Friday, January 30, 2009



Vowels are being discriminated against at Rutgers.   Yesterday, I saw the car whose back bumper is pictured on the left parked in carpark 11.   Walking back to my Union Street office after teaching I hovered briefly to read (with rapidly sinking enthusiasm) the menu posted on one of the grease trucks - RU Hungry - which, although it didn't go so far as banishing vowels, was clear in its open support of consonants.   The bumper sticker cheered me up enormously (it takes a good deal to make me burst out laughing on a chilly January night in New Brunswick), and what's more, it made me start thinking about how little I know about consonants (for a start, I think I've always considered them as letters, not sounds - the sounds that are made when one halts, with lips, tongue, teeth, the vocal sound that one's projecting.

It was only this morning that I realized that the bumper sticker was probably a celebration of TM-ing, which was rather a disappointment.   So far as I'd been fantasizing about it having any meaning whatsoever - beyond the endearingly surreal - all I could think of was some frustrated Scrabble player being served up AAAIIOU.     At least it was a surprise to find myself thinking about consonants at all - interesting that it worked that way, and not to make me proclaim the importance of the poor marginalized vowel.

So... one of the questions we were thinking about in class yesterday is when does a photograph come into being?   When can it be said to be made? (c.f. Geoffrey Batchen, here).      And we've also been thinking about what a photograph *is*, and where collaged images fit into the equation.   Yes, I took the picture on the left yesterday (and a wider view of the back of the car) - so to include it, and it alone, would have broken my own (arbitrary) rules.   But I went back to photograph the grease truck menus today, and the Scrabble board was serendipitous... I was wanting something to thematize the Consonant, lamenting the fact that I didn't possess a scrabble game ... and then walked across the gallery, and found that M-R and B (my housesitters while I was on leave) had left a Scrabble board in full, glorious display.   And since the assemblage was definitely executed today, I'd argue for the moment that I merged down the photoshop layers, and saved it with a name, and then uploaded it here (come to think of it, that's three moments), as being the - the timeframe in which it came into being.   

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