Monday, 24 September 2018

PhD-Ness Part 8 Year 2 in a weekly ongoing series - sticking and gluing, experimenting, re-drafting, reading and writing

More image heavy post this week showing bits of what I've been up to - the top picture shows a matte medium image transfer in progress. I'd printed the 35mm image I'd taken of St George's Field on ordinary printer paper, cut it out and also cut a circle of cream muslin and put it in an embroidery hoop. The hoop keeps the material nice and taught. Then I paint a layer of matte medium on the material, then on the cut out image and then put the image on top of the material and smooth it as flat as possible to ensure minimal creases or bubbles. I leave it to dry overnight and then using tepid water make it all damp and then slowly and carefully with my left index finger start to rub away the paper in a circular motion - thereby hopefully leaving the print from the image caught in the layers of matte medium.

The second image is also a matte medium image transfer in progress - this time a colour 35mm image I'd taken of Ann Carr's grave on what would have been her 235th birthday when I left a yellow rose on her gravestone as a tribute to her and her work with so called 'fallen' women. Women who had children outside of wedlock were often made to wear yellow in the workhouse as a way of marking them out from other workhouse residents. I have not read of the fathers of these children being made to wear something similar to mark them out.

3rd image is of the same image when the paper has been rubbed off for the second time - it usually takes a couple of goes to get as much of it off as possible - all the while trying not to rub so hard that you rub off the image too. Sometimes though the bond between image and material underneath isn't that good - especially around the edges. I am especially careful on those bits but sometimes to no effect. Sometimes it really annoys me when the edge lifts up but other times I think it adds to the image as it a)shows the human touch in the process and b)imitates/recalls the way glass plate negatives can look - either the person painting it missed the edges in the darkroom or it has become damaged over time.

Ways round the edges coming up include: only using muslin to transfer images onto as that seemed to grip the image best or making the border of the transferred image a half inch wider and then cutting it out with a neat solid edge...

The third image also shows some of the experimenting I've doing with kinetic drawing/mark making on paper which involves putting paper in a tube along with a marking medium, in this case chalk, pastel and crayon. The tube is then sealed and placed at the bottom of my rucksack - these are the results of a walk to Meanwood and back but it's not made much of an impression on any of the papers. So I'm going to ask an artist friend of mine who does these for any tips she might have in the hope of making something more definite - maybe I just need to do it for longer or make the ends of the chalk/pastel/crayon more pointed.

The last image shows the finished image transfers - I've rubbed off as much of the paper fibres as possible and added a layer of gloss medium to finish them off. Without it the images can still look quite flat and a little bit fibrous. It also shows this weeks post it note - which as you can see isn't over full but it has been a busy week with quite a lot of reading and doing and listening and seeing and watching.

The reading has mostly been of the psychogeographic variety as I have made a start on On Walking by Phil Smith - especially useful as he references The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald which I (finally) finished last week. Huzzah. I also re read the introduction of  Photographs Objects Images edited by Elizabeth Edwards and Janice Hart and I have ploughed a bit more of the way through Adam Bede by George Eliot. I also picked up a copy of  Walking Inside Out by Tina Richardson.

Part of my rationale for reading these is part recommendation by tutors but also part methodology writing as to write mine up is part of my homework from last weeks supervision along with a redrafted research plan for year 2.

It was also the launch of the festival brochure for the Love Arts Festival last week at which I chatted and caught up with folks. I also made a collage which was great fun. It's been a while since I've made something with just the joy of making something in mind as in I wasn't consciously trying hard to create a particular effect or feeling or end result. It felt good. You can find out about all the events, exhibitions and happenings of the festival here  including my contribution Once and Now at Kapow Coffee 15 Thornton's Arcade and fingers crossed the framer will have finished framing them by then so that I'll be able to put them up at the end of the week.

So lots of doing of all kinds and I'd best get cracking on with my to do list for this week but first off I need to get something to eat, and to tidy my workroom a bit.

