Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 5. Day 64. Board stiff

Take a look at these figures by Brisbane artist Terry Summers. Terry has an ability to turn unwanted cardboard boxes into works of great humanity. He brings life to something we know has none. That's a skill. I think I have the opposite skill. I'm yin to Terry's yang. I can make living breathing people appear like mere cardboard cut outs - at least I did today. I saw people, real people, walk into my lecture theatre this morning and apparently become something between crash test dummies and zombies. I'm not sure if they were inanimate or undead but certainly there was no sign of life. No matter how much I tried to engage or excite or cajole or frankly shame them into speaking, they would not.
In recent weeks, academics have been discussing a recent policy shift mandating the recording of all lectures.There has been some concern expressed that without a live audience to play off lecturers may find it had to "perform". I think the key word in that sentence is "live". It's not just a matter of bums on seats. The job is not just to get them there but to ensure they stay awake and alive and benefit from the experience. I'm not sure the students did that today - frankly I'm not good at judging the reactions of cardboard cut outs. All I know is if I had a large box on me today I wouldn't have been using to create art. I would have been jumping in and paying someone to courier me out of there. Next week. I'm considering not turning up at all but putting a Terry Summers figure in my place. On today's performance, I doubt anyone would have noticed.

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