she had two contacts when leaving school. one in catalonia and one on the isle of skye. she rang the latter first but noone answered the phone.
she told me this over breakfast in edinburgh, she having come to scotland for a holiday, living by now for 16 years in catalonia.
i had two phone numbers, one in salford, one in west lothian. i never rang either.
i also have two cousins nearby, one, my father’s generation who left to move to salford in the late-1950s (phone no 1), the other is my age and moved, about the same time as i moved, to northern ireland.
chance encounters with stories that make us in common elsewhere.
i stumbled upon the bearded gypsum goat (see earlier post) while looking for photos of the current diane arbus retrospective at gropius-bau.
i was searching for photos of those men and women that are named by their first and family name and the dangerous, bizarre, enviable thing that they could do. going through the exhibition it took me a while to register that there were times and places (and quite possibly still are) where a skill becomes you:
The Human Pincushion, Ronald C Harrison, NJ, 1962; or
Jack Dracula, the Marked Man, NYC, 1961
there were clearly more, and i am upset again with the one who fails to take notes for me, for not noting down more of those titles. even more so since arbus’s images are fairly ubiquitous online, the titles are not. it is as if those times when a strange skills could become your name remained captured in image but not in text. those individuals have become nameless, anonymous, merely to stand in for their bizarre skill.
Diane Arbus Headless Woman 1961
in all this fascination about bizarre skill = identity, i haven’t even begun to explore a bit further the young couples she photographed with young women full of sadness and despair and gender relations expressed in stares, hands and gestures.
my suspicion is that those have travelled far more easily across time.
Pablo Picasso, Goat with gypsum waste (reproduction after photogram), 1962
while searching bookshop postcard walls in vain for someone else, i found this goat and was reminded. reminded of the project task for the year: person-making.
picasso’s goat as assemblage of stencil and gypsum seems to indicate the errands and errors of the project thus far:
i saw and took it for a stencilled tree – whatever mysterious process i assumed, it put my imagination to full speed to play with various alternations of a tree and a cutout. preferably in animal form (the latter), if not a goat itself.
stencilled tree or not. it serves as a notetaker nonetheless, with questions asked about randomised planes that intersect and recombine to different source materials and all sorts of animal fantasies.
mine of the goat travelled quickly to the baba yaga.
yes: person-making has neither been innocent nor circumspect this year. even if it has remained rather invisible.
but today, there’s picasso to serve as a stand-in. maybe even for the baba yaga. who knows?
… one of the sights and events this city offers (the other one only rarely). even on a birthday night. (unfortunately: no flying bats were seen)
you can almost hear it as a german noun, no?! just one long word instead of four.
one of the rare timespaces where i’ve been catching up and finishing with a series of books over just a few days.
the most recent one, after varied novels of contemporary and historical romantic relationships, is carolyn ellis‘s The Ethnographic I. it had been my commuting read during winter but after that languished. a novel with numerous endnotes to follow up and a class set course on autoethnography.
I indeed read it as novel, now facing some annoyance of not having the notes that a textbook form would have engendered more easily in my researcher I.
Ellis’s book puzzled me again and again. it puzzles my researcher I as well as the one who got away: the former, similar to when reading Lauren Berlant, wishes she had encountered these ways of doing academic research 10 years ago and wonders if that would have provided a different route through the disciplinary maze of the academy. The one who got away gets – as usual – annoyed at these thoughts : ‘can’t you see the dilemmas and the post-hoc rationalisations this writing makes for talking something good which plainly isn’t. Na,… and while they argue on and on in this manner, another debate is developing elsewhere about posting the following:
‘”I think there is something to be gained by introspecting silently and work to be done privately before you offer your life to the world,” I muse. “If someone reveals very personal details before you have a relationship with that person, or it’s not in a context, such as a classroom, where we have agreed to explore these issues together, then revelations may not have the effect the person is hoping for. What if someone says, ‘I am a violent person,’ ‘I’m suicidal,’ or ‘I’m so depressed I can’t meet my responsibilities,’ and you don’t know anything else to do about them? Isn’t there a danger that what you do know will become the person’s master status and you won’t be able to see much beyond that? People form opinions of us and act based on these perceptions. The same is true if we read autoethnographies that don’t seem to have a purpose other than revealing one’s life.” Carolyne Ellis in interview with Leigh Berger, in C. Ellis The Ethnographic I, 2004, AltaMira Press, p 320
The one who didn’t take notes is intrigued by this passage as it puts word – in public – to the processes she experienced as groupwork for most of the past year, in the training course on coaching and facilitation she, and the rest of Gesa, has signed up to. But, then: this definitely isn’t the quote on researchers and their ruthlessness that she had remembered. Notetaker: you may have to read again for that quote — that was significant also.
In any case: a new page is opened in public: that of groupwork. (See above)