This week and next I’ll be helping run the third ever East London Mobile Workshop (ELMO) with studios NousVous and Dentaku. Learn more about ELMO here. During these workshops people will get to try Dentaku’s new creation, Ototo. Ototo is a simple sound synthesizer that can be attached to conductive objects like metal, water, plants, even, in order to create original musical instruments. (watch a video here). We spent the first day making a few examples of unusual instruments such as a ‘sound mound’, ‘jazz toob’, and musical robo-dog (see above). Next week students from RCA and CSM will be taking part in the workshop and I’m pretty excited to see what they come up with.
Almost immediately upon receiving my diploma, when the strings that had previously secured me to the ground had been mercilessly sheared, the idea of grad school started reverberating in my skull. I might attribute this to my perpetual fear of existing without a purpose.
To fulfill one of my promises to myself, and to possibly find a productive use of my time, I decided to begin exploring Master’s Programs in London this past week. Though I only attended two open days (one at RCA and one at CSM) I got a similar taste in my mouth following both; it tasted like an absurdly expensive meal at a restaurant with customizable menus. Aside from the studio space and experienced mentors, what graduate school appears to offer is an environment fit for those who already have an idea/purpose/study they want to materialize, not for those who are still seeking one.
Part of me wants desperately to revert back to the time when I was tied to a schedule at the mercy of tutors, lectures, and the four walls built by the educational institution but after listening to the program presentations this week, I don’t feel quite ready; not intellectually, and certainly not financially. I would like to pursue another degree at some point but only when I have a specific objective in mind, not as a way to avoid facing life that exists outside the structure of formal education.
V&A Museum of Childhood—War Games
Notable happenings this week:
- Saw Mac Demarco in concert and got caught on the perimeter of a mosh pit
- Saw Paula Scher speak at the Design Museum (through an LCD Screen as she was streamed from New York *sigh in disappointment*)
- Joined Victoria Park Harriers, the running club that meets within steps outside my front door
- Visited a 3D printing exhibition at the Science Museum
- Went to a lecture at the Royal College of Art about the reverence of sustainable design
- Saw an sexually explicit exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery (a room full of penis sculptures must mean it’s art, right?)
- Went to another matinee concert on Saturday to see some rising talent perform to a crowd of tween-age girls
- Booked my [painfully expensive] flight home for the holidays
- Baked some chocolate chip cookies to try to win over my roommates
On the whole this week solidifies my subconscious tendency to be a passive audience member rather than an active contributor. As an onlooker, I am completely self-involved; I am doing all of the taking and none of the giving. Many might say selflessness is a trait of a listener but I can’t help but feel a bit guilty in this role.
There’s nothing that’s completely original; we all stand on each other’s shoulders
— Paula Scher, from Designer Breakfasts at the Design Museum london
Still Not Still
Just when I was beginning to think London’s grey skies were having an adverse effect on my trying efforts, this past week brought a refreshing amount of good fortune. New living arrangements that brought me closer to the center of the city seemed to also bring me closer to finding satisfaction in my everyday life here. Within hours of hauling my things to my new place, I was asked to come in for a few shifts at a bar, and a few days at a film company. Though I am subject to both of their demands on an on-call basis, it is relieving to finally get some kind of feedback. The irregularity of my obligations is keeping me from falling into any kind of routine, which could be either beneficial or destructive, but, for me it’s an interesting new way of living. It kind of feels like I’m wearing a cheaply manufactured blindfold, you know the ones that you can still kind of see through when you open your eyes and focus really hard on what may or may not be in front of you. The finding will remain difficult.
I may not be able to get a visa, or a job, or a phone, but at least I can get a library card (for 6 months until I have to prove citizenship). And I serendipitously stumbled on the personal finances section. Too bad I’m the last person I’d ever want as my financial advisor right now.