It was 8 months without seeing the friendly faces of Fairfield, but now I’ve been back for 3 and a half weeks, and even before the first week was ended, there was adventure to be had. I started off by waking up at 5:30am for crew, mentally prepared (but not so physically) for lifting at the athletic center. The strenth and conditioning guy is large and intimidating, but is of course, on the inside, a lovable guy with a delightful sense of humor (“Make sure not to hit your chin when doing this workout. Because…well, it’ll hurt. But it’ll make me giggle”). We haven’t yet gone out on the water; so far we’ve spent some time lifting, some time doing various exercises to strengthen the legs (not unlike “pleasure island” from freshman football), the occasional run, and best of all, that magical activity known as erging.
On the first Saturday of the semester, each sports team participated in the Student Athlete Talent Show. Our team danced to Jump on It (you can’t really see me in the video since I was in the back…you can see my head for a split second at around 33 seconds in). We didn’t win, but we had fun with it.
One of my courses is Art Seminar, in which our only homework is to “Make Art”, and sometimes to read and respond to articles or book chapters on artists. I’m starting to wonder if there’s some sort of Marxist Feminist litmus test for contemporary artists that no one’s told me about…So far I’ve done a few scratchboards and ink drawings, in addition to some failed watercolors. The whole point is basically to bring us into the habit of working within our solitary world (more literally, our studio space), and using knowledge about artists past and present to inform our ideas and work. There will be a day when art critics will come in and give us an honest assessment of our work…oh boy.
Two weeks ago we went on a field trip to the Mass Moca. We saw a lot of the museum, but we went in particular to see an exhibit called Invisible Cities, also the name of a book we started to read in preparation. It has the largest collection of Canadian art in the US if I remember correctly. I found that most of the art there (and this is true of a lot of contemporary art) takes a great deal of its attractiveness from the fact that the materials used to make it are unusual. For example, a giant sculpture of a tiger skin (at least I think that’s what it was) made completely from cigarettes. Or what appears to be wooden beams supporting a brick wall…only it’s completely made from soap.
Another notable course of mine this semester is Heidegger, in whom I had been interested in learning more, especially after one of my art professors from last semester talked to us about him as we drew him. We’re reading Being and Time, which is quite possibly the most dense book ever written at any time in history on any subject. But I’m nevertheless glad I’m figuring out what it means (and yes, the professor is one of those who has us bring our books and says “turn to page 97, and look at 7 lines down from the top”).
So far it just feels like rowing workout after rowing workout. We’re supposed to be lifting and doing steady state (running/spinning/swimming) throughout the week during the afternoons, in addition to 5 scheduled practices a week. Blood is the price of glory, after all…