“ I must create a cistern or become enslaved by another man’s. ”
– Billy Blake
Above exhibit 01: A mobile phone photo of a cistern in the gents toilets in the Edinburgh College of Art.. just one of the many inanimate objects I chose to photograph in that bastion of creative endeavour while attending the ‘Remediating the Social’ Conference last month.
I wrote a little bit about some initial experiences with Ireland's first tranche of 'digital humanists' back in 2009: http://www.michaeljmaguire.com/index.php?q=node/33 Coming from a twenty five year writing and technology background, I almost argued, without intentionally offending anyone I trust, that essentially many in Ireland venturing into the emerging discipline at that time were not theoretically equipped to actually comprehend it's true creative potential.
I have never entered a poetry competition in my thirty years of writing. Recently, perhaps due to my involvement with the study of digital literature and digital poetics etc, I have begun to receive a lot of emails and messages about various such competitions. Me being me, I decided to write a short sort of traditional poem about that this evening.. I stuck up a first draft below:
An opportunity came my way a few short weeks ago where in a brief couple of hours I got to meet fourteen research teams currently engaged in a wide disciplinary range of scientific academic research at University College Dublin. The event was part of the preparations for Dublin City of Science 2012, specifically the imagine science film strand where researchers from UCD and filmmakers from IDAT were brought together to join forces, pool intellectual and creative resources, essentially spark off each others ideas with the goal of generating some potential cultural impact see (http://www.ucd.ie/imaginesciencefilms/) for a broader synopsis.
Stand up, move out and away from your keyboard (or drop that ipad) get right out right now, right away, any one of you that is not prepared to be wrong. Of course no one wants to leave the party early, few of us would like to be seen as black sheep of any flock, or consider ourselves so radically independent that we don’t require some sort of endorsement from our peers, yet we strive to be not so damn conformist that we aren’t perceived as being right all the time, awkwardly correct or improperly precise in all eventualities. Isn’t being wrong occasionally being human ? We simply can’t learn to walk without learning first, to fall. Yet do any of us, as seemingly independent individuals, honestly really regard ourselves as being perfectly consistently correct, utterly conventional, entirely cooperative, creative conspirators and willing collaborators with ‘powers’ that be ? Any of us aspire to ‘Acting the total cog ?’ Naw didn’t think so…
Repeatedly assured in my local vernacular that “things is tight” I’ve tried to give this post a thoroughly ‘tautological’ feel, informed in some small degree by vivid memories of the summation of academic writing technique by a highly respected UK based English Professor (of creative writing no less) thus: “Say what you’re going to say, say it, then say it again.”
All of the writers I know are avid readers. All of the academics I know, (with thanks to Maynooth, DMU, UCD, TCD and the TCD/UCD Innovation Academy, various lists & communities etc, etc, - that's now quite a few) despite having discipline centric reading habits, often tend towards broad tastes and eclectic interests. When searching for the ideal prints, you do gotta kiss a lota frogs, amass a lorra paper and lorry those loose leaves to the charity shops. We live in a slippery segue between what Bolter calls 'the late age of print' and a genuinely networked (read ubiquitous computing) society.
Apart from ‘college stuff’ I’m also writing an article at present on creativity and innovation for another site and didn’t really want to allow it or my own site to get dragged into or polluted by the dark contagious mire of on-going IMF/ECB political/economic debates about sovereignty, bond markets and idiot civil servants. I care little for money and less for capitalism, I’m not an anarchist or left wing looney but I do consider myself to be blessed, fair, open minded and up until recently relatively balanced and very proud indeed to be Irish.