Monday, 17 September 2018

PhD-ness Part 7 in weekly ongoing series - seeing, moving, dead earnings, will requesting, Whitby, help and Giants in Sheffield

Quite a full post it note this week, as well as the big brain dump list I was making in an attempt to make more effective plans for the forthcoming weeks workwise, notes from the Giants of Victorian Photography exhibition I went to see in Sheffield yesterday, a wood effect but plastic hoop given to me on Saturday by Hayley Mills-Styles whilst we were at the launch of her very excellent exhibition Archive and Other Stories at Whitby Museum in Pannett Park, it's on til 18th November so go and see it if you can - it's heartfelt, beautiful, thought provoking and engaging series of textiles exploring her relationship with the museum, her grandparents,and stitching. Also pictured are the sampler guides I bought from the museum - all three include rather exquisite grave poetry.

Last week before attending a fascinating talk given by Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce at 1 Oxford Place (soon to be reworked into a fancy hotel apparently) I did some work in Leeds Central Library. I went to the art library section on the first floor and aside from someone with the most appalling cough banging big hardback books about for the first 15 minutes I was there - it was mercifully quiet, other than the noise filtering up from outside so a little bit of chatter, traffic and the sound of sirens. I took advantage of this by writing in my journal - just gathering my thoughts really. I keep a day to day diary for appointments and brief details of what I've been up to but my journal I write as and when I'm moved to or have the time. I am a bit ritualistic when it comes to writing it though as it has to be in black ink via fountain pen and I only write on one side of the paper. I used to use a big spiral backed notebook but more recently I've been using smaller more exercise style notebooks as they are easier to fit into my bag, lighter to carry round and quicker to fill.

Anyway once I'd finished that I then made a start on what it is I need to be concentrating on this term and what my next steps need to be. I'm very aware it's the start of the new academic year, the autumn term and I am just trying to get geared up for that really. My workroom is still full to bursting but the new bookcases are coming along nicely and once the little room is sorted I'll then be able to move the wardrobe out of my room, put up the new bookcases in its place and then hopefully move the books from the sofa bed (which has been acting as a temporary bookcase for far too long now) and generally rejig my workroom so it's more ergonomic and comfortable to work in and my materials will be easier to access as they'll be visible on the shelves as opposed to hidden at the bottom of various piles. Amazingly though I haven't bought any new stationery for this term - am using some of what I've already got stockpiled. I have however been indulging in halloween tat, I can always find room for another skull.

I also found an amazing book called The Memory of Time by Sandra Greenough and Andrea Nelson which concentrates on the work of the contributors to the exhibition of the same name held in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC in 2015. It was one of those serendipitous occasions when the book just stood out to me on the shelf as I was passing. I hadn't intended to read anything other than the book I had taken with me - Sebald's Rings of Saturn which I am still ploughing through. But this book almost called out to me and I am really glad I picked it up and started reading as the themes it covers are very pertinent to my work, I am now working my way through well as still ploughing through Sebald...

I also picked up a copy of Capturing The Light by Roger Watson and Helen Rappaport which according to the blurb on the cover is 'a true story of genius, rivalry and the birth of photography' which I am also planning to read over the next few days. I know a little about the invention of photography but I'd like to know more, especially it's such a Victorian era invention. I'm also interested in what role women had in its invention and use.

The talk by Dr Ruth Penfold-Mounce was the last in the summer talks hosted by the Leeds Bereavement Network and it was about celebrity dead and the way people interact with them and it also made me think of the Stranglers song 'Everybody Loves You When You're Dead'. I was fascinated to learn that Forbes not only have a rich list of live people but they also have a list of dead as in deceased rich people which Michael Jackson has been top of for the last few years. I understood that dead people could pass on their royalties but it seems there are also agencies who represent dead people after buying their persona and then use those dead people to advertise things. Mind well and truly boggled but then again not really - in a capitalist society EVERYTHING is a commodity that can be bought and sold - including the personalities of dead people.

