To Perma-Artistify, or Not? La Question de Mystere Pour Ce Soir (and a class photo “I Spy” challenge)

To you,

I sit tonight in my flat, checkered button-up, skinnies, and knitted vesty, in front of my faux fire-place amongst a pile of papers, mags, shoes, and tea cups. The air above is chilled as for some odd reason the radiators have not kicked on. Laundry needs to be folded, things need to be tidied. With it being my first day off this week, and my only day off for the following, I have been sitting amongst a variety of thoughts, each lingering possibilities unknown and mysteries uncertain. From essay topics, to letters, to art projects, to struggling endeavours of the heart-felt and professionally inquisitive kind, I am sitting on a heap of enquiries.

In relation to this blog post’s title, yes, I have again started to linger upon the question of permanent artistry done to the human body. A.K.A – tattoos and piercings. I think, yes quite possibly, I am ready to embark on said actions. Not merely to follow a trend – although let’s admit, that cannot be avoided entirely – but I’ve always wanted a tattoo, have just not come up with the engravings as to which I would ‘artistify’ my body with. Yes, I am taking that step in making up words again to explain my thoughts. In regards to piercings – I have never been pricked with the needle of a piercing artist, and have never truly wanted to. But tonight I thought, hmm, why not? Nothing huge, nor heavy, just a hole punched in my face. Sounds awesome, right?! Not ear lobes – I like my ear lobes soft, smooth, and pure. Perhaps nose? or eyebrow? Or perhaps nose to eyebrow chain? Okay, so not serious on that last one. I’m leaning nose, just something small on either of the sides. My only question which shows my naivety in the matter – when you have a cold or allergies, how do you blow your nose without ripping the interior walls of the nasal area?? ๐Ÿ™‚

For the tattoo – a much more serious game than the prior. A piercing can easily be removed, whilst leaving a small scar of sorts, but nothing obstructive. A tattoo however – well its permanency is something of which intrigues me and deters me simultaneously. And the decisions are endless – where? what? symbol? text? colour? black? size? significance? I have been thinking about this tonight, and have some ideas in mind. I would love to go about this with the standard and somewhat douchey approach being “Go Huge! Or Go Home!” but alas, I think not. I love sleeves and half-sleeves, but perhaps quite a lot for the apprehensive. Hands, I quite enjoy especially when included within the cultural context of such. Shoulder blade I like as a blank plate for simplicity – almost like carving text into a stone slate. Neck, possibly, but would have to fit into context for me.

So apparently this is what creeps into my mind when I have the time to do so – I’m quite at peace right now – some worries, but I’m okay with that. And you know what – its thoughts like these that remind me that this is just me. I’m weird and at times extreme, but still rational and chill. I love to engage in adventures such as bungee jumping and sky diving, but I like to sit inside on a Saturday night with a cup of tea and an art mag; I love to travel and get lost, and run after trains and planes before they depart without me, but I also like to walk the hidden paths amongst the breeze off the sea and the grass the most luscious of greens; I love to snowboard, long board, and blade, but I also adore tennis, basketball, soccer/football, and squash. Do I want a motorcycle license? Yes. Do I like going to the shooting range? Sure do. Do I also like staying in and eating toast? Absolutely. I’m an odd ball, and you know why? Because my mama raised me right. ๐Ÿ™‚

Any tips or thoughts on the above, send ’em my way!

Peace and love.

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

p.s – and as promised, here is my ‘class’/college photo. I’m holding it a bit back from the camera, but if you cannot guess which one is me even from an obscured angle, well then, you need to get to know me and my reputation better. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I spy with my little eye... something that stands out from the others.....

From Art Student to International Affairs Student, the Question Lies: Why did I do this to myself?

To you,

Classes/Modules have officially commenced and my, does it take some getting used to. I’m feeling at least somewhat reassuredย  concerning my new grade of being a Masters student. In all honesty, I never even considered doing a postgraduate programme until last summer, and from there I somehow ended up with the interest to apply to programmes completely outside of my field being that of fine arts. I’m not really sure as to how I arrived here in the School of Government and International Affairs, but I am rather enthused with the new challenges ahead of me. To begin, my reading list. People warn you about the excess reading of which differs from a rather light load that one becomes accustomed to in their undergraduate studies, but no one was able to warn me that I would have no idea as to what I was reading. I’ve been reading art history and art theory for the past 3 years, and a good level of it, but by no means overwhelming. And now, I’m catching up on the light reads of Talal Asad’s views on the influence of European and North American practices in regards to the political formations of secularism, and the ever so whimsical talks of globalization within social science contexts by Arturo Escobar. I thought Roland Barthes and the Camera Lucida were challenging reads – at least I knew the subject matter! It’s all daunting to say the least, but I think I’ll get the hang of it. Thus far my reading list has exceeded the amount of hours in a day, and it is most definitely one of my biggest transitions to make from my undergraduate studies of fine arts and studio practice to my postgraduate degree of politics, religion, and globalization. On Monday afternoon, I ventured to my College’s (The Castle) M.C.R or fully know as the Middle Common Room, a space allocated for postgraduate members of the College only, to try and do some reading before realizing I was in desperate need of a latte and so headed to Cafe Nero to continue on. I think I’ll end up doing this often, because coffee is my friend.

