Laura Gonzalez

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Peer Assessment — 19 Jan 2005

Rhed got a very clear sense that the anxiety about teaching research degree students without having a research degree, specified in profile 2, were not going to be fully resolved by doing a PGCert in Teaching and Learning.

Although this will help to give me some context of pedagogical theory and, through knowledge and peer experience, will strengthen my actual delivery practice, I won’t be able to be satisfied until I have gone through the whole process myself.

In a way, I was very glad Rhed pointed this out. I was great to hear it from someone else. I am applying to do a PhD next October as a career move. I want to be a researcher but I anso want to improve my professional teaching practice, being able to relate to students from a position of having the experience. The people I have talked to about this all think that I am doing it because of the subject or because I have an inclination to write academically. This is only part of my decision and having someone notice how important a PhD will be and how it will enhance my teaching was indeed very rewarding.

I applied to Central Saint Martins in December and I am currently writing my AHRB Doctoral Award application. This has already changed the way I teach some of the sessions of the training programme (more confidence, first hand examples I can relate to, real problems encountered rather than those I have read about or seen in other students). It ias evident the benefits a PhD will have in my job.

Both Leonora and Rhed pointed out the quality of the writing in the profile statement. This was very encouraging as I will be looking at producing a 60,000-word thesis for my PhD and, English not being my first language, I feel a little intimidated. I did spend a lot of time articulating the text for the profile 2 of the PGCert course. I teach the session on proposal writing and I place a lot of emphasis of quality, trying to avoid obscure theses and papers that will only be read by academics. I really want to produce a good PhD where people from outside the field can relate to the writing and which, perhaps, can be published into a book. I was very pleased with their comments and felt as if all the hard work with the Oxford English Dictionary. and the Thesaurus wasn’t in vain.

[Note to self: read more Barthes, who writes beautifully in an academic way]

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Note to Self — 19 Jan 2005

Beware of train wreck sentences.

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To Do by 15th February — 18 Jan 2005

In no particular order:

—Finish reading Les liaisons dangereuses
—Finish reading Apariencia desnuda: La obra de Marcel Duchamp
—Write AHRB Doctoral Award application
‚ÄîAdvance on the reading of Baudrillard’s Seduction (yawn)
—Write TMC article on Le Grand Verre
‚ÄîChase up PhD application (by 1st February, if I haven’t heard from them)
—Upload reading list into the Delicious Library
—Research Focus Grous bibliography, techniques and sample questionnaires
‚ÄîContact Dr Lorraine Gamman if she hasn’t been contacted by Central Saint Martins
—Find out where to buy mattress fibre or similar soft material
—Do something with the coloured sewing pins (design, draw or construct)

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Agrippina — 17 Jan 2005

Agrippina writes: “The manner of holding the hands in the preparatory position, as well as in the subsequent positions, can be shown only in actual demonstrations. It is very difficult to describe. To a certain extent, the accompanying illustrations will help. I shall add the following explanation.”

The merit of Ms Vaganova isn’t in her foolish attempt to write about what cannot be written; nor is her clumsy but charming style, difficult to see in this minimal quote. What makes her so great is her worry about legacy. Before her, nobody had attempted to write, to articulate for posterity the principles of Russian ballet technique. If she hadn’t been there, pen in hand, trying to describe the dos and don’ts of a perfect pli?© and the relationship of the Russian syllabus to Ceccheti’s teaching method despite her knowledge that this vast task was partly in vain, we wouldn’t have technically and aesthetically natural ballerinas. Russia couldn’t have attained the top of the ballet ranks either.

Vaganova knew that ballet teaching, particularly when it came to sorting out frustrations, shouldn’t be a lonely enterprise. She set out to share her experiences and experiments, trying to design a good pedagogical basis that would enhance not only the pupil’s suppleness but their continuous progress as well.

What I am trying to do starts with the unspeakable too, or rather with what no one has taken the pains to describe. And here I am, marvelling at Vaganova’s awkward prose and thanking her for being so generous.

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Post Christmas Post — 16 Jan 2005

It has taken me all this time to come back here. My mum’s Christmas present (a 3-day visit to the dentist), essays on teaching and knowledge (which I handed today) and general tedium of life as it currently is didn’t contribute to make the journey any quicker. Besides, as R- pointed out to me in the wonderful launch party of the no less wonderful Mind’s Construction, everything cannot be written about.

My Christmas presents included 7 books and a Concise Oxford English Dictionary. All of the books and part of the dictionary try to express the unspeakable. While Octavio Paz succeeds by taking the pseudo-scientific-descriptive approach to talk about Marcel Duchamp’s Le Grand Verre (La mariée mise à nu par ses celibataires, même), poor Agrippina Vaganova, in her famous book on Russian Ballet Technique, can’t stop excusing herself for not being able to convey the right way of executing a plié. The fact that Octavio Paz goes beyond the very complicated piece of work ( Le Grand Verre is often referred to the Finnegan’s Wake of the art world), enhancing my enjoyment of the book and of Duchamp’s art, gives me a doubly satisfactory hope:
1. Good writing and rigorous writing can occasionally be found in the same piece
2. No everything can be written about.

The 6 ballet entries in My Documents folder weren’t after all a waste of time. I can now keep on dancing without the pressure of having to record the ways in which my heart leaps with a Grande Jete en tournant.

Current readings:

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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.