Sunday, December 1, 2013


I've officially entered the homestretch.

Monday: I returned Food, Inc. to the VRC and spent much of the afternoon editing the contextualizing statement. I also read chapter six (which wasn't part of the readings for APC) from Of Cigarettes, High Heels and Other Interesting Things. And I finally got my contextualizing statement back down to seven hundred and fifty words (while I got it down to that number for the rough draft, I wrote about a hundred more than I needed when writing the final draft and had to whittle it down, just as I did for the rough draft. This time, though, I was able to do it on my own.).

Tuesday: I had another meeting with Joan.

While I finally had the time to make it to a Feminist Collective meeting, no one else except Kelly (the woman who runs the meetings--she's a fellow student) showed up and the meeting was cancelled. An hour later I went to what was billed as material-making for an event to welcome the new provincial government but that ended up being event planning for said welcome--at least while I was there: I eventually had to leave because I had to be up early the next day.

Wednesday: We met at the Port Loggia gallery this week instead of our usual classroom to discuss the show and what the students who are in charge of talking with the gallery people found out. Afterward, we wended our way back to Granville. I spent the rest of the day in the computer lab, where Adrian helped me fix the colour in some of my images--which took a while and I finally felt some of that old finals-induced stress as, for a while, I felt that the images would never be finished. We did a dress rehearsal of sorts and had a look at one of the corrected images on the classroom's G5 iMac(!) and projector. I had several moments throughout the day where the realization that my final photography course was almost over hit me. I felt very nostalgic for my time as a photography major and had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't over yet. Even when I'm done my photography courses, I'll probably still come to the photography dept. next semester, as I like the feel of the place, it's easy to get to (which is saying something, given the maze that is the Granville Campus) and it has a regular laser printer (which is important when you're writing essays). And I'll have access to the photo printers until mid-April. I then went over to the Academy Building to replace the old, yucky images with the newer ones.

That night there was a huge storm in Halifax, with high winds. The gusts hit 115 Km/h around 1:30 Thursday morning, and from when I got home that evening to when I went to bed around 2:00 AM, the gusts were powerful enough that they were causing the glass in my bedroom windows to bend in toward my room, which scared me. I could also hear the windows shifting around on their tracks (they're mostly glued shut--mostly) and could feel the building swaying slightly.

Thursday: Before I left my building that day, I paid a visit to the rental office and asked one of the landlords about what I'd experienced the night before. She reassured me that what I'd felt was completely normal. Wednesday night is officially my first time regretting my decision to live as high up as I do: I haven't been that scared of a storm since I conquered my fear of thunder and lightning when I was seven.

I didn't do a whole lot that day, though I did come a little closer to making my final decisions for the photos that I want to print and give as Christmas presents. I also noticed just how off my laptop's calibration is (factory--I've never calibrated it myself), as I had it open next to one of the Photo Dept. computers (which are properly calibrated). My computer has a very blue colour cast, whereas the school computers have a slight magenta colour cast. I asked Alex what the Photo Dept. has for calibration equipment. They have two options, one of which won't work with OS X Lion (what I have on my computer). The other does, and I made a note to calibrate my computer when I come back next semester. Because my computer's a laptop, the colours will never match those of a desktop, but once it's calibrated they will be closer to the colours on a calibrated desktop monitor.

I could tell that finals were in full swing, as the Photography Dept. was a hive of activity that day. I kind of liked it, though: plenty of people around, we were all doing our thing and flitting around...

That afternoon, a friend, Laura, posted on Facebook that she would be going to Elsipogtog (pronounced El-sip-pug-tug) on Sunday. I expressed interest, and that evening we messaged back and forth on FB, figuring things out.

Friday: I devoted the day to doing the final edits on my contextualizing statement. It isn't due until Wednesday (due with the project), but as I knew I would lose a whole workday by going to NB, I wanted to make sure it got done and that I didn't have to stress about it. I printed it off about half an hour before The Cage closed.

I also discussed show stuff with a classmate, also named Alex. He and another classmate, Caitlin, are in charge of talking with the gallery people. I will be showing my project at the Anna Leonowens Gallery instead of the Port Loggia Gallery, where everyone else will be. While it sucks to be separate from my classmates, it's better for my project, as the Anna has monitors and media players, is insured and I won't have to go and turn on said equipment every day, which would be a pain.

Saturday: Another day of hard work. This time I focused on doing the final version of the video, also due to the loss of a workday. My day started with going to the Academy building and doing some tweaks on the video (the original plan was to just export the most recent version as a QuickTime file--turns out, I had a few edits to make before that step) and then exporting the final version. I then went to the Photo Dept. where I had a look at the video on one of the computers (I'd made some edits to a photo and wanted to make sure everything looked okay on the computers that I'd used to do all the other edits, as I don't know what the calibration situation is at the Academy Building). I was bothered by some of the photos, as there was some really noticeable white in the upper-right-hand corner. No one had mentioned it in crits, but it was bugging me. Besides--when I did a Freeman Patterson/André Gallant workshop in '08, one of my photos had some white that was out of place and André and Freeman noticed. Getting rid of the light spots might translate into a better crit.

Sunday: Up bright and early on a Sunday (which is amazing for me) and off to NB. I waited at my favourite coffee shop for Laura to pick me up. After what felt like forever (because I was eager to get going), she arrived. We stopped at the Granville Campus and she picked up a six-pack of film (each roll has thirty-six exposures) and then we headed off to NB. Due to staying up too late the night before, I snoozed for over an hour on the way to Elsipogtog. Because a picture's worth a thousand words, I'll share some of the photos that I took at the encampment. Not seen in these photos is an SWN truck parked right next to said encampment.

Yes, that's Maude Barlow.
We spent a couple hours there, talking with the people at the camp, taking photos (Laura shot a couple rolls for a school assignment--she's also a NSCADian), listening to the singing and drumming, listening to Maude's speech... Laura was interviewed by APTN. People driving by honked their horns (the protest has a lot of support from people in the surrounding area, settler and aboriginal alike). We then drove back to Halifax, where Laura dropped me off at the school. On the way, she asked me what I thought. I'd come with an open mind, not knowing what to expect--and it turned out to be an amazing experience. When she dropped me off, we talked some more, discussing my desire to learn more about First Nations issues and history (which can be a challenge, as one sometimes has to dig through a bunch of racism in order to find the truth). We agreed to meet sometime next semester and she'll share what she knows (she's Dene, BTW). I also plan to speak with the woman who's teaching Contemporary Indigenous Arts next semester, Carla Taunton, and meet with her, as I've heard from at least one former classmate that she's a really good resource for that kind of thing (I'd want to discuss everything--not just art). I just want to learn as much as possible and be able to sort the truth from the racism and myths.

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