Columbia University School of the Arts

Lunches and Lamentations

Today I have a luncheon with the Dean and other students from the School of the Arts.

Morning Walk: "America," by Prince and the Revolution
Morning Walk: “America,” by Prince and the Revolution

Tuesday, November 15. 2016

I’m looking forward to it, although I can’t imagine what we’ll talk about. Unfortunately, the election will probably be part of the discussion. I’m already tired of even thinking about it.

I’m so used to elections turning out the way that they do, where the Democrats get choosy and weak-minded and think that the rest of the country agrees with them. Then a Third-Party candidate shows up and takes votes away from the Democratic candidate for some not-so-smart reason or another. Now we have That Man for four years, and Lord, help us all.

Learning About Mary Kelly in Art Criticism
Learning About Mary Kelly in Art Criticism

I enjoyed the Dean’s Lunch, today. It was an opportunity for students in the School of the Arts to meet and chat. The Dean’s office is a spacious and light-filled corner room with a view of Broadway and shiny hardwood floors. We sat at a large conference table, big enough to accommodate all twelve or so of us.

I decided to do something a bit unconventional, by performing my “Take One” piece in the meeting, itself. I asked for permission from the group. The Dean was a bit skeptical, first asking if I was going to record something, which I assured her I would not. As everyone talked, I quietly went down the list of participants and wrote their names in Englyph, as I have done many times before. Actually, it was refreshing to perform this piece, as I hadn’t for quite a long while.

Just in time for the end of the session, when the assistant reminded her of her next appointment, I finished all the pieces, to sincere thanks from all the recipients. It was a nice time.

116th Street # 1 Train Station, NYC
116th Street # 1 Train Station, NYC

After the lunch, I was able to talk to my parents while walking from 116th Street to P*****s Hall. I continued editing my “Casual Cruelties” series. Regarding that process, I’m pleased that I’ve been getting myself used to using Adobe Premiere. I have always been devoted to Final Cut Express, and would still use the Final Cut programs if I could bring the old files into the new versions. According to online, I cannot, however, so I can’t waste any more time with incompatible programs. Happily, the learning curve for Premiere is quite small — the programs are more or less the same.

I went to Barnard before the lunch and learned about the UK artist, Mary Kelly in Art Criticism class. She is fascinating and made a very dense set of works in the 1970s about which I can’t go into, here.

23rd Street F Line Station, NYC
23rd Street F Line Station, NYC

Later in the day, after lunch, my Critical Issues class was consumed with talking about the election and doing our best to connect it to theories like Guy Debord’s “Spectacle Society.” One thing that our instructor noted about the Society of the Spectacle is that it works to keep people in an eternal present, or eternal crisis, and this could not be more true, these days, especially regarding the election.

No one seemed to have learned the lessons from the election of 2000, regarding party unity and the need to work to keep left-leaning voters (and the affiliates who most benefit from Democratic policies) motivated about their candidates. As with elections in 1980, 1988, 2000 and 2004, the Democrats suffered from some form of in-fighting and the lack of “star quality” of the candidates. And, for numerous reasons I’m not interested in pursuing at the moment, if an election is close between Democrats and Republicans, Republicans almost invariably win.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *