Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Seventeen

Did lots more work on various short videos last week and more dissertation research and a good bit of my dissertation report written. 

I had a tutorial with Erica and showed her another video. Snow Bird, Snow Pee, which has more minimal sound and less cluttered layered visuals.

I attended a zoom event at the end of the previous week, where Maria Fusco read her lyric essay, A Belly of Ireversibles and then discussion with Sean Edwards afterwards. I was his work she had been asked to respond to. I was surprised by the informal sound of the essay, it was more a train of thought. Very much about being working class. Interesting and thought provoking. She talked about hating the wasting of food, because she’d been poor, which I get, and a couple of other things I could relate to, like ‘As I advance, I look to my mask’, but her experiences are very much rooted in a world I am not part of – Northern Ireland, very poor urban area, sectarianism and she talked about what she called working class method which I am still not completely clear on.

I then heard it again at the CAP talk which Maria also gave and It made me think about being embarrassed about where your from, maybe your house/area, your class, as a kid anyway and then later being proud of it, but never shedding your past image of yourself and never quite feeling you fit in anywhere. I never know exactly how to describe/categorise myself in terms of class. Educated working class mother, educated middle class father. 70’s drop outs, kind of hippies, but without the drugs. On benefits, worked hard, just didn’t make money. Very poor, but had homemade bread sandwich pack lunches instead of free school meals. Run down cheap dirty rented cottage with lots of animals, that I was embarrassed to bring friends back to, but on a country estate. My adult life has echoed this same pattern, but my choices have been a bit more extreme or alternative and my views on health seem to be becoming more extreme than they were, which I feel cuts me off from many people. I have left FaceBook again because I am finding the world and the majority of attitudes and opinions too depressing just now. I am trying to address this to some extent in the videos I am doing. This lifestyle which to me is now ordinary but is hard to explain to others. The videos contain things which may not be very relatable, separation compost toilets and the like. I am trying to use humour to communicate and deal with how alone I feel with some of my ideas. And wondering if my so-called alternative lifestyle and ideas are very obviously middle class? And if they are, what makes them so? Many of them come from my Dad who is middle class, but they certainly didn’t come to him from his parents.

I looked at videos by Helen Benigston’s, who I came across while looking at the Birth Rites Exhibition. I liked her use of text. I also came across Art Oriente Objet, an artist duo (Marion Laval-Jeantet and Benoit Mangin), who’s work is about health and quite extreme. For example, one of them injects herself with horse blood in a piece of work called May the Horse Live in me. There are also two books I would like to read, as I read an analysis of them in an essay called ‘Reassessing the Natural Woman in Han Kang’s The vegetarian’ by Dr Alex Beeston. The other is Charlotte Woods ‘The Natural Way of Things’. I am reading The Wounded Story Teller – Body, Illness & Ethics by Arthur W Frank at the moment. 

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