This along with just wanting to see actual Victorian era photographs was why I went to see the Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography at the Millenium Gallery in Sheffield yesterday. It had a basic overview of the wet plate collodion process way to take and make pictures, mostly it focused on some of the surviving works by Lewis Carroll, Oscar Rejlander, Julia Margaret Cameron and Clemetina Hawarden. I was most interested in the work by Rejlander and Hawarden as I have seen images made by Carroll and Cameron before. There were quite a few portraits by Rejlander as well as a copy of one of his most famous combination images (in the days before photoshop images were manually compiled out of individual negatives) Two Ways of Life (1857) which was first exhibited at the Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester.

I had never seen this image before and was slightly surprised by the amount of nudity in it given the time it was made and the fact that it is a photograph and not a painting. It shows a man deciding which of two paths to take - the one consumed with vice and the one leading to virtue. Apparently Price Albert loved it so much after being given a copy by Queen Victoria that he bought three copies of his own. It was very contraversial when it was first shown, it was alleged that the naked women in the photograph were prostitutes plus it was a photograph positioning itself in the same league as painted art. A debate that still goes on today in some quarters. It was lovely to see it in the flesh so to speak - or rather a copy of it. You can see it (or rather another copy of it) for yourself here.

Having recently read becoming: The Photographs of Clementina Hawarden by Carol Mavor, I was especially interested in seeing her work in all its torn out of an album glory and sure enough all bar one of the edges of her work were rough and torn, only one piece looked as if it had been taken out using either scissors or a scapel, but I didn't see anywhere in the exhibition a mention of this or the possible reasons why.

I realised that the images and photographs I was looking at were rarely black and white but sepia, I also loved the signs on them of human intervention - either still visible brush strokes in the collodion or the silver nitrate or in the case of Hawarden the torn edges - though I'm not entirely sure who did the tearing. I wasn't entirely comfortable looking at some of the images - namely some of the ones that Lewis Carroll had taken of children and the wording next to some of the images I found lacking or slightly misleading, for example one which was of Julia's maid talked of the long relationship between Julia and her maid and how they must have understood one another. There was no mention of the impact that being boss and servant might have had on their relationship and no wonder her maid looks so amenable in the photographs - I would too if in case I didn't had a knock on effect on my keeping wages and the roof over my head. Most notable for me on some of Julia's images were the handwritten words 'from life' and 'copyright and then her name - am guessing it was her signature.   

The exhibition also included personal captions by Kate Windsor (aka Duchess of Cambridge and that is how she is referred to throughout the exhibition) but they didn't add any particular insight or new ideas to research. Instead there was mention of how hard Clementina and Julia must have found it to fit in their photographic work alongside their household running and the fact that they were mothers. I don't doubt they did find it difficult at times but it must have been made easier by having staff whose job it was to do the cooking, cleaning and the looking after children. The only useful thing she added was the explanation that exposures took a much longer time then than they do now as a way of explaining how wonderful the capture of fleeting facial expressions were in some of the photographs and why people look so stern in so many of them.

I've been continuing my research into St George's Field and its inhabitants - in part thanks to a perusal on the paperwork available online at the Universitys website, in part thanks to a chum who has a subscription to find my past. I was amazed to discover there used to be a greenhouse at the back of the Chapel in St George's Field. It's detailed on the map from 1967 though so am guessing it must have been built by the university to grow plants for the rest of the campus. I'm hoping that the Borthwick Institute at York University will get back to me soon as to how much it's going to be to have a copy of Ann Carr's will which I'm hoping they still have tucked away safely in a box somewhere.

It's been a while since I've written and submitted an abstract for a conference - this one was for the Death and the Sacred conference at Manchester Met at the end of November. I won't hear back though until the end of the month. Fingers crossed I shall be successful.

