Sj7g09's Blog

Archive for January 2011

Posted on: January 11, 2011

Sometimes I actually want to be the sort of person who is positive and healthy and normal, just because it would make everything so much easier, if I could actually be  that instead of being this and wanting to be that. Doing things because they’re easier isn’t really a good reason to do things though, and with this I don’t really think it’s possible. Like, it’s easier to comply, do what you’re told, not make a fuss, and have all those sort of experiences at university prepare you for later life. You don’t have to conform in this way in order to live, but it makes it easier. You’ll have less problems if you behave in this way – society is set out to favour people who conform to social norms and values, and you’ll meet less resistance if you just bloody well behave, but you don’t have to. There’s incitement to, encouragement to, and aversion to not to, but you can try to behave differently if you really want to. I always had a theory that this university was intentionally bad in order to prepare you for how incredibly dickish everyone in your everyday life outside of education would be, but I never thought they’d actually advertise this themselves. Like being told that having staff say inappropriate, unacceptable, unprofessional things to me should make me stand up for myself more, and that will prepare me for life outside of university. Of course I think that’s meant as university teaching me to stand up for myself, but it more comes across that authority will bully you, and if you don’t stand up to them, then it’s your fault they’re bullying you. Even as they’re demanding someone stand up for themselves, they’re implying you’re a pushover because you didn’t realise that you’d been treated significantly badly enough to complain, because other authority denied it was a problem, and that made you think it was considered acceptable behaviour. So, the moral is, when authority tells you to stand up for yourself, you may stand up for yourself.

Part of the issue here is that I feel like I’ve been treated badly by a couple of different staff at my uni for different reasons, but that my principles on freedom of expression stretch so far as to think that it’s within their rights to behave like this. Even when it’s someone using personal insults, being aggressive in debating, and trying to impose personal morals on students, I feel that they should be able to act in that way, even though it made me feel terrible at the time. This is the difficult thing – I know that I am willing to put up with more of this sort of treatment because I dont want to silence anyone or get anyone into trouble for the things they think. That would be totally against everything I believe. And it makes it really complicated, because I’m really angry about how I’ve been treated, and I want it validated by the university, but at the same time, I dont want any change implemented through force. I filled in a feedback sheet today, and was obviously very negative because that’s how I feel. I also couldnt help writing how I felt about one particular lecturer, although I do feel that I was somewhat fair in saying that he was absolutely terrible in one-on-one sessions, but is a decent lecturer, because, on some level, he is. He’s not especially good – he repeats things, he’s very self-indulgent, he doesn’t allow anyone else an opportunity to think (edit: *talk*… interesting mistake there) and undermines people in discussions awfully, but, in comparison to the rest of the lecturing staff, his lectures are a dream because at least they have the potential of being indepth and interesting and about something. I wish I’d actually had more space to write proper comments, because I feel bad about writing such negative things and not having the relevant room to fully explain everything. I’d like to meet with someone just to talk about the issues I have with the course and the staff, but I feel like it’s my fault that I feel so badly about it. I feel as though there must be something inherently in my character that either provokes people to treat me like I’m worthless, or that I’m just too oversensitive. I realise that it’s not just me that is treated disrespectfully, but maybe other people dont care about it. I’m also not sure if there’d be any point in discussing any of this, because I’m not making a complaint. I hate how the course is run, I think it’s dull and unengaging and vague – there is no organisation, but then there’s nothing to organise because the course is just “do what you want”, which is great for someone like me because I really cant be bothered with working on things that I dont feel I have a strong engagement with, but it just means that there really isnt anything in the course for me to connect with. I like having discussions with staff or students about work or issues or whatever, but because it’s an art course, no one really has much understanding of what anyone else is doing because people are making work about things specific to what they’re interested in. And obviously the staff are often rude and overbearing. The ones that arent can be really nice, and I felt bad for still giving them negative reviews, but just because they’re nice people doesnt mean that they’re good lecturers. I think perhaps I’m overly critical – it’s welcome to find anyone at the school that isn’t a complete self-serving egomaniac, so nice but not good at lecturing is a definite improvement.

I think it’s probably fair to say that this isnt the right course for me. It was probably a mistake to take it, but I didnt realise it at the time, but at least it’s giving me a learning experience, and hopefully I’ll end up with a degree at the end of it. I think despite this not being the right choice of course for me, my reasons for seeing it negatively arent necessarily just because I’m not liking the course. I can see a lot of things that are really obviously wrong, and that a lot of people feel similarly about, but the uni seems so defensive about everything that it feels like there’s no point in pointing these sort of things out, seeing as the default position is “we’re not the problem, it must be you.”

