Thursday, 30 June 2011

audience, audience, audience

It's been a very audience-focused week. Monday I spent the entire day in a training session on giving presentations at conferences. The instructor kindly declined my description of myself as a 'weirdo' for  enjoying opportunities to give a presentation, but did agree that it made me a bit of a rarity in her sessions. And what a day! Loads of fantastic advice and really useful feedback for all kinds of situations involving speaking to people you don't know terribly well.

Then Wednesday we had an internal presentation by our resident graphic and brand designer, Kristina Langhein. I half-knew, half-trusted that she did good work, but I had no idea how good. Wow. She's done some really lovely and thoughtful stuff over the years.

Now, I can give presentations. I can talk for England. I can even do a lot of the conceptual work involved in things like brand design. But if you want to see my weakness, ask me to do graphic design. I tried putting together a one-page invitation to my birthday dinner. Copied-and-pasted photo: check. Event information, centred, each piece of information on its own line, in a readable font? Check. I then sat there staring at the page for a good ten minutes, trying to think of anything at all to make it look more like an invitation and less like a picture perched on top of some text. After ten minutes I gave up and sent it out.

My lack of skills don't bode well for any future posters I might have to create. Then again, I do sit next to a brilliant designer. And she likes dark chocolate. Hm...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

hello summer

I'm back on the horse! Not to be confused with having a monkey on my back. More like the horse that threw me from a precarious height onto a rocky, muddy hillside spangled with goat shit and stinging nettles. That's the horse, and it took me a few weeks to clean myself off and find a way to get my foot in that high, high stirrup. But now I've got the rein in my hands, and even if the great beast will insist on going his own sovereign way at his own sovereign speed, at least I get to make something out of the view along the way.

In other words, I had a supervision yesterday in which I didn't make an utter ass of myself.

Now if only I could work a zebra into this post, my equine metaphors would be complete.

It's still windy as hell, I'm in long sleeves and a jacket at 2 pm, and an hour ago it pissed down rain. But for about four minutes out of every five, the sun is shining, and I can feel my fingers. God bless summer in the UK! I think I just might survive my first year (knock wood).

Monday, 20 June 2011

ok fine here I go

I vowed to myself I would blog this whole PhD process, and apparently, step one of that vow was to decide I didn't know enough to start blogging yet. Well, I still don't know a damn thing and realize every damn day that I know even less than I did the day before, but it's been nine months. Nine months! If it was a baby, it would be hatched by now. I'd be up all night worrying about it and running around all day chasing after it... not unlike my life right now. At least I'll be finished with it in three years instead of 18.

So - my project. I'm using performance, along the lines of performance art/live art, to inform new methods of interaction with digital media to support live, co-located, conversational performance of travel narratives. This plan hasn't changed much since I started, but it feels like I've been to the moon and back in terms of my focus, and how I thought it would develop, and what angles I thought I might take on it. Right now I need to clone myself at least twice, with one clone doing nothing but read, day and night. That clone needs to snort No-Doz to choke down one more article before sunrise. Know what? I dig reading. I dig reading theory. I dig reading crazy theory and imagining what I can do with it.

I am a geek.

Let's see how long before I post again!