DJCAD Reflective Research Journal – Week Twenty Two

On Monday I finished stretching and priming my big canvas screen, bought and cut up etching paper, made a registration sheet, marked my paper (all a mathematical feat) and printed five prints from my first plate. Took hours. Then downloaded some sounds I had recorded over the weekend, to hopefully make the sound for my wolf video.

Tuesday did another batch of etchings from both plates. Took all day. Twelve prints in all I think; six of each. This will be one of my resolved pieces for assessment.

Wednesday’s artists talk was cancelled, and this was the last day of the strike, but now we have the Corona Virus pandemic, and there’s mutterings about whether the university will close altogether next. I wrote and sketched ideas, including mutated female forms, Louise Bourgeois-esk, which were all tits and vaginas, like sex dolls gone mad, exploring the idea of when a sexualized idea of the perfect woman or beauty becomes monstrous. I then worked on my psychoanalysis essay. Doing lots of reading on Lousie Bourgeois and realised I could bring Jung into it as well as Freud, which I hadn’t thought of.

Thursday, I had my open tutorial with Erica Eyres, a video artist, in the morning, which was encouraging. She asked to see my video from last semester and said that my performance work is quite advanced for second year and that my video work for this year was great and that it’s all there. I said I felt everything is a bit of a mess in my head and I have lots of ideas and disparate elements but don’t know how to bring them all together as yet. She compared it to the mess just before it all falls into place when your tidying a room. Later on, I went to the library to work on my essay, but was distracted by the sun on a little beech hedge and greenery outside. Everything was being shaken by the wind and instead, I wrote a poem on the strangeness of such beauty alongside such anxiety and ugliness as whipped up by the media and it’s reporting about the Corona Virus.

Harbingers of Anxiety

How can there be the beauty of sunlight and shadows on the ground,
And the winds soft rustle in the desiccated Beech and Oak,
When there coexists such ugliness?
Such communicators of misinformation?
The whipping up to crisis and chaos,
A world of anxiety which infiltrates and infects,
Faster and more deadly than any virus –
While the sun and the wind continue to show and shake,
The myriad living shapes and shadows,
As unconcerned, ceaseless and destructive,
As the media themselves.

I then posted it on facebook. It got a mix of responses, mostly good, but a bit of an attack by one woman. An artist in Aberdeenshire, who said ‘actually…no…our generation has never been through a serious health challenge like this before and calmness and respect is needed’. Then posted a Newsweek article with the headline ‘Young and unafraid of the Corona Virus? Good for you, now stop killing people!’ She went on to say that some anxiety was good in this case. I argued that I had both calmness and respect and agreed it was scary and my poem had been a criticism of the media only and that I didn’t think anxiety was good, it makes for panic and poor decisions, lowers the immune system and causes people to lash out when they should be supporting each other. And I critised the article for being dubious on the factual front and the kind of aggressive, dramatic, emotive journalism which I was trying to avoid. The exchange left a bad taste, but made me think if I needed a subject for a third etching, then there could be something in this and if not this semester, it could definitely feed into my ideas on the nationwide helpless, passive stance on health and looking towards encouraging a more autonomous holistic attitude towards health which I might try to develop in third or fourth year.

Friday, we had our lecture on Bodies in Cyberculture which was really interesting and feeds into some of the ideas in my work.

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