Carrying boxes on subway

Lessons, Lugging and Loading….

These will be the years of lugging and loading.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In order for me to achieve my visions — and keep some sort of budget — I’m going to be lugging all kinds of things all kinds of places across town and loading them into vehicles and spaces. Lots of hard work. Today I’m lugging two lighting rigs up to the studio.

Tim with boxes on subway
Regretting that I brought big boxes on the subway….

Lesson 1: I should also remember is that the trains run on an extremely altered and disrupted schedule over the weekend, so carrying things to the studio might not be the best idea, although the trains are presumably less crowded. Today, a less busy train is not the case.

In a cab to Columbia
I ended up taking a cab to the studio. Cab Lives Matter.

Lesson 2: Don’t take unwieldy objects on the subway. It seems like the “smart” or “cheap” thing to take a large or oddly shaped piece on a New York City subway. The correct word to put in quotes is “stupid.” First, people will hate you for bumping their thighs and knees with your object, and many New York denizens already seem just one minor even perceived slight away from kicking your ass. Not a predicament a sane person would court. Secondly, one never knows how many people will be on the train at any given time, so getting on and off with your bounty could prove a major headache.

Lesson 3: The emails in my Columbia inbox are beginning to arrive swiftly and ferociously. I’ve decided that I should approach them with a procedure I call RAD, or “Read, Act, Delete.” So that I don’t miss or forget events or obligations: I should read an email immediately, react immediately (which includes responding, archiving, or doing a task)

The benefits of the studio I chose are becoming more and more apparent to me.  As I mentioned before, I was fortunate enough to be third in the lottery to pick rooms. The tenant before me built a gorgeous storage loft in the space, and it will be indispensable to my clean storage AND filming vantage place, in the studio. It also just turns out that this woman’s slide night presentation was outstanding. I can confidently claim that her very serious — and yet oddly whimsical — mechanical constructions are astounding. Things like simultaneously rotating and floating objects that hover over a conveyor belt! Fascinating!

Today I have one more four-hour certification training — at least the last one that is absolutely required for me to gain full access to the building’s facilities. Unfortunately, to add to the fact that it’s Saturday, the class is Metal Shop safety, which is irrelevant to me, as I have no plans to dabble in metals. Still, you never know.

Cutting metal in the metal shop.
Bringing down the blade. Iron, man!

I need to think about the order and planning of my projects. Now that I have access to the wood shop, I need to use it. I have a vision for a set of actions that will involve some construction.

I have finally completed the 10 hours of required training to access all of the shops in P. Hall. I completed the Digital Media Center, Wood shop and now, finally, Metal shop training. I underestimated the time it would take for me to get uptown on a weekend and was carrying unwieldy lighting kits and a tripod on the subway (see “lesson” above), which made me late. The instructor, a serious but amiable man, sternly reminded me of my tardiness, for which I profusely apologized.

Grinding metal in metal shop.
Sparks fly in the shop. So metal.

Besides the fact that I’m a bit intimidated by live electricity, loud, metal-cutting contraptions and the looming possibility of losing finger digits, I’m not attracted to working with metal. It’s also greasy and dirty and metal shavings in one’s eye seem like the perfect ingredients for the plot of a horror film.

Drill press bits
One little bit at a time….

Lesson 4: This one is more specific to being a visual arts MFA grad student: One needs to set aside a particular amount of time for supporting other artists at their openings. I get the feeling that if you show up at a classmate’s art opening, you’ll at least increase your chances of having them at yours. Of course, numerous events occur each night — often in places far from each other, so choices have to be made. That choice then only engenders the political dilemmas of “whose opening I attend?” I suppose then, like so many other situations, those who plan their attendance schedules and work at supporting as many colleagues as possible reap more social benefits.

The metal shop instructor cut the training session a bit short only because the shop was terribly hot and humid, as these shops go, so we were able to get out by 4pm instead of the scheduled 5pm. That gave me enough time to jump back on the downtown train and prepare for openings, which I’ll discuss next time….

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