ColetteB….

not exactly work in progress…


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#Author-story ~ Contemporary Writer #3

John Berger, born 5th November 1926, died 2nd January, 2017

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There’s something in this page shown above that is very resonant of work seen during British Art Show7 in 2011, particularly those shown at Nottingham Castle. So maybe one day I’ll tie up some loose threads and get something down. For now, this post is a re-working of a draft from January that was almost lost to the ether in some kind of failing / crash.

Why ‘Ways of Seeing’?

[Originally, I drafted this writing for an ‘Authors who made history’ post for BW so this fact was pivotal:]

For many years now, John Berger’s book, ‘Ways of Seeing’, has been on the compulsory reading list of almost every British art and design course. I’d either somehow missed that fact back in my art student daze, or glanced it over and dismissed it out of hand. During a W.E.A. class a few years ago now (how time flies!) I spent a while browsing this book in the gallery reading room. I still couldn’t quite see WHY is it such an important text in relation to appreciating or creating art? Sadly, I remained completely oblivious to his other works as a poet, writer and artist until researching for this post following news of his death.

I appreciated it- ‘Ways of Seeing’ –  better, from a distance, via some limited preview chapters in an online PDF. The book was developed following the BBC’s four-part television series presented by John Berger and credited with changing the way the nation received, or thought about, art and art history.  I had never even heard mention of the television programme until I saw it was the basis of the book. Apparently the programme may be available to purchase as a video download, although even so these days UK viewers will still need a TV licence. I don’t know if that means such products are with-held from consumers elsewhere in the world.

It’s said to be based on and influenced by Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction[wikipedia link].

“The most uplifting thing about Ways of Seeing is Berger’s optimism about the age of the mass-circulating reproduced image, which, back in 1972, meant images in newspapers and magazines, on advertising hoardings and television. These days of course it also means on Facebook, Instagram and the internet at large. …”

[quoting Jonathon Jones in his article discussing Berger’s language of images at The Guardian, published 3rd January, 2017]

Here’s a small excerpt from page 150 of Ways of Seeing, where, in relation to publicity, Berger tells us:

“…The world smiles at us. It offers itself to us. And because everywhere is imagined as offering itself to us, everywhere is more or less the same.”

In the BBC Radio 4 programme, Front Row, broadcast 3rd January 2017, writer/broadcaster Lisa Appignanesi and art critic Richard Cork discuss Berger’s work (audio file still available to listen at time of writing opens, at approx. 21minutes with an audio clip of John Berger speaking. The second link skips to that segment, or to see programme info and listen to the whole 28min+ click the first link.

 

After serving two years with the army from 1944 to 1946, assumedly compulsory conscription, in the late 1940s Berger trained as an artist at the Chelsea School of Art and the London School of Art; he exhibited in London and taught drawing until 1955. His first novel, ‘A Painter of Our Time’ was published in 1958 and his first published collection of essays, ‘Permanent Red’, in 1960. Among other awards in his lifetime, he is probably best known for controversially donating half his Booker Prize fund to the Black Panther Party after his novel ‘G’ was selected for the prize in 1972.

“For me there were too many political urgencies to spend my life painting. Most urgent was the threat of nuclear war – the risk of course came from Washington, not Moscow.”

John Berger quoted in an article by Michael Glover published at the Independent on 3rd January, 2017.

There are lots of articles about John Berger to be found online and the British Library archive for John Berger and the wikipedia entry for his bio and list of works could keep me (or you) .out of mischief for an interesting while enough.

I haven’t yet bought a copy of ‘Ways of Seeing’, I’m still thinking about it, maybe until one shows up at a knock-down price I can’t refuse. I did however buy Berger’s 2016 book, ‘Confabulations'[ISBN:9780141984957], published in October by Penguin shortly before Berger turned 90 years of age, sadly not in time to help the old man out with some return. I might well journey in exploration of those delightful writings, and more, another time.

A final quote to close, from the first page of the text in John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, at page 7:

“The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” [John Berger, Ways of Seeing]

 

 


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memento

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I bought this in Radford in a junk shop  almost 30 years ago – glad my housemates didn’t think it worth stealing when they ransacked my room while in hospital having my caesarean not long after (and glad I took my ID etc with me too but didn’t stop them causing shit later!

