Sunday, 22 November 2015

MA-Ness Year 2 Term 1 Week 11 - Dissertation Determination, Caffeine Intolerance, Reading Comments on the Internet and John Betjeman

slightly fuller post it note this week and examples of artwork I'm trying to focus on dissertation-wise

This last week has again most been taken up with dissertation and I'm doing this on Sunday evening as opposed to my usual Monday daytime so I can (hopefully) properly concentrate on dissertation stuff tomorrow - have just emailed the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery regarding the signage for the piece 'Sign For Art' (which you can see in the above pic on the left,) and hopefully they'll get back to me pretty quickly and I can crack on with it that bit of it at least. I am painfully aware of the ever decreasing amount of time I've got to get it finished in. EEK and that also I also need to do nothing at times as well just to recharge my somewhat depleted batteries so yesterday I watched a Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes and very marvellous it was too. A bit of old school black and whiteness in which he fights the Nazis is good for the soul.

What else - well the rather gorgeous yet more disturbing the more you look at it 'Courtship On The Beach' by Charles Wynne Nicholls which I had a discussion about this week. It's also taking up a lot of my thoughts. I will be forever in debt to Scarborough Art Gallery and the wording they have next to this painting which states that the book the woman is reading is Lady Audley's Secret - which I am still absolutely in love with...and I have just bought what I hope will turn out to be another victorian era gem - The Haunted Hotel by Wilkie Collins.

Though as much as I love the fashions of the era, the mourning customs, the literature, the paintings - I wouldn't want to live in that time as I am far too much a fan of the right to vote, the NHS, modern medicine and John Waters to even contemplate a lifetime swap. Plus as a woman I would have very few of the legal rights I have today. Though I would kill to be a fly on the wall though - especially say at a time of funeral organising just to see exactly the motivations behind some of the customs being enacted and I'd also like to be a fly on the wall of a very rich person's house, a not so rich person's house and a not rich at all person's house just to get a more rounded view of what was actually going on across social strata rather than just one affluent section.

I wish I had made a note of the Guardian article in which I saw the following comment 'leave the narrative moralising to the victorian throwbacks' as opposed to just the comment though. Bah to my currently rubbish memory....

Walking is not a part of my practice as such - though I do walk round St George's Field a lot and invariably notice something I haven't noticed before each time I visit but I am trying to make time each day for a good 45 minutes walk - partly for health reasons but also because I find going for a walk helps me clear my head and formulate my thoughts. Something I am finding increasingly hard to do at the moment.

But in amongst the downpours I have been out in the sun - and then immediately thought that instead of using this sunshine to warm me up and give me some vitamin d I should be using it instead to develop cyanotypes - not made one of those in ages. That side of things all feels a bit on hold at the moment though - partly on hold because the weather hasn't been too brilliant, partly because been feeling too sad due to recent events and partly because of my trying to focus on my dissertation. I really must take some more photos soon though and develop some cyanotypes - I have been doing a bit of relaxing knitting though.

The first note at the top of the post it note is the phrase 'stations of the cross' - a thing which I've been told is one of the distinguishing physical characteristics of catholic churches in particular as anglican churches don't have them. The reason I made a note was because a chum posted a picture on Facebook of some oak carved stations of the cross headers he'd bought in an antique shop - 14 cross almost maltese cross shaped carvings with roman numerals from I - XIV on them. They were beautiful but had none of the images of the stations associated with them. I'm afraid I didn't pay enough attention when I was little as to which number goes with  which but I was always taken by the one featuring Veronica giving Jesus a cloth to wipe his face with - which retains the image of his face which the tinternet now tells me is number 6 in the traditional version. They were paintings in the church next to my primary school, kind of brass relief modern sculptures in the chapel that was part of my secondary convent school. I'd love to see them again but don't want to go back to school - might have to email them though and see if they have any images of them.

My favourite ones though are the ones in the church on Baxtergate in Whitby - St Ninions which is an anglican catholic one apparently and you can read about it here which is a beautiful hidden gem that smells of frankincense and myrhh. They are black and white framed photographs which on first glance appear to be of people posing as Jesus, Simon, Veronica etc but are in fact exquisite alabaster statues. My next favourite ones are the ones in the hidden gem church in Manchester aka St Mary's on Brazzennose Street which are very colourful semi abstract figurative ones which shout out against the otherwise very traditional white stone walls - it's like someone put acid in the communion wine and something trippy in the incense.

There is also a very wonderful german film called Stations Of The Cross from 2014 by Dietrich and Anna Brugermann which is bitterly poignant but also darkly funny if like me you were brought up a roman. I thought there were 14 stations but I had to look it up to check and in doing so I also leant that they are also known as The Way of Sorrows or Via Dolorosa. A phrase I often heard as a child but had no idea what the adults were referring to - and now I do.

Words are very prominent in my thoughts at the moment or rather the way we use them to communicate but also the other languages we use for communication - like visual language and gesture and I also had cause this week to look up some sign language and thanks to the tinternet there is an online version of the British Sign Language dictionary which you can see here - it's times like this that I really really love the tinternet.

The other joy of the tinternet this week was finding and watching John Betjemen - A Poet Goes North on youtube - you can see it here - a film in which he goes around Leeds in 1968 - some bits utterly unrecognisable and some bits delightfully the same. Best of all though he goes to St George's Field still in the middle of its desecrational transformation into its present form and it is also wonderful to see some of the famous buildings of Leeds - still black with when they had character, when there was still some individuality as opposed to the arseboring and depressing conformity of cities today when all high streets have a similar ring to them of corporate uniform chain stores and all the buses look the bloody same too.

The other thing that struck me this week was while listening to a programme about grave digging on Radio 4, that graveyards are actually full of love not just sadness and maybe it's just recent events that I was concentrating on the sadness associated with them and the pain of loss but it's true - they are also full of love. And you can hear the programme here.

Right best sign off, my dinner is going cold....

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