S is for…

…is for swimming. Over the past few weeks RJW has got me back into swimming. I never used to like it, and I still don’t like putting my head underwater as it makes my head and balance go funny. I believe this dislike came from being taught to swim in an outdoor pool at primary school in Surrey, alongside having repeated bouts of tonsillitis, which eventually stopped when I had my tonsils removed at age 11. Anyway, I love it now and each time I go it becomes a challenge to see if I can improve my technique (if I have any at all) or how many lengths I can squeeze into half an hour. I’ve already been today and there is something quite cathartic about it, all worries and thoughts runaway from your brain, pour out like water going through a sieve…this also happens when I tread concrete. It has helped me this week as I have been in a bit of a funk the past few days and I am not talking music, a bit like alphabet soup without the vowels…so here’s to running and swimming…getting that blood pumping…and to making sense of this world we live in…

I have come across two new journals of the past week. The first is a German-based publication called ‘The Exhibitionist’, a journal about the process of exhibition making. There are not many magazines or journals out there which specifically focus on curatorial and exhibition design methodologies so it should be an interesting read. The second journal I found is called ‘LEAP’ edited by Philip Tinari, a brand new magazine dedicated to contemporary Chinese art and produced bilingually. We will see how it compares to the other contemporary Chinese art journal Yishu. The second issue of LEAP has just gone to print and I am desperately trying to get hold of the first and subsequent issue to read. I think Tinari might be a good case study to interview as part of my PhD, let’s see if I can make contact with him.

On Wednesday, it was session four out of five of the SEDA PPG teacher training course and it was actually one of the most enjoyable. We were asked to select a presentation from the wonderful TED website, and the funny thing was I chose the same video as someone else in the group – Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on how teaching kills creativity from February 2006. We got to watch it in the afternoon and it went down extremely well. Many laughs had by all, giving everyone a real sense of positivity and motivation. He has such an amazing sense of humour, quick wit and a sense of humanity. He stimulates and challenges thought by building context of his chosen subject through the use of personal stories and storytelling. This video inspired me so much that I went and got Ken Robinson’s recently reprinted book ‘Out of our Minds’ which looks at creativity, where it went and how to get it back (if it got lost at all). I will recommend his texts to others in my creative circles for sure. When I type ‘for sure’ it always reminds me of the Mandarin (Chinese) word in pinyin shū fu 舒服 which means comfortable…not sure why, it must link together in my brain somehow. Speaking in and of Mandarin, it is my last session next week and I still haven’t managed to find anyone for one-on-one tuition over the summer months, which I think will prepare me a lot better for the PhD fieldwork research in China in the Autumn. Let’s hope I find someone sharpish!

My performance artist and creative friend Peter ‘MK’ McManus or Massive Kid (as he is professionally known) sent me this link to a writing website, but not just any writing website. It’s called ‘Write Something‘ – an endless senseless collaborative book…I put the last sentence…

Whilst researching artists for my undergraduate Fine Art students I came across this New York paper and book artist Donna Ruff

Image © Donna Ruff

And also Noriko Ambe…aren’t they stunning?

Image © Noriko Ambe

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