A couple of weeks ago at BW, Pam raised a prompt topic that is difficult to leave alone. I made a start at one of my other blogs here with  a post series in waiting for ‘The Memory of Things’.and thing is, I might have been posting still for transcript with my sketches of Snarl/Gnarl city girls sculpture I went to see once upon a time. But my electricity provider is being hopelessly problematic and today it’s been a whole week since alerting them to the need for help as a disabled customer. They know all this and can leave me for a week making a couple of days electricity last. It doesn’t help my health at all. I know that seems really selfish while millions are having to manage with far less in devastated circumstances!

So I’m still failing better than ever and will bigots and prejudiced twots please take a look at their own failings before judging and condemning innocent paying customers unfortunately dependent on so called welfare. Currently still at risk of the culling spree our government and local authority and public/private enterprise staff seem compelled to inflict. hopefully I can manage to make a call but I’ve been awake all night and might not make it with no coffee. Interference with even my grocery shopping and stores willing to deliver a camp stove but only if you can go in to collect the small gas canisters while bedbound is just flipping ridiculous!

AAAAH! England is such a shit-hole! No human rights for anyone unless they’re either a criminal OR if they can afford legal services! Anyone never read the Beveridge report? reads just like everything they say about Hitler! And now I won’t be able to post the student news cutting about the devastation we caused to Germany in WW2 while I mustn’t mention Hitler again?!!!


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Whatever is this Dark Net thing?

I know I’m a silver surfer when I have no idea what such things as ‘the Dark Net’ mean! I could try and guess. I sometimes wonder if it’s just the huge wodge of tagging some people apply at their blog posts to deter the search engines from picking up their stuff. I’d hedge a small bet (a spent match! not a button nor bean!) that I am most likely incorrect.

This is not a dark net. This my beautiful bathroom window by natural evening light. (It is an authentic eco-house for real! And I am grateful, of course!)

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And that [above!] is the best shot I got of the moon in ages. Taken from the inside, naturally. Not using flash, no lighting, just the moon lighting its way, piercing my dark net – you can see it needs a wash perhaps, but you need sunlight to see it and i’m waiting for the cleaning fairies springing along. Surely.

I am aware it is not a good photo, conventionally. But I love it as ‘documentation’. Is my excuse.And. I have worse subject matter of similar shit nothing alike ‘photography’.

I avoid conventions. Mostly. I just can’t do can do kind of things …

It was either a full moon this evening, or it was almost a full moon. Scientifically, I’m often a day ahead or behind the actual day. Similarly i’m usually naturally awake for sunrise at solstice a day or four ahead of the given day too. I don’t mind when I see a sunrise as long as I see one, or some. (Paganism is rooted in ancient native enslavement, so I just don’t believe…! I don’t mean to be offensive with that remark for being so pale!)

Seeing sunrise, the more often the better, however mundane and unspectacular my actual view of it might be. It’s just in the moment. It’s all there really is that ever seems anything of value at all, the wonder of mundane moments. There is nothing in the world worth more than one of those ‘wow’ moments as the field of light suddenly changes everything before your eyes, (but that’s not mundane, that’s glorious!) or the glimpse of light or shadow from a bird enters the interior space through a closed window and makes you jump of a sudden right out of your skin. that’s not mundane either. It’s nature’s reminder to not be scared of anything.

I didn’t imagine the phases of the moon seem to have passed double-speed. Did I miss understanding the ‘supermoon’ a few weeks back too? Only seven days ago I caught the halfmoon in a snap. Or is it usual this time of year for a half moon to take  a week? I should’ve paid attention better at school, apparently. But we keep getting history all wrong and passing it off as fact so who’d care about natural sciences and stuff when we could just be told and then so BELIEVE…

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Right up my street, with a tiny half moon, a straggle of hair? left, and luckily not a cracked lens! You can’t quite see that half-moon, but it was! (5th January, 2017, away to shop!)

We do seem to have bypassed winter, unless it’s just around the corner awaiting Eastertide. Or maybe I hibernated and everyone pretended to still be having that Xmas thing really just so I didn’t miss out… but I’m not going there, so until Easter…

Don’t get me wrong we have had some ice – I got to see all of less than one days worth so far this winter of this much significance…

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A stalagmite type icicle … how? Jack frost stay round my yard all night making that happen for me? Trickster dumpstering over the fence adhering it to the lid? Goodness knows, the cctv saw nothing that night! Otherwise: just my compost bin supporting ramshackle fence

I like rubbish to snaps, but that ice soon melted so no need to break it off. Very glad I don’t have a windscreen to scrape. I’ve noticed poor fellas doing that maybe three mornings so far, over 12 weeks (months numbered?) – but twice just for frost and a bit over dramatic and not quite matching terrain. Maybe they faced a different way. They were the other side, a bit down the beaten track at some small distance.

