I is for…

…my idiosyncrasies. The way I laugh far too loud sometimes, the way I think of everything in acronyms (don’t you think it would be a fantastic language if we spoke that way? Even my man has his own applied set of acronyms – RJW), the way I am so gullible sometimes, the way I eat far too fast at every meal time, the way I tidy and clean when things are going wrong, the way I don’t understand literal meanings and titles like scarecrow (yep, they actually scare crows) and bank holidays (apparently that’s when banks take a holiday, right?). Maybe I shouldn’t state that last point on literals considering my PhD research topic…hmmm…and maybe that’s why I am so gullible, wow common sense goes out the window sometimes…

So I finally got around to sending an introductory email to my third PhD supervisor in China, artist Xu Bing, and I’m now waiting patiently for his first reply with bated breath, what will his response be to my research? We will see! My first supervisor Joshua Jiang, is currently in China…

So this week, my performance artist friend Peter McManus seemed to have a lot of time on his hands and he  emailed me three very beautiful links…one is very applicable to the conversations that were had during the Pg Cert session last week regarding personal visualisation and perception. Called Bokeh Type, it is an experimental typography project by Cameron Adams. He says he “sees things in movement nowadays” so created this “algorithmic touch” to a beautiful concept. I took a screen grab so you could get a feel of what the programme or interface is like (I could be using the wrong computer jargon here!).

I wondered what bokeh meant so I looked it up…

“The word bokeh is the out of focus area of a photograph or image, where the scene lies out of the depth of field. Coming from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), it means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji (ボケ味), the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility.”

I love this definition, it completely adds to the visualisation process. This little typing toy can become addictive, calmly satisfying, in my mind showing how words might sound (phonetically?) through imagery and colour. If only there was a soundtrack…

The second link Pete sent was to a Polaroid project called Before I Die I Want To… looking into people’s issue of mortality on a global scale, the death of the Polaroid and the psychologists tool called safety contracts. It really did show what was of importance to them. Some statements were cutting, others superficial. For many women it was to “have a baby” and for others to travel or to see as much as the world as possible…so for me? Well…I reckon “before I die I want to go and help other people in a different country, build houses or something physical, give it all up for someone and something else…” and this will happen at some stage, I’ll suddenly just go and do it and get fed up with materiality. If I’m thinking it, or if I have even said it verbally, it will usually no doubt happen.

The final link is for Dirt Poster by Roland Reiner Tiangco. A typographic delight created from a crudely, dirty, messy, cross-contaminatory, interactive process finishing with the quote…

“The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty.”

It is almost like a grown-up version of those water pen art aquadraw packs you used to have as a kid with magic paper that revealed pictures, images and colours. I was the child that drew straight onto the wall under the dining room table in the lounge with felt tip pens, only for my parents to discover it months later as they never moved the table. (*Sorry*) They were good fairytale pictures though.

Today, whilst eating my mixed bag of cereal (I usually put a few different types into one bowl), Mike in the office at Wolverhampton Art Gallery asked how “received” was spelt, so I told him, “I before E except after C”. Yes, I’m professional and I rhyme at work. I could have gone one step further and come out with the “Every name is called a noun…” poem that my Mom taught me as a child (and a rhyme she still tells students today)…but on this occasion I won’t. From this, we discussed how sometimes your brain just can’t remember how things are spelt, or that words just look funny sometimes no matter how many times you have spelt them already. I don’t particularly like double O words and love how “W” is actually pronounced “double U”. Dean Melbourne, another colleague at the Gallery and good friend, emailed me a Cool and Obscure Words list during my working day. My favourites are agowilt, contesseration, gelastic, hypocorism, lexicomane (that’s me!), serendipitous (but I knew that word already as it’s a Marsden favourite) and verbigeration. Yes, I am a word geek, or word girl…which is also an American kids TV show, her monkey sidekick break dances when he gets the definition right, she saves the world through spelling. A ludicrous idea, but I like it.

Also the institution that is Teletext is finally going, going gone…many a holiday booked from there and Bamboozle games won…you can’t beat the pixellated imagery of those pages, or the impatience you get when the next screen won’t load quick enough. Here is one of the best of image pages, I took it on my phone…it is certainly representative of a specific generation.

This post seems a little bit childish and almost giddy…perhaps after another PhD session I’ll be back in an academic frame of mind. I swear it is because it’s nearly Christmas…two weeks off to write and box up my life. I’m in a word…ready.

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