
Nothing of note other than Columbo or Law and Order repeats, they along with The Goldbergs are my comfort viewing of choice. I did start watching Jacque Tourners magnificent Night of the Demon (1957) which is one of my very favourite horror films but by then the Nightnurse had kicked in and I fell asleep not long after Karswell summoned the storm at the childrens party.
I really struggled with concentration the past week - having to stop every few minutes to blow your nose or cough doesn't make for easy reading. But I did make headway with my book being read purely for pleasure: Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers, my edition was printed in 1939 and I am now about halfway through one of my birthday presents - the very marvellous Death A Graveside Companion (2017) edited by Joanna Ebenstein which is split into different chapters all focusing on different aspects of death with essays and illustrations. I especially enjoyed the essay by Karen Bachmann entitled 'The Power of Hair As Human Relic in Mourning Jewellery' which included thought provoking lines like ' the hair represents a private communion between the wearer and the deceased' and that it is only when the hair is cut that it makes its transition from 'natural artefact to cultural relic'. The copious accompanying illustrations are gorgeous too but the text is quite difficult to read as it is shiny gold print on brown paper and I have to be sat under a very bright light in order to make it easily visible.
I've also been dipping in and out of 'Why Are We Artists? 100 World Art Manifestos' selected by Jennifer Lack and published by Penguin Modern Classics in 2017. Again this is the proof of the power of a sentence to me - as these two have given me much food for thought:
From Adam Pendleton's piece Black Dada (2008) a poetic repetitive manifesto which includes the line:
'these buildings don't uncover a single truth, so which truth do you want to tell?'
The other manifesto which has given me much food for thought and one which I need to do more research on is that of Deep Lez by Allyson Mitchell.
I shall continue to dip in and out of that book.
I have however completely failed to ready any of Sebalds's The Rings of Saturn - something I must remedy this week.
So all in all not a very productive week - unless you count . I am little bit worried that I am in danger of falling behind a bit with my reading plan in particular but once I've properly got my concentration span back and under control I'm hoping I can get back on top of it. I might have to do it in pomodoro style chunks though to make sure I finish it.