Wednesday, December 16, 2009

academic life

Believe me, I don't usually take photographs during committee meetings - but the light at this afternoon's CCA executive committee meeting (that's the Center for Cultural Analysis) was peculiarly Vermeer like, and I thought this would fit into the tradition of a number of photographers - Tom Hunter, say - who have been fascinated by Vermeer's use of figures and furniture set against strong clear light. I didn't exactly feel that I could get out my camera - it was bad enough trying to look as though I was checking my email in the less interesting moments, as I tried to nail the composition. Here's Lynn Festa looking intently engaged, with John Kucich looking on, and what I think must be Henry Turner's hand - the fingers rather strangely looking as though they've been dipped in blue ink - on the other side.

What this also is, of course, is an example of all the things that haven't really - and quite rightly not - found a place in my record of this year, such as the department going about its business. I don't have any sense of personally-determined no-go areas when it comes to depicting the crumbling surfaces of Murray Hall, but showing meetings - maybe even teaching - would be a different sort of documentary exercise, because of the type of commentary that I wouldn't have been able to write about the people, the dynamics, the internal politics, and so on. The unavailability of this material, so far as I'm concerned, is one of the things that sharply distinguishes this year's practice from that of journal keeping (though I've done that too). However, this afternoon's meeting, with its intellectual and visual reflections, seemed, just for once, to be ready for appropriation.

1 comment:

  1. You are totally busted, esteemed chair! Great photo, though. And I very much like your speculations about the unrepresentability of what goes on at meetings -- of all the mundane activities to be somehow inaccessible at the core. . . .