Rattling on, I seen the weirdest excuse for art somewhere this evening [says she whom makes rubbish excuses for art and creativity here! there! not at all all over!] and I wish I could remember but my history’s cleared again! it is a sod! when that happens… oh yeah, dodgy rattle tails and unethical pictorial use – except it looked like plastic or dough construction toy and more than a bit deer, at a guess. You’d have to hope no-one nowhere in the world would be such a desperado as to excuse ‘art’ for such animosity and selfish ignorance. [Says… !] Even the suggestion is offensive.

Oh and some funny Weber reminders with not enough full stops. Then there was the reminders of newspaper balls and composting – guess that’s why my bin lid in this post has to have a place!

Today wasn’t uneventful. Particularity. Spelt it wrong! Particlary. Peculiarly. Oh my days! I will remember! The sky changed more quickly than I could keep pace and it never stops. There was no rain, just the threat of some. Momentary. Once upon a time…

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If you visited my yard, you might never believe this really is my very own view! (unedited snap taken 11th January2017, from my doorstep)

 


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new #Authorstory post from Pam at blogging101alumni

I don’t know why my laptop is blocked from viewing our group forum site but can only guess it might have something to do with current tech vulnerabilities or something. Anyway, as all my devices are legally purchased and legally owned, registered, etc and all the etceteras, etc. etc…

So, I enjoyed reading Pam’s latest post yesterday for #authorstory, before the blockade set in (again!) and it was an intriguing read about an American author I never encountered until now. [I can still see this from my tablet, only use that for gaming and news app and reading the Qu’ran app I downloaded for comparitive reading, still owning a bible I bought myself as a child and still hold dear, rather superstitiously]. Hopefully the viewing public aren’t subject to the access restriction that my browser here has been limited by. [My java is off to prevent malicious software on some sites, including my mailserver, for capitalising/commercial/criminally-motivated action outside of my control other than to disallow java running!]

As I’m unable to acknowledge or comment in discussion at Blogger’s World, I thought I’ll just post something here then. Of course, i’m ballsing it up as per flamin’ usual! [And hopelessly letting myself down with ill health as soon as I committed to posting a ‘regular feature’ here too… “…best laid plans of mice and (hu)men!” springs to mind…]

I don’t have a pic of the author to share, perhaps because Pam’s chosen author is a contentious subject [link= wiki page for Adela St.John] perhaps of potential criminal investigative issue, I should avoid trying to share any internet images of this author – it’s a couple of years yet before US copyright law allow online public availability of Nora’s early writings so there’s no free online examples of her work. Clearly publishers copyright restrictions wish to prevent readership of the late Adela St.John’s  writings. I should make clear that my writing here is based solely on my own subsequent explorations and not reflecting or derived from Pam’s own study, her articles always being reliably sensible and well-sourced and cited. I haven’t checked Pam’s cited links yet and tend to delve deep into search results for the less ‘optimised’ results… I’m also aware, as are many, of the murderous criminality of some publishing moguls and so avoid conventional publishing as a matter of life and death… even Sid and Nancy fell victim, though who’d care about daft punks?!

Some brief exploration around the female writer known affectionately as ‘Nora’ to her eminent criminal defence lawyer (single) father turned up some fascinating histories. From the various information available publicly online I seem to have found a published item that might be a ‘bounty call’ targeting Nora’s father Earl Rogers; criminal formal academic/critic-led deridation of Earl Rogers – that happens so often and contributes to so much falsehood in formal study becoming fact; (and then the fascinating case his own daughter brought against him to commit him to an assylum, and his successful self-representing defence); and for the author featured, reported significant change in writing style in comparison from Nora’s writings before what some call WW2 and after; and it seems quite clear when ‘seeing through photos’ that Nora may have been replaced by an impostor. From my own native English (mis?)understandings of ‘second world war’ histories, including the impostors and usurpers who sought political immunity elsewhere while escaping the ‘urban myths’ of  alleged hitlerite actions, I’d probably be better to write no more just yet here on subjects such as this that I actually know very little or nothing about… 🙂

Obviously, trying a creative writing class with a focus on fiction wasn’t a good idea as I got trolled again it seems. But then again, I’ve been unfortunately acquainted with some very ugly criminal-minded female trolls in my time in my own local community. They’re never the individuals you might expect, always presenting more nicely and respectable than  poor scum like me. Never mind, we probably all know some, whether we’d wish to or not!

