Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Representing Reality

I just came back from one of the most hectic excursions I have ever been on; 4 days, 5 cities, 2 countries, 9 galleries, 2 castles, 3 churches, an artists community and a medeival settlement. I saw well over 3000 images in theses galleries, some were huge whole wall instalations. I saw Monets' , Miros', Munchs' and Picasos'. Yet of all of these, the one that stood out for me was this note (not even a photograph) by Duane Michals; no larger than a postcard.

Image courtesy of:  http://www.reframingphotography.com/content/duane-michals
(this is not the exact one that I saw but almost)
Text reads:


How foolish of me to have believed that it would be that easy. I had confused the appearences of trees and automobiles, and people with reality itself and believed that a photograph of these appearences to be a photograph of it. It is a melancholy truth that I will never be able to photograph reality and can only fail. I am a reflection, photographing other reflections, withing a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing.

When it comes to are as research, it is true that such reserch will not depict reality; rather a reflection of a reflection. But is that realy any different from other research?

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Find Numbers (to me)

I have been missing Gábor blogging; his blogs are some of the most entertaining blogs I have come across. Maybe I think so because of my personal connection to the writer and the content or perhaps it is that my husband's writing is a wonderful balance of whit, the mundane and thought provoking intellect (maybe you could offer a more objective opinion). Either way there is a new blog for me (and you) to enjoy; Numbers.

In his first post, one, I am given I am given credit for passing the idea the idea to him (more like he stole it but since ownership of ideas is a complex issue that I am still debating with myself over I will let it slide this time). The concept is simply to photograph numbers sequentially...simple. Gábor found his number one on the spine of a collection of Foucault's works on ethics. Gábor also suggested that I "must have read about it" which isn't entirely true. The idea came to me after I encoutered this poster (which was part of an exhibition in Szeged):

Poster by Ferenc Kiss

For weeks (maybe even months) after I payed attention to every doorknob in the city, which in turn opened me to other small details; the door numbers for example which then spread to numbers in general. I love how this simple poster utterly transformed how I experienced the city I lived in, challenging me to fully be in the moment, to notice where I am in all it's rich detail. And so I am glad in fact that he stole my idea and would be glad if you did too and I am pretty sure that Ferenc Kiss wouldn't mind is you stole his too.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Art for Nowhere

This semester at uni I am taking :

  • Global Education
  • Educational Policy Planning and Leadership
  • Art Minor (painting, drawing sculpture, photography, art history evironmental art...etc)
  • and continuing work on my thesis (topic: Art As Research in Education - focus on A/r/tography)

...This article by John Tusa (reposted from nowhereisland.org) manages to bring together everything I am studying at the moment (and also made me smile and LOL)

Week 5: 8 October 2011

Sir John Tusa

British arts broadcaster and journalist

An arts policy for Nowhereisland

No child will be denied a full education in the arts at their widest.
Every child will be read to each night.
Every school will start its day by singing songs together.
Every child and young person will be able to learn a musical instrument to the stage where they can – if they wish – play in public or with others.
Every education establishment  will base its teaching on the knowledge and belief that the arts benefit learning of every kind.
No child or young person will be told that “the arts are not for you”. The arts belong to everyone.
Every child will have the opportunity to look, learn, listen and make.
Every pupil will learn about the traditions on which contemporary arts practice is based.
Every teacher will be qualified to communicate enthusiasm for and knowledge of more than one art form.
No school or educational establishment will divide its teaching into either the sciences or the humanities. There is only One Culture and each reinforces the other.
Every child will have time in its curriculum to do nothing and learn how to be bored.
All higher education and all arts venues will integrate their learning and performance activities.
All government policy will be based on the assumption that healthy and vibrant communities are centred around the arts.
All government policy will address education and the arts in the same department.
No government will regard the arts and education as the workhorses of business and commerce.
No government will tell education and the arts that they should be “like businesses” or “more business-like”. All governments will acknowledge that the arts and education run themselves in ways that are relevant for their disciplines.
All arts organisations will accept full responsibility for running themselves efficiently and effectively.
Every arts organisation will have one or more representative from business on their governing board. Every company will have one or more representatives from the arts and education on their governing board.
Government will set a strict cap on how much money arts organisations can spend on management consultants.
No arts organisation will set out its aims and priorities in “powerpoint” presentations which consist of bullet points only and contain no verbs or complete sentences.
No arts organisation will use in its Vision or Mission Statement words such as “excellent”, “passionate”, “leading”, “world class” or any other word, phrase or notion derived from management speak.
No arts or education establishment will regard, treat, deal with or otherwise think of its audiences or students as “customers”.
Every arts and education body will officially proclaim and announce that its activities are fundamentally and intentionally useless. They will ignore and disregard any request or demand to demonstrate that they are useful before they are valuable.
No arts body will be funded if they declare their aim to be primarily instrumental.
Arts and education bodies will not be asked to demonstrate the ”relevance” of what they do as a condition of funding.
Every elected representative will spend at least one night per week at an arts event or performance of some kind.
No prime minister will avoid attendance at arts events on the grounds that they court unpopularity by doing so. On the contrary they will earn it.
No prime minister will attempt to court voter popularity by claiming to like current pop groups when in truth they do not listen to them.
Every government will ensure that those who give money to the arts in their lifetime receive the benefit of tax concessions in their lifetime.
No minister will refer to the arts as “elitist”, “irrelevant”, or merely “nice to have”.
No Secretary of State for the Arts shall be precluded from becoming Prime Minister.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dear Friends in Oulu,

By chance, last week, I came across info on this seminar on Minority and Indigenous peoples Rights and decided “what the heck, I’m going to go” and signed up. On Monday I will take my backpack and leave my family for a few days and travel on my own (I think the last time I actually did this was when I came to Finland for my university entrance exam and interview in June 2007 – so this is a big deal for me).

While I know Gábor is more than capable of holding the fort for 3 days (he is the stay-at-home-parent in our family after all), I am sure he would be very happy if you were to pop in for coffee or take the kids to the park for an hour, come by and  help cook dinner and eat with them or cycle with Lily to school (Sari, we are taking you up on your offers now). I am sure these little things would really help maintain his (in)sanity while I am gone. I would also like to warn you in advance that I will need some similar company when Gábor goes to a conference on “Making Marginalized Voices Heard in the UN Processes” in November.

I thank you in advance for your kindness.

Chasing Tractors


We have lived in Finland for 3 years but until now we haven't seen much of it other than Oulu, however, thanks to Kitty, we are able to venture a little further afield and experience a bit more of Finland than "city" life. Sari invited us to help with the potato harvest at her grandparents place. I was so excited about it, I'm not really sure why though, after all we were going to bend over and dig around in a muddy field...and the weather forecast was predicting rain. But I was right to be excited, it was a great day. Four generations of people working together, being welcomed as part of the family; working and feasting. It was a wonderful taste of the life I want for my family's future.

The kids had a great time, Lily and Sari's niece were I think 2 of the fasters potato pickers in Finland and Ernest spent most of the time riding in the tractor on Sari's grandpa's lap. It was quite a special experience for him; my children will never know my grandparents and they don't often see their own grandparent so it was very sweet to watch my toddler make friends with this gentle old man.

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