Ambient Notes (Goldsmiths #2)

I went to another lecture at Goldsmiths. I won't name the lecturer, because these notes seem quite negative, and it wasn't a bad lecture, just a little dry.


-On screen: information about a student newspaper (they're having a meeting after the lecture). It seems equally pathetic and absurd, but also cute and optimistic. "Have you got "crazy" idea for a newspaper?"

-On the whiteboard from some previous lecture (recently cleaned):

Naturalism E. Zola

-European student w/ baggy, woolen hat + snood casually "vaults" over a row of seats. Looks/appears "comfortable" performing physical actions in front of other people.

-I shaved my beard and head earlier, and even though I had a shower, I have hair all over my back and it's really itchy.

-Also, I'm wearing new underwear, and though not uncomfortable, I am v. aware of their "presence".

-Professor introduces Lecturer. Lecturer has asked professor to talk about when they first met. Professor gets story totally wrong.

-Professor says 'Metonyms, if you will' 'This will be an informal talk, not a lecture'

-Lecturer says 'As you probably know' 'In its own right' 'Very central, in many ways' ' Bring your attention' 'How I thought of myself' 'Creating a platform' ' Activating'

-On screen: huge "serious" photo (B&W portrait, subject looking at camera w/ relaxed, intelligent face)

-Lecturer says 'It is important to think that there are themes in my work' 'Most of my work' 'Used, exploited and explored' 'Distributive practice' 'Agency of the artist' 'Activated that attention' 'Questions of ownership' 'Open source meeting' 'My relation to ownership'

-Also, as well as the hair on my back, I have an eyelash in my eye that I can't get out.

-There are no external windows in the lecture theatre, but there is a clock. The face of the clock is a yellow beige that clearly began its life as white.

-Girl in front of me has "posh" or "dirty" blonde hair and the brown and highlighted blonde strands of hair are interacting in complex and fascinating ways via a roughly arranged ponytail.

-Lecturer says 'I asked myself'

-(Even when Lecturer says you, she means I)

-Student in front row is holding on to his ears (both, one with each hand).

-I'm using a cheap ink pen. The ink is going all over my hands.

-Become aware that I don't know what the Lecturer does, or what the lecture is about, even though I'm certain that the lecture must be about what the Lecturer does.

-Lecturer says 'Inspiration' 'We began with soup'

-Tartan wheely-bag next to lecture theatre door.

-On screen: pic of man sitting w/ macbook + bottled water in front of projection that reads "Imaginary property"

-Lecturer says 'That is what of'

-Got it. The Lecturer and her collaborators are publishing a book. The book is about publishing, or perhaps a series of events that they organised that were/are about publishing. The book will then be the focus of a series of events about publishing.

-Lecturer says 'Publishing is complex' 'Social media'

-Lecturer says 'Tweeting' and looks up at the students as she does so.

-Lecturer says 'Hard drive' 'Memory stick' 'Kindle' 'Quite literally'

-On screen: Lecture event w/ v uncomfortable seats.

-Suddenly occurs to me how out of fashion it is to use just lower case. Upper case is still in though right?

-Lecturer says 'It only exists as a pdf' 'Aggressively neutral'


-Professor and Lecturer sit down at a table for Q&A but far away from each other as 'That is what causes the feedback' (it isn't). Neither of them clip their clip mics on, they just hold them up in front of their face in a really unergonomic way.

-Professor looks accusingly at a bottle of water on t he table, says, 'I don't know whose this is'

-Lecturer says 'As you probably know'

-Feedback on mics. The room is set up w/ the speakers right at the back of the room, meaning that the lecturers/professors are doomed to have feedback and never know why.

-Fleeting thought that I might have broken my little finger (I haven't).

-Through the window in the lecture theatre door, I watch a student trying to open an external door but failing. She bounces off it several times, like a bird off glass.

-The ultimate statement of power is giving up agency to someone else.

-All Q&As revolve around the question of who is more progressive/radical.

-Lecturer says 'Viral environment'

-When will the last person die who uses classical literature as their main reference points? Will there be a parade? Like veterans of the Great War? What will happen to cryptic crosswords?

-Lecturer wonders whether '[Books] are really different [to the internet]?'

-Professor says 'I'm thinking of facebook'

-Lecturer says 'That is the key' and holds up big metal key that until now no one realised she was wearing round her neck.

-The internet is not about public and private space. It could be about different speeds, or levels of awareness or ignorance or involvement. It is about closed and open communities. Public and private are not quite right words.

-Feedback rises and falls as a student asks long statement/question about the internet - like the room is groaning as it listens.

-Identifying friction vs proposing liberated space.

-Wonder what percentage of questioners in Q&As "hear" or "listen" to the answers that are given?

-Types of drinks in lecture theatre are as follows: bottled water (mainly still, one sparkling I can see), "sports bottles" (i.e., fancy water bottles), cherry Diet Coke, Lucozade (seems like an embarrassing choice for an MFA student), Costa coffee (from on-campus franchise, presumably), other "non-brand/franchise" coffee, can of "full fat" coke, San Pellegrino fizzy orange. Also, at this point in Q&A, phones are openly out/regularly being checked, next to me a student is chewing gum v loudly, I've eaten a banana and the skin is on the desk.  I'm the only person in the room still taking notes.

-On a student's laptop screen: a google image search page but from where I am I cannot identify the images or see the search term.

-Student raises hand, says 'I don't have a question'