Programmes/Films watched 
Mulvey Laura, Woolen Peter writer/directors 1977 Riddles of the Sphinx UK BFI
A feminist film made by a feminist film maker which is a mix of following a woman trying to negociate food making, caring for her daughter, leaving her male partner, getting a job, childcare – all filmed in 360 degree 16mm – constantly slowly revolving around the scene as opposed to the male gaze of the close up – split into different sections all labelled at the beginning and eacvh starting with a bit of text, sometimes with a section about the Sphinx and close ups of photos of it to a soundtrack of really mesmerising electronic music by Mike Ratledge who used to be in Soft Machine. Also featured a section with a woman juggling, doing acrobatics on a rope, and a long section of someone trying to do one of those hand held puzzles but instead of trying to put a ball through a maze it was a drop of what appeared to be yellow mercury – so difficult and frustrating to watch.
A really interesting film.

Books Read
Sebald - Rings of Saturn - ongoing
also finished the book I was reading for leisure - The Future Won't Be Long by Jarett Kobek which I really enjoyed. According to the Wall Street Journal 'it's a brilliant recreation of a disappeared New York...' and I have no idea how accurate it is as I have never been there nor was I ever a Club Kid but I enjoyed its two person narrative and descriptions. 

Exhibitions Attended:
Archives and Other Stories by Hayley Mills-Styles Whitby Museum
Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography - Millenium Gallery Sheffield -
see above for descriptions 

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

PhD-Ness Part 6 in weekly ongoing series - thinking, looking, doing, lifting, failing/falling.....

A much fuller post it note this week - though that is also because it was so empty at the end of the previous week I decided to continue writing on it underneath to save paper.

Am feeling really tired today though - in part thanks to a training session (am on track to reach my goal of being able to deadlift 80kg by the end of the year*) but mostly in part thanks to a really broken nights sleep which is in danger of becoming a habit again...but it's a habit I really want to break.

So what have I been up to over the last seven days - well lots of things including:

Being a Victorian era death customs expert for a chum who is researching the lives of some of the men involved with the Franklin expedition (the ill-fated voyage of artic exploration led by John Franklin in 1847 on the ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror) she had questions re burial practices that I was able to help with, along with the prominent role that organised religion be it conformist or non conformist played in everyday life then.

Buying materials - got some more matte medium, some new graphite sticks in different hardnesses and some Halloween pom poms as it's my favourite time of year when the shops are filled with all manner of skull emblazoned goodness and other assorted goodness. The man working on the till in M+S at the station asked me if I was getting ready for Halloween when he saw my bodypart emblazoned bag, skull bracelets and coffin ring to which my reply was 'it's Halloween all year round for me' and he smiled.

Taking work for my Once and Now show at Kapow 15 Thortons Arcade from the beginning of October to be framed. I've never had any of my two dimensional work professionally framed before, I've always done it myself with cheap frames from either Wilkos or Ikea. They looked okay and were all I could afford at the time and the plain wooden deep frames from Wilko I'll continue to use as I can paint those the colour I want (black) and fill with collected fallen petals or whatever else fauna-wise I find at the graveyard. It was especially exciting though to try different coloured backing papers for the images I've selected to frame which are mostly greyscale on either tracing paper or acetate. I was initially thinking white but then there are many different shades of white to choose from and in the end I opted for a deep cream backing. A colour which really adds to the images and makes them even more oldy worldy than just being in greyscale does. Am really excited about seeing the end result.

Speaking of graveyard finds - pictured above is the piece of wood I found (minus the woodlice which I left behind after scraping them off with a stick) yesterday whilst I was mooching round St George's Field taking pictures and trying and failing to make some kinetic drawings. I have completely fallen in love with its animal skull like shape. I left behind the broken bit of stone that I think had come off a nearby tombstone that had been shorn of its ivy. Part of me really wanted to take it but I wouldn't as that seems really disrespectful to both the person whose memorial it was from (regardless of how long they have been dead) and the people who paid for it to be erected to/for their loved one. If I'm being 100% honest there is also a teeny part of me that has seen and read far too many horror stories involving people taking away things from places that they shouldn't...most notably the short stories by M R James 'A Warning To The Curious' and 'Whistle And I'll Come To You'.