My weekly reading list for week 2

My weekly reading list for week 2

When I went to the book store to purchase some supplies for school, I realized that I was no longer doing just that – there were no ‘supplies’ to purchase. Just books, and some notebooks. I’ve also come to realize the true training of art school of which it has provided many talents. Thanks to my semesters of hauling the little drawing and paint toolbox and the massive drawing portfolio whilst the winds blew the portfolio like a kite waiting to take sail as you tried to walk from one side of the street to the other without A) losing your portfolio to the wind gods, and B) without ending up with car bumper indentations all over your body. I’ve now realized the reason for why these classes were necessary, because now I can carry my school bag flung over my shoulder, whilst carrying bundles of groceries spanning across my torso appendages, while walking up a hill to then fiddle with your keys to open your ancient British door to your home. Thank you, Drawing 101. Thank YOU. But in all seriousness, its an odd feeling. I’m not going to lie, after purchasing my school books and stationary (sounds boring to you, but I LOVE stationary shops!), I bought a box of fatty crayons and markers. I refused to conform to my new ‘supplies’ list of which normal postgraduate students require. I need crayons, dammit!

Going back to the schedule adjustment. I feel as though no one prepared me for the way schools such as Durham University manage their syllabi. My Michaelmas Term (October – December) consists of this scheduling outline:

MONDAY – Zippo.
TUESDAY – Research Methods and Dissertation Production, 11AM-12PM (first 3 weeks only); on occasion, International Systems Seminar
THURSDAY – Religion and Globalization (alternates between 2 hour lectures and 1 hour tutorials) 11AM-1PM; International Systems Lecture 1PM-2PM; Religion, Ethnicity and Otherness (Modern Languages and Cultures department) 4pm-6pm
FRIDAY – Zilch.

And there you have it. Three whole days off. No classes before 11AM. No evening courses. Mind you, this time will be heavily filled with my course readings, and essay prep. When the Michaelmas Term has finished, I am off until January 16th when I commence the Epiphany Term which continues through to mid March. After this, I am pretty much done. My dissertation is due September 7th and I’ll return the following summer to graduate with my Masters Degree. Part of my reasoning for choosing Durham was due to their scheduling differences to North America. I actually enjoy the intensity, but as I mentioned earlier, it is highly confusing.

Anyways, I’ll end here. Because. Well. I told you. I have a sh*t load of readings to decipher.

Hope all is well, and I look forward to writing again soon :o)

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! I Be-ith Matriculated! (However An English Major, I am not)

To you,

So today was the day of all things formal and official. I started my day off lovely lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ After some tea and breakie, I ventured to the Sports Fair where I signed up to learn about a few of the clubs and societies – all very exciting as I am a nerd and wanting to get involved wherever I am able to. After such business, I came back to me flat and got all gussied up for the official Durham Postgraduate Matriculation Ceremony, something of which being from North America, I am very unfamiliar with. At 12:15PM I walked down and up the cobble stone roads (please don’t think this would deter me from wearing my 3″ heels) over to the Castle where a few members were gathered in the M.C.R (Middle Common Room) and there I collected my black gown to wear for the ceremony. After chit chatting, we walked through to the courtyard with winds diminishing everyone’s appearance as neatly pleated dresses became creased, and carefully set hair-dos became tangled manes. Eventually, we lined up together and were setup on the Castle’s steps where our photo was taken as the official 2011 Postgraduate entries within the University College membership. Shortly afterwards, we all marched into the Cathedral, something of which is a grand sight in itself. Reputed as one of the greatest cathedral’s in the world, it did live up to the standard such a title would hold. As I was seated, I was amazed at the size of the Postgraduate class of Durham’s student population, as we easily filled the Cathedral. The Castle’s graduate student population was in itself at around 150 students, which is their largest class yet. Quite impressive, really.

All in all, I think today was a true introduction as to the culture and atmosphere of Durham University. Something of which I am highly appreciative of is the tradition of community supported organizations. For instance, when I use the term ‘College’, this basically is an organization of sorts of which you have chosen to be affiliated with as a permanent member. You have access to this building’s societies, facilities, and events, and are joined by undergraduates and postgraduates of all departments. Durham, Cambridge, and Oxford are traditionally known for these types of settings, and I actually really enjoy it! Not only am I a member of the Castle (yes, it is an actual Castle), but I can affiliate myself with students of all study backgrounds rather than just my department of Government and International Affairs. In addition to being introduced to the College setting, the Matriculation Ceremony in itself is highly formal. All the men wore suits and ties, and the ladies, dresses and blouses. The Deans of the Cathedral and of the University made speeches, and as the ceremony ended, it was officially announced that “the postgraduate Matriculation ceremony of 2011 has concluded.” Again, the Matriculation tradition is mainly known through Cambridge, Oxford, and Durham universities being the three oldest universities in the United Kingdom, and all holding very high standards. Coming from North America, this was definitely an eye-opener and wonderful cultural introduction to the history of the area and university itself. In the evening, a nice dinner Social was held at the Castle of which I ate, drank some juice, and stood wide-eyed at the ancient structure of the rooms and hallways.

So there you have it – no trips, a few giggles, and my seat almost collapsing underneath of me during the ceremony. Oh, and a slight choking on my food at dinner. Nothing out of the ordinary for me, really! Tomorrow, I get to ask a few questions regarding registration and perhaps attend some athletics in the evening time. Will update again shortly, but for tonight I am spent! A full day of official Postgraduate events has got me knackered out!

Night night!

Love from, Vic Louise xoxoxo