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Week 2

This week’s lecture was an interesting and unique experience. I’ve never been asked to respond to a presentation by documenting my conscious stream of thought and not thinking too much about what goes on the paper. I struggled to encapsulate my response in drawings, so instead I mainly wrote down words and phrases that came to me while I was watching and listening.

For a lot of the art we were shown, I didn’t grasp the theme or the message. For example, The Nelken Line didn’t make sense to me until Miranda explained that the bodily movements represented the changing of the seasons. Another thing that made the experience challenging was the fact that the videos were all jumbled up in short clips. I felt inclined to try and understand the pieces as a whole, which was difficult as I had to try and recall the previous clips.

The clips from Touching the Void impacted me a lot. I watched them with my hand over my mouth and my mind kept drifting back to it while other clips were playing. I had to watch the whole documentary to satisfy the tension I felt. What Joe, the climber, had to go through to survive seemed completely impossible. While his mind went through despair and delirium, his body kept moving forward, which is incredible to me. It was as though for every challenge he overcame, a new one arose. He had already used all of his energy and willpower to climb up a crevasse with a broken leg, only to be faced with another dangerous journey back to the camp. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

A similar thing was depicted in 1917, when the main character escapes the guns and explosions battlefield but almost drowns in the river and is swallowed up by a waterfall. It’s interesting how nature was a more formidable danger than the violence caused by men.

The sea has been at the forefront of my mind lately. I live on the seafront, so it’s the first thing I see when I go into my kitchen, and the first thing I hear when I step out of the door. I’m also studying a module called “Literature and the sea,” in which we’ve looked at sea songs, shanties, and poems.

Sea shanties were created by sailors in order to unite a team and set a synchronised pace so that the crew were more efficient in their manual jobs like heaving and hauling (as well as making the work a bit more bearable). Some sea songs also told the story of a journey across the sea, talking about fear during storms, immigrants facing abuse from the crew, or love for this way of life. When I look at the horizon, I think about the first people who set sail for a country they couldn’t even see, and whether or not that was exciting or terrifying.

I was walking along the promenade late last night, sea was churning and hitting the shore’s rocks with such force that water came up and showered me. I thought of sailors during a storm, and how lethal the sea must seem at a time like that – vicious, unrelenting, almost alive, like a creature waiting to devour them. I thought of the Kraken and the Leviathan, and whether or not they would cross the minds of sailors and passengers when fear set in. I thought of how things always seem to go wrong in journeys, you get lost or find yourself facing obstacles, both mentally and physically. I still do not have a clear idea of where I want to take this project, but I know that I would like to explore those elements as part of it.

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