The Knife - A Tooth For An Eye, from ‘Shaking The Habitual’
Should artists understand the digital technologies they use in their work, should artists code? In a word, Yes.
Once a week I work at a charity that gives free qualifications to young people at risk, either they’ve been referred by a youth offending team, they have had to leave college for one reason or another, or they live in a young people’s home where they are referred to us. I teach Art, and I really enjoy it, it’s part of the reason I hold the attitude I hold today concerning the democratisation of art. It’s hard for those who feel disenfranchised to really get on board with intellectual art speak, and claim themselves so outside the parameters of ‘Art’ that they have real problems making an entrance into it. Some stay with us for the whole course, but I’m very used to seeing new faces to replace those that have left prematurely.
I can’t tell you how tough it is sometimes, and I have no right to moan, because I can go back to my home with my small family who love me, and read my books and make my art because I am lucky. However, today really tested me. Aside from the usual, expected distractions, where a student refuses to work, or won’t get off their phone, or they have decided to wind up the person next to them, there are so many things going on in their young lives that I’m not surprised they can’t concentrate on the page in front of them.
Today I learned of a situation with one of our learners that angered me so much that I couldn’t really talk to my colleague on the drive back, I was close to tears. We had to drive a learner to A&E to get her face, and eyes, and head looked at because her boyfriend had beaten her unconscious two nights before. Her mother blamed her for letting the situation happen, and let her go back to the young people’s home that she lives in, alone. A friend watched her all night to make sure she didn’t fall asleep, and when she eventually did, her friend found it hard to wake her up. No one thought to take care of her, and it was a real fight to convince her that she needed to see a doctor. She is scared to go to the police because she’s scared he’ll do it again because she ‘grassed’ on him. This girl is so young, and it makes everything hard to swallow, I can’t get angry when she doesn’t finish her work, or she just wants to rest her head on the desk because she hasn’t slept.
And yet these are the people that are being left behind, I can’t even talk about the cuts that are being enforced to our charity. We’re already so stretched for resources. It makes me ill to think how easy it is for a load of posh privately educated politicians to just take, and take, and take.
Today was tough.
Arthur Russell, This Is How We Walk On The Moon, from Another Thought, 1994.
This is the last song heard in the wonderfully sad film ‘Keep The Lights On’. The whole film features Arthur Russell’s music.
Tomas Saraceno - Galaxies Forming along Filaments, Like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web (2008)