It’s been an interesting week both educationally and with my research. It began in a seminar on Monday when I was made horrifyingly aware that my current crop are deficient in what old people [sic] describe as general knowledge. Question: Who is on top of Nelsons Column? Answer: Mandela. I wish I was joking, but then got to thinking how important is that bit of knowledge? I pursued my questioning by asking them at which year their history lessons had stopped at school. One confidently answered WW2, so 1945 and another remembered vaguely an incident happening in or around 1952. I did the math (yuk) and pointed out that sixty-one years of activity was missing from their global reference point. No civil rights movement, no birth control and no cold war or three-day weeks. I’m no conspiracy theorist; I know for example that the CIA killed Kennedy and that the Peoples Princess, aka Liberace, was definitely homosexual, but I could probably formulate one about keeping our nations children and future stupid. So back to that point about how important facts are; knowing who’s atop of a monument in London will probably not get them a job but it might stop your mates guffawing in your direction at a formative time in your life.
I’ve started to write up my residency case study with TSL and as usual I’m finding it hard to remove the personal and insert the findings. Truth is I’ve grown attached to the men in the works, I knew of course that I would before I even started; there is something fundamentally pure about witnessing skills in heavy industry gleaned over many years. There’s a pride too, Mark the site manager knows that they make the best-handcrafted springs in the world.
I’ve got to the point in the document that defines my theoretical framework and even though I am testing methods for making new work for archival purposes there are other forces in play. I am looking at two theoretical positions that provide the basis for underpinning this method of research; environmental interaction theory [Lewin] and the theory of representation. My residency is in an environment that has a physicality, it is a space that needs to be negotiated, a dangerous space. It also has a human model outlining the significance of relations with work mates and finally a perception model, personal and collective perceptions of the institution they work for. Secondly, the theory of representation. My intended use of this theory is an ideological one insomuch as analysis of my chosen genre of photographic image making is designed to reveal something about how we view ourselves. It is bound up with practical knowledge and with how society represents itself back to itself.
It was pointed out that a lot of my header photographs include flames of some variety, a closet pyromaniac surely? I was also made aware (after the Libération blog) of how far standards have fallen in the noble trade of photojournalism, Check out this gallery of the Queen’s visit to Manchester this week and have a giggle.