Saturday, March 09, 2002

Ina Blom, art historian and associate professor at the Institute of Art History, University of Oslo, came with glowing credentials to give our weekly Friday lecture at Glasgow School of Art.

The title of her talk:" Technology and Avantgarde Historiography in the work of Raoul Hausmann and Nam June Paik" looked interesting, if a little dry. She would discuss the interrelation between technology and historiography in the construction of an avantgarde legacy. Heady stuff.

She was very tall, even by Norwegian standards and rake-thin. She started to speak, clearly an impressive intellectual then I slowly realised that her lecture verged on the impenetrable. If only she had given us a hand out it would have been easier.

Question time. Not one hand went up. The students, normally a bright vociferous lot, noted for their asute questioning of speakers sat in stunned silence.

Afterwards Mona, a Norwegian, said:" My sister in Oslo tells me that none of her students understand a word she says."
Perhaps academics ought to pass a test, like to drive a car, to ensure that they are able to communicate efficiently with their student audience.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Discover Cafe Flicker in Glasgow part of the Glasgow Media Access Centre.
Full of bright young men gung-ho to make films.

It was great. Here's a place where you can meet like minded film-makers, show your work and get feed back.
Hand over my tape "Seahorse Symphony", something I made in Chicago and edited back in Glagow.
It was the first time had seen it on a big screen and it did look very dreamy and other worldly. Of course, the music helped enormously, a specially commissioned piece by The Shed Acquairum from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra resident composer.
Other works shown were mainly documentary. The standard was much higher than expected; had thought it would be full of art school videos of students staring at their navels. Instead all the work was full of pace and very lively. Some were professional and had got funding.

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Have got myself into a routine starting with twenty minutes drawing every morning. Getting a studio practice established is tough . Just read about a guy who sends out 20 sets of slides each month to galleries in the hope that they will pick him up. He reckons on a take up of 1 in 10....

Had my first studio visit from a buyer, Richard Diet. He saw "Forgotten", a digital print I made in Chicago of an older woman's hand,in the Smith Gallery in Stirling during their Christmas fund-raising exhibition for the local hospice but by the time he went back the exhibition had finished. He was a very cultivated young man with a genuine interest in art. Works in the Planning Department of Stirling District Council.

Tuesday, March 05, 2002

For some time now I have had a sneaking suspicion that the art world has been hi-jacked by theorists. A radio interview with Bill Viola confirmed it.
We an in thrall to the academics. Creativity goes out of the window when academia steps in.

While at college - Glasgow School of Art- the tutors would demand to know the theoretical thinking behind your work before you had done anything. If it did not fit in with the accepted norm of what is contemporary art you had it thrown out and told to start again.

Maybe it ws the department I was in - Environmental Art.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

Bit of a gap in this diary...been to London to see some exhibitions including the Andy Warhol retrospective at Tate Modern, Klee at the Hayward and French art at the Royal Academy. But its the film Front Runner at the ICA that makes the biggest impression.
Truly we are in the age of the moving image.

Meet up with nieces Louise ( accountant with Unilver who wants to throw it all in and do charity work) and Angela doing a course in journalism and on placement to a charity magazine. We all have a meal in Soho. John ( Angela's actor boy-friend ) has spent the day as the Pregnant Man in the Science Museum. He says some people get very irate. The most memorable was a woman priest who became very vitriolic.

Back to Scotland . Rain , rain and more rain.
Cousin Mary rings this morning. she is back fromtwo weeks on the Aalgarve. She met lots of people wintering out there. We discuss it. Why dont we just move out next winter at least for a couple of weeks? Very tempting.
Get another phone call from a guy who wants to buy a digital print of mine from a recent exhibition.