So, that’s a cheery post for not yet quite in a crimbley-frame-of-mind yet, but I’ll get there by round about the 27th or so, though really it should be around the first sign of snowdrops… back soon, hopefully 🙂


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#author-story ~ Contemporary Writer #1

I’m very priveleged, from the safety of home and our online virtual world, to be accessing a co-learning creative writing MOOC with an esteemed educational institution (remaining nameless, for my ‘sins’ of free-thinking, free-writing, etc and all the etceteras…).

ii’m also priveleged to be a member of Blogger’s World where sometimes on a Wednesday i contribute an #author-story post for the ‘Authors Who Made History’ series (“feature”). For today’s post there, I decided to round up an index of all the contributed posts so far – over two dozen multi-cultural articles from a volunteer team so far comprising 12 (unique individuals). This is also a call for volunteers to contribute future writing toward this series, with the article’s author retaining intellectual property rights within usual WP/BU-EUSA* ethical standards (outlined in my post).

*EUSA = End User Service Agreement = shared intellectual property rights, protections and ethical expectations etc. and these are implicit in the context of any platform wherein an individual/collective create and share creative content. [Errors and omissions likely in my brief attempt to explain this EUSA  issue]

I’m quite out of blogging/writing practise and having a tough time of relearning from primary school days the fine art of story-telling and writing creative fiction. However, I encountered the wonderfully rich English language writing of a contemporary writer originally from {UK/ Nigerian origin}.

We don’t learn enough of, or from, indigenous African writers – Nigeria being just one country within a very large continent of  many different lands and peoples, enriched with traditions of folklore and the musicality of story-telling. In any cultural context, wealth and social status invariably denotes likelihood of success at least within the limited constraints of capatalist/commercial concerns. So, thank GOODNESS for the founding principles of the wonderful WWWdotCOM and WordPress et al…

It occurred to me that i would enjoy the practise of writing about contemporary writers of all ilks and origins and perhaps i could make this, at last, a regular feature here on my personal blog . This hopefully won’t detract from my occasional contributions to the #authorstory series at BW. Anyway, at last, to the point of my post.

Introducing the author: Lesley Nneka Arimah (link=author’s site, may have vulnerability issue and be inaccessible, please try again later or check out her twitter for updates…)

Coincidentally, TOAST is the #ShutterbugShowcase prompt at BW for tomorrow and thankfully we have a volunteer contributor ready to go with a hopeful posting…

I now find that TOAST is also a writer’s blog with some interesting looking posts and Lesley contributes some writing there also.

Extract from Second Chances: A Short Story – The Toast (linked above)

My mother wore no jewelry in the photo, not even a ring as she and my father weren’t wed at the time, but brave, young lovers with, as my mother used to say, nothing to prove. There are other pictures of her here, one when she was a child, stiff between her parents, long dead. There are pictures of her at my high school graduation, on my dad’s 50th birthday, and my favorite, the one where she’s fluffing my baby sister’s frilly white pantaloons for the photo and my dad snaps just when Udoma kisses the top of Mom’s head. Udoma. I hear the front door open and she calls out in that Lucy-I’m-Home way of hers and I rush to warn her before it’s too late.

I’d also be keen to use this extract from further down her short story (link as above) as a potential writing prompt:

Extracted [#2] from: Second Chances: A Short Story – The Toast

 Those absences became less frequent as things did indeed get better and I began to be a person again. And now she just shows up, ladeedah ho-hum, like it’s not a big fucking deal.
I’m quite struck by how this fictional piece, link and extract(s) above, relates to our given text for reading, “Who Will Greet You At Home”, published 26/10/2015 in the New Yorker Magazine  (screenshot images below, shared under Fair Use allowances)…

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Lesley is definitely a noteworthy writer to look out for. I’m recently new to reading her writing and haven’t spent enough time with it (her writing) yet, but looking forward to more, another time 🙂

The illustration for the magazine article above is attributed to Jeffrey Fisher and he hosts a fantastic website of his own original creative work (preview image shown below):

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N.B: External links are checked as far as possible at the time of writing/publishing and placed in good faith. I accept no responsibility or liability for any content shared therein  or discontent with the materials accessed by the reader. Inclusion in my post is not for commercial representative purpose and no financial gain is received nor intended.  Please let me know of any errors/issue etc in my post and i will seek to resolve any potential reasonable complaint or suggested improvement.