Reflective Research Journal – 3rd Year – Week Eighteen

Monday meeting – no new news about getting into studios, kind of giving up, it will be so little time now even if we do get back.

My continuing reading and research on the microbiome from Alanna Collen’s 10% Human and offshoot reading has revealed that the Hygiene Hypothesis has been updated to the less catchy and less self-explanatory ‘Old Friends Hypothesis’ referring to the beneficial bacteria we need, but that its not really catching on as a name. Meaning scientists now think its not so much infections/diseases/viruses that we need to be exposed more to in early life, it’s good bacteria, friendly microbes, that you can pick up from soil, pets, the skin of fruit and veg etc… though there are also pathogens which can cause human diseases present in the soil, so it’s still quite complicated…

From an article called ‘Cleaning up the hygiene hypothesis.’ : (Link at bottom)

‘Various research teams have proposed alternate names: microbiome depletion hypothesis, the microbial diversity hypothesis, and, of course, the old friends hypothesis. None have caught on. In an effort to at least change public behaviors, some experts now speak of “targeted hygiene”—eliminating the spread of pathogens while promoting steps to restore a diverse microbiome. For example, one can teach children to wash their hands after handling raw chicken but also encourage them to play outside in the dirt. “If your child has been out in the garden and comes in with slightly grubby hands, I, personally, would let them come in and munch a sandwich without washing,” says Rook.

Unfortunately, nuanced messages—such as “wash your hands sometimes, but not others,” or “use antibiotics, but only when needed”—can be difficult to communicate to the public. However, that communication will be key to reversing the rise in autoimmune and allergic disorders.’

Megan Scudellari

Heard the term scatalogical and realised how well that applies to my my videos. Searched Scatalogical in Vimeo trying to find an artist, Katya Kan, who painted that word and herself in shit in a google search of the same and came up with some interesting videos, but none of the artist I’d been looking for. One called Scatology from a guy called Chris Mullington gave me some ideas which may or may not inform my videos. 

Watched Luke Fowlers All Divided Selves 2011 about R.D. Laing all the way through a couple of times and have signed up for Erica focus group to discuss the film and share video work next Friday. People like him would be silenced/cancelled these days for his controversial ideas and yet he seems a very sensible, understanding and intelligent guy asking lots of good questions. (Though he doesn’t maybe seem to have been around for the 10 children he fathered with 4 different woman…) It made me feel depressed that that kind of radical thinking that was going on in the 70’s didn’t infiltrate into mainstream thinking in the decades that followed except in a few narrow areas, instead it closed down gradually and we are going backward again it seems. I loved the way the film was made with found footage and some additional footage I presume Like Fowler took himself, it worked really well. I discovered he’d made a docu/film called Birth with RD Laing in 1977 which disturbingly details many of the issues I am writing about in my dissertation too. 

On Wednesday I had a tutorial in the morning with Kate McLeod and showed her my latest video work, which was helpful as always. I asked if the subtitles at the end of one (working title – Rich Poo – which talks about poo as being a rich resource in a comically high pitched voice) was too educational and she said yes, she thought it was, which was good to hear as I was worried it might be, she was positive about the rest of the film though and also the updated version of the last film I showed her. (Working title Butt Life 2). She also really likes the music (Wolfit) from one of the earlier films, which is interesting to hear, as I had got fed up of that kind of sound and was enjoying the more minimal soundscape, but it makes me think, maybe I could have both and that it would be good to make some music again, as I haven’t in a while. She liked the recurring appearance of the miniature green me which I am calling the fecal fairy just now.

Early version of what became final film; ‘Butt life Poo Friends’.
Early version of what combined with ‘Rich Poo’ above, became Final film; ‘Butt Life Poo Friends’.

After the tutorial I finished a version of my fecal fairy, or fermenting fairy (in this case) costume and got dressed up and had Charlie help me with some filming of kimchi making and water collecting, which I have since edited in to what could be another short film in itself, or be integrated into some of the others films as a longer one. I got so involved, that I have only just realised this moment, I missed the CAP artists talk with Graham Fagan, the first one I have ever missed! 

The costume was a knitted bikini top in cabbagey colours, with the cotton wool ends all left hanging and a belt, like a medicine belt, made from a scarf with all the trash-stuffed, painted pillowcase fabric bodily objects hung from it and the birthing doll at the front like a weird homunculus cod-piece or loincloth. 

Worked some more on my dissertation report on Thursday and Friday.

I went to an online drawing and text workshop with Jade Montserrat, in association with Hospitalfield on Friday, which was interesting but I found less able to enjoy and be excited about over Zoom, than if it had been in person. But I hand it to her and the organisers for keeping things like that going through this period of time. And I was very glad I went, because the readings she did were brilliant. There was Alexis Pauline Gumb’s Archive of Fire and Adam Pendleton Black Dada (and Gabrielle Civil’s Swallow the Fish, which she didn’t have time to read out but I will look up).

Really satisfying meaty writing, well read (by Jade) and full of great imagery, which is presumably why she chose it as we drew/wrote along with it in charcoal. I got some good ideas out of it, though what I produced during the Zoom call was limited, as I had to work on the bed, as the only big flat space available at the time as it was at 5.30pm) and was trying to not make too much of a mess.

My work from Jade Montserrat’s workshop.

Alexis Pauline’s website has poems she has written in response to photos of her as a child with her father and siblings. Makes me want to do a project about my lost photos again. Maybe line drawings roughly depicting my memory of them, with some text/poetry too. A book maybe.

Article about the Hygiene/Old Friends Hypothesis:

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