It’s been a funny old week. Last week even though I had a rotten cold, maybe even Covid? I survived and made progress on my self directed project. I completed the 11th re-write of the script, had a meeting with my cinematographer see excerpt from the 3 hour meeting and the resulting shot list. Costumes have been acquired and actors have volunteered. I now need to get an equipment list together and visit TFTS.
In class my choice for the 10min research was Tehching Hsieh’s amazing One Year Performance 1980 -81 where Hsieh clocked in on camera on the hour every hour for a year. What a staggering feat of endurance, meditation and dedication. He gave us a year of his life for this almost Zen performance. Hsieh has completed 5 such performance pieces with different methods.
My choice for further research was John Cage 4’33” I did get its Dadaesque commentary on what contemporary music could be. It’s emperors new clothes use of ‘Tacet’ the musical command for silence throughout the whole 4 minutes and 33 seconds caused walk outs, amusement and ridicule. Cage was also inspired by Zen Buddhist simplicity and reflection which he studied extensively through the 1940’s. His visit to the Anechoic chamber at Harvard university where all sound is absorbed showed him that true silence is impossible as he could hear his own blood circulation. Once he saw Robert Rauschenberg White Paintings in 1951 he knew he had to write his Tacet composition.
My tutorials went completely as expected which was great, but it’s good to hear, yep you don’t need to do that! The whole reframing of my art practice is in such a delicate balance that it needs that guidance and it is very appreciated.
The rest of the week has gone rapidly south and once again I nearly died. I am not sure why I refuse to recognise the severity of my health issues, but I simply don’t! On Sunday with both my son and husband ill from whatever I had shared with them, I set off alone to Oxford to have a guest experience with my daughter where she works. It’s was once in a life time (funny that) chance to experience how the very rich live. By the time I got as far as Telford I knew I was in trouble my knee was locking up and my bowels were starting to knot! However, by the time I reached Oxford I was on a high of yes I’ve done it! Pride before a fall! A night out at an Oxford sushi bar and I had a bowel blockage and the pain shakes… happy days.. of course I continued on. I did manage to eat a teaspoon of every course of my 2 Michelin meal the next day only now to be truly in trouble. My daughter hid my car keys and her flat mate drove me home the next day in my car with my daughter following from behind. I got to Telford and took it from there because basically I am stupid.
What did I learn?
Well to save the planet the very rich will have to alter their life more than we will, that said the hotel makes huge efforts to be eco-responsible.
That Michelin star chefs are artists not cooks. On the kitchen tour I chatted to the senior sous chef as he rolled out the thinnest pasta and made the tiniest most precise ravioli I have ever seen.
That the south east is horribly polluted, I struggled to breathe and I had constant heart palpitations, that’s why young kids are dying from pollution.
On my return I’ve been on fluids only, but I’m in my recliner now and slowly getting better. I know I’ve missed important meetings this week so I hope my fellow students notebooks will bring me up to speed.
Nice news today my Wrestling with Everyday Pain film will be shown in an exhibition in York in March.
If I had attended Tim’s class I would have brought my bits of Berlin Wall with me. I was based in Berlin flying the corridors left over from WW2. The first 2 years were military party town as Berlin was then split into 4 sectors, British, American, French and of course Russian. As the Soviet Block disintegrated things took on a more serious undertone with refugee flights including THE FLIGHT complete with the golden BB [There is a theory in military aviation that enemy flak, anti-aircraft rounds, or even missiles don’t matter because only one is meant for you. And if it was your time to go, the “Golden BB” bearing your name was going to get you no matter what action you try to avoid it.] More desperate attempts to cross the Wall including home-made hot air balloons. Which were shot down by the evil East German Stasi. Films show gun shot wounds as little neat holes, I can tell you the real thing is not the same at all and a 50cal round particularly to a child’s body is hideously devastating.
On the night the wall came down I found myself sat on the top of the Wall facing a young Stasi guard, I looked at him and thought did you shoot those children? I had never wanted to kill anyone before but instead of starting WW3 I handed him my bottle Sekt, scrambled down the Wall, threw up and went back to my hotel room and cried myself to sleep.
The next day I returned to the same bit of the wall between the old SS headquarters now a Modern Art museum and Checkpoint Charlie and hammered bits out of the wall. An American TV news team interviewed me and my Skipper and asked what the Wall coming down meant to us, he replied, ‘us out of a job in Berlin.’ He was right of course within a few weeks the Germans reclaimed their skies and I was posted onto the Boeing 767 and flew straight into the first Gulf War…