Monday, 9 November 2015

MA-Ness Year 2 Term 1 Week 9 Blog Slog, Making and Doing, Dissertation Determination and Joyce Carol Oates.

notebook I bought from a high street chain and added a skull sticker - also bought from a high street chain - this kind of juvenile wordplay and object changing makes me chuckle - chuckles are in short supply at the moment so anything like this helps

collection of petals from each bunch of flowers I've had since the start of the course - am saving them for use in artworks

work in progress - using small frame (which I have painted red)  with an inch worth's of depth to make a vitrine-esque object using some of the flowers from the orchid which my husband gave me the night we got married - at the back is a picture of the two of us reflected in a shop window in Bridlington - think I'll move the piece of gauze to the back though and let the petals come right to the fore

this weeks post it notes - surrounded by notes for dissertation

Really struggling with energy levels this week - a mix I think of the change in the weather, ongoing sadness given recent events and just general under the weatherness.  I've been trying to combat that with trying to go for a decent walk each day and doing some physical making of things as opposed to just reading and writing. But even the reading and writing hasn't been so much this week - I'm finding it very difficult to sit and concentrate on anything for any length of time.

Though I did get the skeletal outline of my dissertation fleshed out a bit more this week - but only by forcing myself to sit at the computer and not allowing myself to leave the room until I had written at least 500 words. It was like pulling teeth though and in between those 500 words there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and checking of social media and other distraction.

And some of that distraction was also very fruitful as I now have the draft of my academic poster ready to send to York University for the forthcoming Death Conference.  Just need to save it as a PDF and send it through - it wasn't difficult to decide which of my images to include but it was difficult to write the text to accompany them - writing about yourself in the third person is something I find tricky at the best of times and trying to distil the essence of your work and research in to as few words as possible is hard. But for writing to work  as I read this week - the intent of the author needs to match the intent of the reader too.

It's also complicated by the fact that my work and research is interdisciplinary as it comprises detailed historical research as well as art making but so far my academic outings (What Lies Beneath Conference and this forthcoming one in York) are not art events as such and so to explain what I'm doing I have to include words as well as images. Not that words should or can be excluded from art work but that they are far more of a primary focus in the two conferences so far.

It was nice though to bump into the head of the MA Programme at the Art College in the corridor and for her to tell me how proud she was of the work I'd been doing outside the college and how she'd followed it on the day on Twitter. It gave a proper fillip to my day in what otherwise feels like a long not very rewarding slog.

But it was when reading the bits I have written so far outloud to Mapp (who just listens bless her and carries on with her usual feline disdain for anything I do unless it involves food) and then explaining my argument to my husband that I had a bit of a breakthrough argument-wise and realised the narrowing down and specific examples I needed to properly flesh it out - though at the moment it's still a bit like the creature in Frankenstein's lab floating in the tank and it still needs a lightning bolt of energy to bring it to life.

And by that analogy I'm referring to the tank in Hammers 1957 adaptation of Mary Shelley's wondrous tale which is my favourite version as Peter Cushing is beyond wonderful as Victor Frankenstein in it and not the execrable 1994 version by Kenneth Branagh - though of course to stretch the analogy I really hope my dissertation has more luck than Christopher Lee's Creature....and let's just gloss over the fact that a tank is never mentioned in Mary's original tale and is entirely the invention of set designers, adapters and directors.

So as I am calling the writing of this blog slog - in turn I am calling the writing of the dissertation - dissertation determination and something tells me I am going to have to summon up a lot of it from somewhere over the next couple of weeks.

But I have been doing some physical doing (though of course it could be argued that writing is just as physical and something I think Joyce Carol Oates would be in agreement with) too and I am quite pleased with what I've made so far - a victorian inspired vitrine -esque piece. Need to work on it though - and also want to make bigger ones but for a practice work in progress - am pretty pleased with it. Plus the act of physical doing as in painting a frame, or pressing the shutter and taking a picture is satisfying - and also a welcome distraction from mental anguish at the moment.
One of the phrases on my post it note was 'document slattern' and I'm not sure where that came from now - perhaps it was the auto correct function on the ipad thingy - which drives me mad!!! But wherever it came from I like it - and it also sums up nicely the state of the left hand side of my desk as it is currently a hodge podge of notes, bits of paper and books... and quite slatternly though I have finally got round to taking off the chipped nail polish I was sporting. Chipped nail varnish being according to my mother - the sign of a slattern - along with drinking any liquid straight out of the bottle...

I finally got round to listening to the Halloween special that John Waters and Iggy Pop did for BBC6 and you can listen to it here and very wonderful it was too - wonderful songs and wonderful chat including John Waters revealing that the way to curse someone you don't like is to lick their furniture when they're out of the room. They played some wonderful tunes - including Bobby Boris Pickett and The Crypt Kickers Monster Mash, Tarantula by Jody Reynolds and Ruthless \bitch by Taiirie B which I had never heard before.

So I've learnt some new music this week, some new words - including 'gerund' which means a noun made from a verb by adding 'ing' eg reading and there are lots of new ones - some of which I hate like 'medalling'. But than that could also be because like John Waters - I hate sports.

I've also learnt how to add watermarks to pictures using photoshop (is it just me or is photoshop not very user friendly? I just about managed it with a lot of swearing thanks to an online tutorial but I need to practice with it and refine it as it's not the best watermark - but I only wanted it so I could protect my work)  as I sent off a couple of pictures to be considered for a book cover. They were't taken specifically to fit the brief  which was something that captures the horror of Thatcher and Reagan's legacy - abandoned factories, urban blight, disenfranchised youth but I'm not surprised as I was picking photos I had already taken with a different view in mind. I've asked when the deadline is as if I get chance I might try to take some pics with that brief in mind but not if it's within the next few days as am too busy with other stuff at the moment.

Well am very glad I have finished writing this as I really didn't think I'd be able to find the energy to do it this evening but I have - so that's another thing I can tick off my to do list. Phew!!!


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