Monday, March 4, 2013

I am artist, hear me roar

This week was extremely busy, crazy and rather stressful, but I think I'm mostly recovered from it.

Monday: Monday was the beginning of Assessment Week at NBCCD (this week is their March Break).

When I got to school that afternoon, Keven, NSCAD's daytime security guard, told me that the reason why NS' "spring" break is at the time that it is is because that's the week in which students where committing suicide the most. So while it makes sense to have the break during that week, universities (including NSCAD) are still in midterm mode, so students come back with a few more exams or midterm projects to do. I like NB's break schedule a lot better.

We watched another movie during class: Blade Runner (I can't remember which version).

Tuesday: I spent the day tweaking the first project for Graphics, coming up with ideas for the second one and doing the readings for Obsolescence. I finished the afternoon by taking the files to Staples and getting them printed (which was an adventure).

We had another GA that evening. FUNSCAD I (the teachers' union) could go on strike on Wednesday. If they go on strike, SUNSCAD will hold a rally on Friday. One of the issues that FUNSCAD I is fighting is the fact that the administration is trying to prevent part-time and regular part-time faculty (part-time has three different levels, and from there it gets rather complex) from being on-campus outside the regular semester, which doesn't bode well for students who want to meet with a part-timer in the summer. If this is anything like FUNSCAD II's almost-strike, Tuesday night is going to be a sleepless one for me: I, like my fellow students and the faculty, don't want the strike to happen.

Wednesday: I went to school early to put my book together (Jeff wanted them bound).

He met with us individually to critique our first projects and discuss our ideas for the second project. My crit went very well.

Thursday: Thursday was a working class, which made me very happy because I wasn't as far along with the project as I would've liked.

I finally finished my homework for Friday that night (the usual readings for Obsolescence--this week's set was the last for that course--and writing for Writing for the Arts).

Friday: The usual discussion of the week's readings. At the end of class, Bob went over our proposals for the final focus essay (two thousand words, which will make this essay the longest I've written for a college or university assignment--bring it) and suggested ways in which we could take the essay further.

I did my presentation for Writing for the Arts, and I think it was one of my best presentations at either NBCCD or NSCAD. My theme was Marcel Duchamp and readymades. I gave a biography of him and then branched out, talking about the Fountain, his paintings, and artists who do similar work: Gene Nichols (who'll use just about anything to create rhythm: "I am addicted to sound, all sound. That's what gets me to thinking about everything as music.") and Andy Warhol (who used cheap, readily-available techniques to churn out multiples of his works). I couldn't help but get excited: this is the kind of thing that I live for. This is why I'm an artist.

After class, I discussed my idea for the WftA show with Anna. My idea was to take a bunch of photos around NSCAD, print them, arrange the prints with an envelope and take a photo of that. Title: Love Letters to NSCAD. While my idea was good, Anna felt it could be a bit stronger. She suggested actually mailing the photos to the Board of Governors (BoG) and NSCAD's acting president. We both got rather excited about the project, and Anna was thrilled that I was taking on a project like that: it couldn't be more timely.

That evening, I posted on the SUNSCAD Facebook group, explaining my idea, asking who's on the BoG and how I could contact them. I got the info, and then another comment suggesting that I send photos to the HFX Chamber of Commerce, as business organizations would be negatively affected in a big way if the university went under and the municipal government, as they have been silent throughout the whole mess at NSCAD.

One of the things I love about NSCAD is how they encourage students to be political. To quote the manifesto, "NSCAD's ability to nurture critical, political and philosophical thought continually sets us apart. It cultivates the artists and critical thinkers needed in today's society." I noticed that atmosphere right away, and while I soaked it up last semester, it was only in my finals that it really started to worm its way into my art. My approach to my education at NSCAD was always as another set of tools in my creative toolbox, and as someone who's become more political in the last four or so years, I appreciate the university's contributions to my art practice. Thanks, NSCAD!

Saturday: After such a crazy week (I was up to my eyeballs in homework every evening and stressing about whether I'd be able to get it all done on time), I tried to take the day as slowly as possible while still getting work done--and listening to Parsifal. By the way, the Met's current production was directed by Fraçois Girard, who directed The Red Violin. Oh, and he's a Canuck!

Sunday: I spent the afternoon working on my Graphics homework.

The BSO played a concert today. Feels like they just did one, but it was back in January. You know you've been busy when... Today's concert was the one that, if I lived in or around Bangor, I would've gone to (the cheap tickets are fairly affordable on a student budget--and yes, I'd put up with the crappiest seats in the world if it meant a couple hours of listening to one of my favourite orchestras). They played Vaughan-Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (one of my favourite pieces), Suite No. 1 from Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances and Vivaldi's Four Seasons (another favourite). All three pieces are rather strings-heavy, which makes me happy. I love a full orchestra--and when the BSO is going full-tilt, they can knock my socks off--but there's just something about a beautiful string section. The fact that the BSO's violin section is beyond awesome, reminds me why that instrument is one of my favourites and makes me proud to play the violin doesn't hurt, either. Long story short: BSO, I love you!

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