Archive for November, 2007


I am getting schooled by Microsoft Word….what’s happening to my life?

Just to make me feel even more lame….Microsoft Word is schooling my ass right know, seriously schooling it. I am trying to make a table so that I can plan out the rest of my time on the PhD, and I can’t get the fucking thing to flip horizontal so that I can input my material in a way that doesn’t involve serious neck injury and deep deep deep frustration. I am going to include a screen shot of it, because you would think at this point in my academic blaze of glory I would know how to make a table in Word. Proof positive kids, that doing a PhD does not make you smart, it just provides the illusion of smartness all the while plotting for the time to let you know that you, yes you-Alex, are still dimmer than a 10 watt light-bulb. Refreshing! At least the mix CD I am working on is bitchin.

Soundtrack to my Microsoft Word induced headache:

LCD SoundSystem-Someone Great
Asobi Seksu-Goodbye
PJ Harvey-A Perfect Day Elise
The Wedding Present-My Favourite Dress
Young Marble Giants-Searching for Mr. Right
ESG-I’d Do It For You
Beat Happening-Black Candy
J Dilla-Crushin (Yeeeeeeah)
The Knife-Heartbeats (live)
The National-Apartment Story
Smashing Pumpkins-Perfect
Young Marble Giants-Brand-New-Life
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins-Melt Your Heart
Electrelane-Cut and Run
Fugazi-Last Chance for a Slow Dance
Holly Golightly-Virtually Happy
Kings of Leon-My Party
Hot Chip-Boy From School
Interpol-Heinrich Maneuver
The Sleepy Jackson-Tell The Girls That I’m Not Hanging Out
Justin Timberlake-SexyBack
The Maps-When You Leave
Matthew Dear-PomPom
Radiohead-All I Need
David Bowie-Be My Wife
Lucinda Williams-Right In Time
Stars-Take Me To The Riot
Radiohead-House of Cards
The National-Slow Show
Rilo Kiley-Breakin’ Up
Sebadoh-Nothing Like You
Sleater-Kinney-Leave You Behind
PJ Harvey-The Letter
Portishead-Only You
Automato-The Let Go
Beck-Truck Drivin Neighbours Downstairs

* No need to tell me I put some bands on there twice….it’s okay to do that, plus the order isn’t totally decided upon. But I am liking it a hell of a lot better than fucking Word-Satan’s favourite programme. As for the aforementioned screenshot. I just accidentally crashed word….it’s just not happening today kids.


Because I can smell the fever….

I realized I never posted my progression document. The document is kinda mega with many different parts, I have separated them, download one, download them all….go to town, questions and comments can be directed to the management at the email address below.


Slipping outside of Yourself (the document)

Table of Contents

The End Notes

Appendix A


Image List

Works Cited

Appendix C


la la la…does this blog even work?

When I started to put this journal together, I did so out of intuition and it was a bit like the blind leading the blind. My understanding of the intended structure of research journals was that the journal is reflexive, a method for me to use within the PhD. Feedback has come back that in someway it’s not structured enough, it doesn’t provide the reader with enough context to be useful…but if it’s reflexive, it’s job is to assist me foremost, you second. But as it stands now, does it do that?

I keep coming back to this analogy that I heard a few weeks ago ‘in the land of the blind, one eye is king’, it’s pretty apt description of what doing a PhD is like…either that or saying it’s like roller skating in the dark.

At this stage, I am entering or rather in the third year, and I have a command and understanding of my subject and my material but that doesn’t mean I have an enhanced understanding of other aspects of ‘good research’, whatever that may mean. As an example it took me two plus years to collate and organise the existing literature in my head, a lot of questions went along the lines of this: ‘Is the phenomenological experience the same as the ineffable’, ‘what the hell am I trying to do with sound, do I really need it’, and ‘can I do this better than Robert Irwin and James Turrell’? In order the answers are:

No, the phenomenological experience and the ineffable experience are not the same. Phenomenology is the study of essence; within art the common context is the essence of perception. Ineffability is term; it’s an experience, which cannot be explained within our current language structure. The ineffable experience utilises some aspect of the phenomenological, but the phenomenological experience is not always ineffable.

Why sound? Off the cuff the cheeky defensive answer is why not sound, whilst I enjoy being cheeky, it doesn’t do be any good within the context of the PhD. The inclusion of sound is important because of sound’s evanescence. It can be there and then it can be gone in a second-it may lack physicality but it’s tactical and in my opinion these qualities are practically ineffable. At the end of the day my understanding and conception of the ineffable has been informed heavily by my relationship to listening to music and going to gigs. Besides it’s an under-explored area within the field of immersive installation art, and it’s important to me to know not only that it can be done, but also how it can be achieved.

Lastly, and probably the most baseless thought ever…can the work I intend to make be better than Irwin and Turrell? It’s a value judgement with no feasible established way of assessing whether or not something is BETTER than something else. That would be like being asked if My Bloody Valentine is more ineffable than Explosions in the Sky? What am I measuring the experiences by? As an artist I am striving to achieve an experience I had whilst being in the installations of Irwin and Turrell, so better or worse is not the question, the question then is what were the successful aspects of Irwin and Turrell that are worth questioning and trying to create through potentially similar methods? I mean it’s not a competition-because just being better isn’t being ineffable.

So back to my one eye in the field of the blind…what am I to measure the structure of this blog against? What is ‘gold standard’ of reflexive research blogs, and how is that more useful than what I have? I am not saying I disagree with the feedback given to me…rather I am just not sure how to quantify ‘reflexive journaling’. When I started doing this blog it was back in July and I was starting down the end of a deadline that had everything to do with progressing. Could I prove that I knew what I needed to know in order to keep progressing within this PhD…and surprise kids I passed. That fact aside scanning all the notes and writing about them was useful. I am not sure how much of that early info which is a lot of questions, speculation, definitions, and stars made it into the final document but the act of organising it was beyond useful. I said to my director of studies the other day that doing a PhD is like packing a box when you needed to move yesterday. You open the box, chuck everything in it as fast as possible and worry about the actual content later. I suppose in some way this blog is my way of unpacking the box on a more regular basis.

So with that in mind, I am not sure if there will be a radical overhaul. When I do get around to sprucing up the ole website ( this blog will be embedded in it, as will the other one from blogger, but I am sort of thinking structurally this is working, well it works for me and that has to count for something.

*What I listened to whilst writing this: Mission of Burma-mixed selection of old and newish stuff, My Bloody Valentine-Loveless, The National-Boxer, and Minus the Bear-Planet of Ice.