I hadn't been back to St George's Field since my birthday gathering at the end of July and a lot of vegetation along what I call Obelisk Avenue had been cut back (re- revealing one of my favourite tombs which has BE YEA ALSO READY carved on it alongside two rather beautiful heavenly figures) and the subscription stones which have been laid flat around the chapel have been blasted clean. This has revealed their original pale yellowy stone colour and leaving aside my preference for their previous grey colour I also worry about what kind of potential damage is done when cleaning stone as it can make it more porous and prone to chipping.

Anyway I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the piece of wood I found but I did take some pictures of it in situ around the graveyard - using 35mm Ilford XP2 film and my trusty go to Canon SLR. I don't know how they have worked as I've not finished the roll yet (ah the delayed gratification of film) but the kinetic drawings I did didn't work out well at all. I put tracing paper in a drinks bottle (one with a wide neck) along with a couple of pieces of charcoal and then laid it flat at the bottom of my rucksack. The idea being that as you move the pieces of charcoal make marks. I walked along Obelisk Avenue along to the other side to see what was happening around Anne Buttery's grave - I also went to pay my respects at Ann Carr's grave but failed to make much of an impression. Next visit I shall try a narrower tube (a kitchen roll one sealed with masking tape and a different kind of mark marker - maybe chalk, or crayon or graphite marker or pastels and see if that works any better.

Speaking of Ann Carr I spent last Thursday holed up amongst the splendour and peace of the Family and History Library reading about her. I had previously scoured the card catalogue for mentions of her and thanks to the as always helpful librarians they brought me all the things I wanted to see. Things like reports from the Temperance Society reports from the 1830's whose title page included 'We whose names are subscribed, do voluntarily agree to abstain entirely from the use of distilled spirits, except for medicinal purposes, and although the moderate use of other liquors is not excluded, yet as the promotion of Temperance in ever form is the specific design of the Society, it is understood that excess in these, necessarily excludes from membership'.  And each title page also included the following verse from Isiah 5. 22 ' woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink'.  I didn't find any mention of her in their reports but I did discover that Edward Baines Senior (one of the founders of St George's Field) was a regular donor to the Temperance Society of the then comparatively huge sum of £1 a year. An online inflation checker transcribes this to be the equivalent of approximately £120 a year now. I wonder where Edward Baines Senior made his money to begin with.

Looking through the collected notes and queries columns from the Leeds Mercury compiled in 1893 (a beautiful red fabric bound book with a handwritten index and very neatly pasted in pages with no bits coming adrift) I learned more of Ann's funeral as well as looking upon gems querying the authorship of Wuthering Heights, and the 'old' practice of putting an extinguished candle in a coffin which the book just fell open at as I was browsing through it. I love that kind of serendipitous action.

However the gem was a copy originally from Dewsbury Library of Memoirs of the Life and Character of Ann Carr (of Leylands Leeds) Containing An Account Of Her Conversion To God, Her Devoted Labours and Her Happy Death by Martha Williams. Written shortly after Ann's death in January 1841 it contains Martha's memories of Ann as well as some of the people she used to say with in Hull when preaching as well as an appendix containing the Reverend J Rawsons funeral address for her. His funeral oration includes the sentence ' We are gathered round the cold remains of a friend and a sister in Christ.'  Not the kind of phrase you'd expect to hear in a modern funeral service. The Reverend Rawson meets a shameful end though as he is sacked for drunkenness on the job.Drunkenness on duty in what was originally a graveyard full of Temperance advocates is beyond the pale. 

I also attended the first day of the third Fourth World Psychogeography Conference at Huddersfield Uni. It was a fun and thought provoking day. The opening presentations by Dr Anna Davison and artist Lesley Eleanor Wood really made me think about my methodological approach to my studies as well as giving me pointers towards further reading and techniques - it's thanks to Lesley who I had the privilege to meet and get to know as she was on the MA course with me that I am experimenting with kinetic drawing techniques. Anna is making me think about the invisible forces behind places - eg although I know where the money came from for the creation of St George's Field  that is shareholders putting up the cash - where did those shareholders get their cash?

As ever lots of food for thought......