Lots of things to worry about in the near future, mostly about university, seeing as I have an exhibition in the next few weeks that I haven’t even thought about yet. And probably won’t bother to think about, if I’m going to be honest. I’m not very good at all the things my university prizes – collaborating, playing along nicely, working as a team – so the idea of a collaborative exhibition is hell. I’m used to having to work with other people to set up exhibition spaces, and last time I had to do this I did have big problems with it, which I’m not sure I ever blogged about because I felt so bad about getting so angry about it. Basically, I waited to set up my exhibition space for 4 hours, because I had to wait for the cooperation of one of the most stupid girls I have ever met. I’m sure she has lots of good qualities, but courtesy and consideration are not her strong points. I’m by no means the most practical of people, but at least I make up for that in my absolute terror of inconveniencing other people. She had absolutely no idea what she was doing, but made no effort to not fuck things up for everyone else around her. I waited for her to move her work off the wall I had been assigned – as I said, I waited 4 hours. When she finally started doing this – because I politely (or at least restrain-edly) told her multiple times that I could not do anything to set up my work until she had moved her stuff – she explained that she hadn’t been able to move her pictures off the wall because she was waiting for the paint on her new wall to dry. She couldn’t move the things to the next wall, it wasn’t ready yet. When it was ready, she proceeded to move each image (there were probably about 15) separately, peeling them off the wall, removing the blue-tac, then putting them up on the new wall, in their right positions, across the other side of the room. It was so frustrating to watch I had to go and pace around the corridor and stand in the stairwell to compose myself, going back every 10 minutes of so to check whether she was done yet. I made a point of not bothering to help her move the giant bedframe I’d propped against the wall, because I wanted to test out what it felt like to know that I was doing something completely inconsiderate, but ignore social convention and do it anyway. Turns out, after 4 hours of wanting to shake sense into this girl, it doesn’t feel so bad to be incredibly rude. I also have to add that all of the pictures were of ponies, which I could at least find entertaining, because I was having to wait 4 hours for a blonde to move her pictures of puppies and ponies. The only thing I liked about her work was something she hadn’t even made – it amazes me that putting your horseriding uniform on a mannequin and having a saddle on a table counts as art. That sounds terrible, because I realise that anything and everything can be considered art, but I wouldn’t say that it’s good art, or that she counts as the artist.

Anyway, that story aside, I now have to deal with this, but on a presumably even worse level, as it’s not just collaborating to put things up on a wall, it’s collaborating to create the work. It’s a project that the lecturers haven’t decided whether they are marking or not, which seems highly unethical to me, not knowing whether this counts to my degree or not, but feels pretty pointless anyway. I chose a group that I thought I’d be able to work with, and probably would have been able to when I was the most dominant person in the room. When I was there, we all decided that there was no point deviating completely from our individual practices – we would gain nothing by doing something totally unrelated, and our work linked thematically to each others’ anyway. The week I’m not there, this all changes and becomes very “yes, sir, no, sir”, and the lecturer that they’d been saying wasn’t worth trying to please last week becomes the source of all wisdom, and we all rejoice that he is “very excited” about the project, which feels like was probably his idea, but he’s managed to convince the group that it was their very clever original idea. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but I can’t help being a bit cynical about people who can change their minds and principles that quickly. Of course there’s the high possibility that when I was there, it was just that I was being controlling enough to direct them to believe what I was saying, but then I don’t like how fickle they are in switching to listen to someone else 😉

But yes, so now I’m stuck having to create an exhibition, where the premise is that there are 6 of us with different styles of working, we get to collaborate, and not think about what we’re doing. The week I was there, we were planning to find our own space and work out where would be best for us to exhibit, but then it changes to letting the grown-ups assign us a space and we have to adapt to what the adults give us. That’s the idea. To be honest, when I first read all of this, it confused me so much I felt as though I was losing my mind. I literally don’t understand how you can create art based on a space, with no other theme or idea. I haven’t seen every room in my university, but I’m going to guess that they’re not really too too different. They have walls and floors and ceilings, and maybe some stuff in them. That’s it. How exactly are you meant to make something interesting in response to that, without having something else to work with?

To me, this feels like being put on a different course, or at least going back to the very beginning when I still reluctantly tried to take part in group projects, even though they were obviously completely pointless. It’s just a scaled up version of the first week of university, being given a group of strangers and told to make things out of balloons. It only looks slightly more credible because of the lack of balloons.

I also have to mention that the posters and invitations highlight and advertise that the piece is going to have “no forethought”, like it’s a good thing. I don’t know whether this is just what contemporary art is like now, or whether it’s that it’s meant to sound clever and not actually intended to read like that. Doesn’t really matter I suppose. I think it sounds terrible academically, but I find it so funny that I can’t bring myself to point it out and risk having it changed.

Just as a quick follow-up to my posts on the ‘opt-in’ system…

MP Claire Perry actually posted this on her twitter page, unless we have someone very cleverly pretending to be Claire Perry to discredit her and her ideas.

“100% of negative or abusive commentary about opt in system for internet porn is from the chaps. Women 100% positive (so far)”

Yep, I’m not even kidding. This is the level of thinking from the person proposing this idea. ‘Negative’ (not agreeing) and ‘abusive’ comments can be put into the same category, and that they must have been from men. Uhm… has every negative (read ‘abusive’…) commentor left a scan of their birth certificate, or perhaps a photo of their passport next to their cock, on Claire Perry’s website? It’s nicely convenient to think that all the negative commentors are men. Men watch porn, so of course they’re going to defend their filthy habit. All us lovely delicate feminine beings of course agree with our female politician, invariably representing our views and interests, because our ideas are dictated by our genitals. Not that the whole country is still pretty repressed about sexuality, in part because of ridiculous laws like this, and the restriction of material from adults, and that women are probably still likely to feel ashamed about this sort of thing. If we’re trying to shame everyone about it, and views on female sexuality are still really, really outdated (as a clear example, female ejaculation still classified as urination under BBFC guidelines, and urination being ‘obscene’ under the OPA), then is it any surprise women aren’t defending something that they’re told is disgustingly anti-female, they’re exploited by it, they’re internalising…?

I have no idea how to use Twitter, so I’m at least going to put up a clear record here – I am female and I oppose this disgusting, draconian legislation.

  • fred whitacre jr: they don,t have any sex invaled why are we so againce children being nude in pictures because of alll the sick fucking rapetist out there children
  • fred whitacre jr: she only 12 but it is not porn at all it is nude only only a sick person would want to fuck her not me but i will tell you the true she is a very hot
  • fred whitacre jr: i see noghting wrong just a nude girl no porn that would be wrong with a child but not worng with a grown up only nude pics of children is ok if no se