n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

notes from The Stupidio

So, I feel like it's been a really long time since I put up a good long decent post; thus I promised myself a bit of time (an hour?) to sit down and write... in between photoshopping and figuring out how to do book things, and in general, sequestering myself in my new studio to "get something done."


Oh yeah. My New Studio. Well, one of the deals that's supposed to make this school (SAIC) kinda cool is that it's an interdisciplinary school, and although you are accepted into particular departments, you can take whatever classes you want, in any department, without anybody giving you any flak, or having to fill out a bajillion forms. Another of the other deals that's supposed to help convince people to come to this school and spend lots and lots of money for a few years is the availability of resources such as printers, cameras, video- and sound- editing machinery, sound booths, printing technology, free access to the museum, and so forth... including studios.

Most of the studios are rather like little dens etched into the substructure between the different classroom floors. The fibers department has a few nice studios knocking around in one of the upper floors, and there are a few other "special" studios with things such as windows and ventilation and space, but most of the studios are tiny and damp/dark. But they are still studios: spaces away from home to sit down and work, to spread out lots of stuff and not worry about having to clean it up afterwards because it's going to get clomped by your big feet in the morning when you stumble blindly out of bed and land in whatever the freshest pile is, places to build the aura of "working artist" within and to put up strategies on the walls and take them down according to temporary whim.

But to spend a small, small time whining... the Writing Department at SAIC stands out above all departments as some kind of testament to how writers are strung along by... something... that eludes me. Pretty much up to this point, SAIC has gotten away with allowing the writing students the following resources: one free printer in a shared computer lab (that's always full), a little bit of $ for printing b/w-print at the Service Bureau (if it's for a class), two open-tab gatherings a year, one publication of graduating students' work.

Yeah, in addition to a few good teachers who don't even get paid all that well, those are the resources $35,000 a year will get you in the Writing Department at SAIC.

As might have been expected, there's been some rumbling the past few years, and there's a sense among the writers that we have a right to expect a little more bang for our buck. As every other studio-student at this school is given a studio space, the idea has been coming around that perhaps we shouldn't be exempt from this boon, which up to now, has been nearly-completely nixed on the basis that "nobody needs space to type on a computer." But part of the problem is that, well, actually, people *do* need space to type on a computer, and the other part of the problem is that, as this is a school that hypothetically encourages interdisciplinary work, we might not simply be typing on a computer.

The partial result of denying writing students studios has been to discourage them from taking classes in other fields, which means there's less mixing between writing and other artistic fields than might be expected, or would certainly be productive (for example, film and sound and graphic design all heavily rely on writing to produce content for production, but the number of students from those departments in our classes is minimal, and not too many writing students go to film production).

The good news is that this is finally changing, and the grumbling has gone a great ways. As a writing student, you now need to fill out of a request form that indicates how you will be using the space for something "beyond" writing. Which is what I did... And now I have a studio, which I share with another student in the writing department.

It's one of those spaces with lots of potential that I hope to tap into soon, but so far, I've been unable to get my shit downtown, although I'm doing my best to rectify that this week. There's plenty of wall space, a small thin window that opens up into the inner courtyard of this building, two large desks, a long table, and floor space as well. Because AH and I were willing to share a space, we got a slightly better one, not one of the complete dens, just a halfway-den that AH dubbed "The Stupidio," which is what I call it too, now that I have one.

Now that I gratefully have one. A resource fought for, and finally made available in this, my last of semesters.


Yes, this is my last semester in school. In school period fullstop, that's it kiddo, because I'm done and very done with being a student. I don't feel like one anymore... not that I'm done learning, but that I'm done being underneath. I feel like learning from equals, mutually, as friends and without any strange power structure around me anymore.

Last semester got a little weird towards the end, with the whole new-teachers hiring process and the squabbling mess the department got into about the direction(s) we could take. One of the professors got very bitchy and mean and vocal about other professors, and students as well, and right at a time when a few difficulties hit us. It felt low, all of it felt low, and I decided to stay out of the writing department this semester, even though I still love many of the people there.

I also just wanted to use my time to finish exploring books and visual-textual mixing.

And so, both my classes this semester are in the undergraduate print department - one is Artists Books, and the other is Digital Input-Output, which involves spending lots of time with Photoshop, Illustrater, and InDesign, and talking about how to print a variety of materials (like buttons, posters, cakes, and of course books).

Both of my advisors, on the other hand, are in the writing program, and so I think this will be the mix that I need to make something. Yes, maybe to make a few things. To write something.


Which is what I want to do.

But I've been in a bit of torpor since coming back from AK, feeling very lazy, very slow, struggling to focus my mind on the tasks at hand, struggling to focus on anything at all, and well, honestly, re-negotiating for myself why I care.

why I care.

I'm feeling a bit like I don't. I know I should. I can list a bunch of reasons why I might. But I think I've just spent too much time this summer lonely, and the only person I really hung out with very much was the girl I liked, who sent me a text-message when I got back from AK, in lieu of talking to me about the course her life had taken.

When life becomes a series of pauses between gnarly electronic communications, it makes me question the purpose behind writing... when what I would like is speech, when what I'd like is movement, when what I'd like would be to live within the chimeric entity of a Chicago subway connecting gillnet site to gillnet site. But it hasn't felt too possible lately.

It's not that I've been sad really. Because I've been visiting with all my friends... especially LH, who is fabulous in extreme and makes me excited for art. No, it's not really being sad; it's more of trying to figure out the precise, exact reason for each new muscle I'm going to have to grow.


Soon I will post a link to a book-making technique I learned yesterday, which I'm going to use for the first book project due next week (15 editions of a book!)... the so-called "Never-Ending Book."
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