Tuesday, 7 April 2015

MA-Ness Week 13 - Archive Visit, Tutorial, Laibach, Filmy Goodness and Finally Relax.....

this weeks post it note and ticket

So term officially ended on 27.3.15 but I didn't feel like it had ended for me til Thursday 2nd April as I was still doing lots of collegy stuff - had a visit to Bradford University to look at a collection of condolence letters from the 1920's and 1950's, a tutorial and lots of sorting out and then finally on Thursday it was long lie in time and just catching up with myself - or rather catching up with what felt like terribly overdue housework - not quite a deep spring clean but certainly deeper than a quick wipe round with a disinfectant cloth which is all I had been doing for the last few weeks and clearing the washing basket too. 

This was followed by a weekend of gig going - went to see Laibach on Good Friday and very marvellous they were too, and three films at what is probably the best cinema in the world namely The Hyde Park Picture House and you can see what they've got on here. I saw A Matter Of Life And Death - one of my all time favourite films - I fell in love with the giant staircase and the somewhat camp and dandified french aristocrat who lost his head when I first saw it as a child and it was the second Powell and Pressburger work I'd seen in a week. Strangers On A Train is a monochrome work of wonderful by Hitchcock - from the opening scenes focusing on the two main characters shoes, the depiction of madness and the somewhat frank but wonderful bloodthirstyness of the sentators youngest daughter and last but not least I Am Big Bird - a documentary about the man behind/inside Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch from Sesame Street - I adored Oscar when I was little and even had a copy of a record he made called I Love Trash and it was a beautiful heart warming life affirming film and made me remember how much I loved Sesame Street as a child - I adored The Count and the Cookie Monster and Bert. Wonderful film making.

 And two of those films made me tear up - I'll leave you to guess which one didn't and the clue is it featured an engraved cigarette lighter, trains, tennis and the very beautiful Farley Granger and equally delicious Leo G Carroll.....

One of the things I included in my portfolio hand in - which I am still feeling surprisingly calm about...it felt good to put it together as it gave me a good overview as to what I've been up to, what I hope still to get up to and it was good to meet with my tutor on Wednesday and do a kind of term overview and plan for next term too - though it seems that next term is much more left to own devices than the previous two and if I've read the course details correctly online then there isn't anything to hand in either until December when it's dissertation hand in time.

This is also part of the reason why I am doing a blog post in 'holiday time' as I want to stay in the productive habits I've got into over the last few weeks but whilst also achieving a slightly better balance with other things like proper exercise (as opposed to just walking to and from college, the cinema and occasionally into town) and making healthier more interesting meals - there have been a lot of 'kiddie' type teas this term ie oven chips, fish fingers and the like and whilst they are tasty they are not the healthiest things to live on long term...hopefully I'll manage a better balance of these things this term and I think the fact that the weather seems to have turned/days got longer daylight-wise might also help with this.

So back to what is on the note - inspiring quotes - well more or less covered that in last weeks post, though it was copy and pasting them from the word doc into this post that proved really fecking difficult as it cocked up all the settings and made it so that although the text was perfectly legible in the create post window, it was invisible and illegible in the view actual blog page window - ARGH!!!!!!!!!! A bit of googling made me realise what the problem might be but not a way to fix it but then my lovely ever clever computery whizz kid husband came home and showed me how to paste and copy using plain text and huzzah it worked. This along with taking a screenshot of powerpoint slides may well just be two of the most useful computer related things I have ever learnt.

There's two phrases on there which I wrote down because I liked 'forensic mental' and 'civic mental' which both featured in Louis Theroux's documentaries on BBC4 last week which saw him interviewing patients and staff at a mental hospital - he was interviewing people who had been found 'not guilty by reason of insanity' and who had been sent there as opposed to prison. It was a thought provoking and intriguing couple of hours which at times made for uncomfortable viewing but I really like the way he interviews people and the way he seems to treat all with respect and dignity.

A couple of months ago I was a speaker at a Cultural Heritage Show and Tell Event at Leeds Museum and also there was one of the archivists from Bradford University Library and she told me that she was in the process of cataloguing the condolence letters related to Dmitrije Mitrinowitz who you can read about  here and would I like to see them? Yes was my immediate answer - partly because I thought they would be inspiring - they were and partly because browsing about in an archive is one of my favourite things to do and I wasn't disappointed - they were a delight - they looked and smelled of old, had worn creases, were written in ink - one in a kind of dip in the ink letter as it was black and then grey and then black again within paragraphs, or typed on beautifully embossed letterheaded paper, had double lined envelopes, some were written on traditional black bordered mourning stationery, there were telegrams, stamps from around the world,  letters that opened like pages in books. letters from book sellers thanking his widow for all the trade he had given them, photographs, postcards, and condolences from all different kinds of religious leaders but the one thing they all had in common was the very heart felt sentiments of affection for the deceased and offers of help for his widow.  

They were very inspiring - both in terms of the way they looked and they way they smelled, plus the special collection unit itself is way down in the bowels of the Joseph Priestley library and it was a delight to be away from screens, noise and just cloistered away for a few quiet hours just soaking them up. They have given me ideas for new types of cyanotypes and also I want to experiment with different ways of artificially aging my work......as ever watch this space for progress.....

Along with filmy goodness this week there has also been noisy goodness in the form of a Laibach gig at Manchester Academy. I was a bit anxious as I had not been to a Laibach gig before and wasn't sure what to expect - I didn't think they'd pull the trick of letting off military strength teargas like they apparently did at one of their gigs a few years ago but as they walk a fine line of subversion and re-appropriation I was a bit concerned that some of the audience might be there because they thought they really meant it - in the same way that not everyone got Alf Garnett as a character.  Yopu can read about them here.
I needn't have worried though - it was a glorious highly choreographed evening with a really striking back projection and prerecorded audience interaction and lots of really noisy synths - which I love. They played a lot of Spectre - their latest album and I especially enjoyed their cover of See That My Grave Is Kept Clean which I am thinking of using somehow in my work too....

And speaking of music my very talented chums at Zeistgeist Zero have launched a crowdfunding scheme for their latest album - being creative doesn't just need time and talent - it also needs cold hard cash and if you can help then please do - you can read all about their project here.

Right now for an afternoon of reading some David Sedaris - absolute bliss :-)


No comments:

Post a Comment