Programmes/Films Watched Morrison B (director) 2016 Dawson City Frozen Time USA Picture Place Pictures
Incredible film which was a documentary about the discovery and reclamation of loads of silent films from the 1920’s/1930’s from a filled in pool and bank vault where they had been put as ballast essentially or just left – because the place they were in Dawson City – the furthest north bit of the Yukon valley of gold rush infamy was too far for the film companies to pay for them to be returned plus as it took them almost two years sometimes to get that far north in the first place.

Really detailed overview of creation of film – hadn’t really realised it was essentially an explosive as it was thanks to gun cotton. It also covered the history of the Yukon gold rush, the displacement of indigenous peoples and the cultural assimilation of some and of course Dawson City itself in all its wooden regularly needing to rebuilt because of fires glory – all interspersed with restored clips from the films found in the ground. Apparently something like only 25% of silent films still exist. Also sad moments like the description of the death of mostly women and children in wooden cinema fire, and moment when glass plate negatives by Hegg were found in walls of cabin and new owner asked what was best way to get emulsion off so they could be used to make a greenhouse!! Thankfully the person they asked saw/knew value of the images and they gave them brand new glass. Hegg was main photographer in Dawson City. It was also a bit of a love story as the discoverer and museum archivist met and fell in love and got married.

Beautifully mesmerising soundtrack too by Alex Somers – who also works with Sigor Ross. But did find it difficult to stay awake at times – and it was also the first film of the autumn where I went to the cinema in broad daylight and left two hours later in the dark - definitely worth a rewatch.

Books Read
Still ploughing my way through Sebald's Rings of Saturn and absolutely loving it,am loving the style of writing but am finding some of the description of slaughter, war, exploitation and holocaust harrowing to read. If you compare the amount of post it notes in the picture above compared to last weeks you'll see the progress I'm making.

Exhibitions Attended
none - but got plenty lined up to go and see including this one .

* I really like the definiteness of weightlifting - as opposed to the indefiniteness of academia and artmaking at times...and I lifted 65kg from the block this morning so am on target for reaching my goal of being able to deadlift 80kg by the end of the year. 

Monday, 3 September 2018

PhD-Ness Part 5 in a weekly series - thinking, sorting, doing, deadlifting

Todays picture shows a fairly empty post it note thing on top of work I'm in the process of sorting and taking to the framers so that it can be ready for my Once and Now exhibition at Kapow Coffee House Thorntons Arcade starting at the beginning of October. It's part of the Love Arts Festival and you can find out details about all the things that are part of the festival here - there are all sorts of lovely things on including performances, poetry and pictures.

It's interesting sorting through the images I've made in and of St George's Field, some of them I'm really pleased with as I have managed to capture exactly what it was I was trying to, some of them make me think of Roy Walker as in 'good, but not right' and some make me think 'plan and take the right equipment next time' or 'if I'd only stood a little more to the left' or 'a slightly longer exposure and I've have got it...' my plan is to review the space they're going in again this week, sort through the images again but this time with the helpful and more objective eye of my ever supportive husband and then decide which ones to have framed and show. 

I last updated this blog only 4 days ago so not much time to have done stuff but as I am trying to get back into a weekly habit of academic reflexive writing I decided to write it again today. Plus writing it on a Monday helps me both reflect on the previous week as well as prepare for the forthcoming one.

My note somewhat predictably contains the words 'difficulty concentrating' - twas ever thus and maybe I just need to accept that rather than difficulty concentrating I just have a kind of flitting brain and as long as the task gets finished does it matter if I do it in snatches of concentration rather than one big long tranche. Plus as I write this on the computer it's incredibly easy to get distracted, especially if I have to look something up.

Anyways on with the note - one of the things it says is 'horsehair in the post'. One of the things I am really interested in and hoping to make a version of my own is mourning jewellery that includes hair. Thanks to an international inter library loan I was able to read the very wonderful The Art of Hair Work Book by Mark Campbell which consists of patterns and tips on how to make them. One of the tips is that as human hair can be very fine it can be padded out with horsehair which is much stiffer and coarser and so easier to work with. I am lucky to have a chum who has a horse so I asked her to save me hair from each grooming session with her horse and a lovely packet of it arrived through the post last week. I hope to start working with it soon.

