Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

On Sunday I took my clogs across the brige to North Vancouver to see Kohei Yoshiyuki’s photo exhibit The Park and attend a panel discussion, which was to concern ethics, power relationships, & surveillance. Unfortunately it turned out to be a dry affair with two especially waffly blokes, who insisted on over announcing themselves.

How on earth you manage to make pictures of people shagging publicly into such a dry, dull affair was kinda remarkable.

I observed one man in the audience fall asleep during the discussion, which is a good indicator of the temperature of the talk.

There were a couple of interesting references to other artists work at least in some of the panelists contributions, but I can’t quite fathom why you organize a panel discussion and have people reading papers AT an audience. That’s less a panel discussion than a public address. A public address x 5 people. That’s verging on a conference. Also, when you tell people to read for 10 mins you can guarantee (if they’re academics and writers especially) they’ll bang on for 20 mins. Thus tell them 2 and a half mins and you’ll get 10.

Another thing that confused me is why the academy and its language has to sedate and saturate everything in such a discussion?  The artist on the panel had the more interesting perspective and at one point was rather patronized by a very waffling dude on the end, who really should put a cork in it and give up the word rhetoric for Lent. She was trying to address the dilemmas & reactions an early piece of her work provoked. In practical terms! Not theory! When Captain Rhetoric beside her rather smugly inferred she was caving in to her public (not a precise quote).

At that point I nor my kidney could take no more of it and departed for the toilet. Beside which was the most delightful museum exhibit of forestry, logging tools and basically old stuff including a couple of elegant looking teapots.

Later that evening I looked for writing about that series of photos hoping to find something that informed or reflected further on a discussion I’d shared with a friend afterwards: the utilitarian in the photos, the role of garments and how the garments indicated time and what had taken place, anything that raised the ackwardness of the physical act in those circumstances, or the proximity of the bodies within them, the octopus arrangement of mysterious arms within them and how they might be received or what they communicated, heck what about the squinting required to make out what was what, if anything at all.  Pah! Nothing to be found only talk of peeping and dull calculations of what the photos weren’t.

*

Curiously I’ve attended a number events organized by the SFU Institute for the Humanities and they manage to remain accessible engaging and invigorating. They often reference visual art movements and so on. Perhaps they’re a little more relaxed about themselves.  I must try to pay close attention to what or why this is. A good talk/discussion is a remarkably difficult thing to pull off. My patience seems to be shortening with age, I don’t doubt that technology may be part of it. On youtube I can click x if it’s not engaging me.

Leave a Reply