My favourite seasons are (and in this order) autumn, spring, winter - I'm not really a fan of summer as though I like the extra strong sunlight from a developing cyanotypes and anthotypes point of view, I do not like the heat. Nor do I like having to slather myself in factor 50 and so feel like a chip each time I leave the house. Autumn brings cosy nights when as the light fades you can close the curtains and light candles and read ghost stories without feeling out of place. Plus I love the half light of Autumn - especially when it is gloomily misty and atmospheric. Plus Autumn has Halloween - my very favourite time of year.

Plus as autumn is also the start of a new academic year it also fills me with excitement (as well as slight trepidation) as who knows what the new term will bring? apart from a very good excuse to buy new stationery - obviously.  I've not had any emails yet from the university outlining what if any the new enrolment arrangements are - will contact them by the end of the week if I still haven't heard anything and in the meantime slowly but surely plod on with my reading list. I've read a bit more of the Rings of Saturn (Sebald) and am still loving it and making all sorts of notes on the text.

This reading and writing malarkey is mostly sedentary though so I'm still having deadlifting sessions twice a week as it is helping me with my goals of not being quite so sedentary, getting fitter and increasing my stamina. Plus it is a very definite thing to do in lots of ways when compared to my academic pursuits and I was pleased last week to be that bit nearer to my goal of being able to deadlift 80kg by the end of the year by deadlifting 60kg. I am most decidedly knackered though.

Yesterday I went to see a film about Andy Goldsworthy and it was very good indeed but rather than talk about it here -I shall put it in the next section:

Programmes/Films Watched
Reidelshimer T (director) 2018 Leaning Into The Wind UK Filmpunkt Skyline Productions
A film which followed Andy Goldsworthy making work with his daughter Holly as his assistant, talking about his influences, researching and showing images of his work around the world, either in situ or in progress. It's many years since I saw an exhibition of his work at Leeds Art Gallery and fell in awe of it. IIRC it was the shapes made out of dried leaves held together with thorns which most impressed and intrigued me, as well as the use of brightly coloured natural leaves in situ in the landscape. This film also showed his pieces within a city setting too - think it was in Edinburgh, including his beautiful temporary pieces where he lies down on the floor as it begins to rain, waits til the ground surrounding him has changed colour with the rain and then stands up - leaving a splayed limbs human shape behind which quickly becomes spotted and disappears. Beautiful, simple, evocative, poignant and fun.

He talked about how for him being an artist meant he could ask the question - can you walk by something or through something as he was making his way through hedges - not from front to back but from one end to the other in a way that looked very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous should you fall. He did say that learning to fall is very important for an artist. He also talked of how his favourite kind of day is an overcast grey calm one as that gives him time to stop and that's a relief.

It also showed him revisiting the coffins carved into the cliff above Morecambe Bay in Heysham and the Sleeping Stones they've inspired him to make around the world. This made me especially happy as I went there in July and laid in one of them. How much time and weather changes things - in the film they were full of rainwater, when I saw them they were full of dust. Which also reminds me of the scene in Brazil where he was throwing and sweeping dust into the beam of light from a hole in the roof in an otherwise abandoned cottage. I also found the covering of a hand in thick black mud and washing it off under a waterfall very moving as it made me think of loss and the transience of all things though it could also be thought of as a revealing too.

As ever lots of food for thought and I really enjoyed the way he described his work and the motivations behind it. It did also make me wonder about health and safety as there was an awful lot of climbing, stone carving with power tools and being alone in the landscape and physical discomfort at a level I wouldn't be at all comfortable with. In my eyes - he really does suffer for his art.

Books Read
Ongoing reading of Rings of Saturn and Gaudy Night
the unread pile of books that I need to read continues to nag at me......

Exhibitions Attended
None - but definite plans have been made to visit the Victorian Giants of Photography at the Millenium Gallery in Sheffield later this month.