Monday 27 August 2012

Art History: Back to basics part two

Here is the second part of the test, called Approaches. I may have cried doing part of this because it made my brain hurt. I think it was ultimately rewarding though and once again I used the internet only in an emergency - rediscovering  indexes and glossaries.

Can you explain what the following terms mean: chiaroscuro, the gaze, iconography, the canon, ekphrasis, polyptych, hegemony, contrapposto, readymade, paradigm? (You should be aware that some of these terms are not narrowly art-historical but are also used in scholarship in the humanities more generally).

Chiaroscuro: Italian technical term meaning light/shade, used especially when they are strongly contrasting. Joseph Wright of Derby in his paintings of scientific experiments makes full use of the dramatic effects of light and dark. 

Sunday 26 August 2012

Art History: Back to basics part one

As preparation for further Art History study, I thought I would attempt some questions posed by the Open University. There are two parts to the test, Information and Approaches. I've started with Information. As a further challenge, only emergency Internet was used in the answering of these.

What is meant by the hierarchy of the genres? Can you give an account of its origins and development?

The hierarchy of the genres was evidence of the rationalising methods of the European fine art academies (17th century -) who taught that types or genres of paintings were arranged in a hierarchical order. 

Thursday 23 August 2012

Flexible Working = Business as Usual

At home not eating cheese
I wanted to write a short personal piece on whether my Olympic contingency plan had worked or not. Quite simply, it had. Over those two weeks I started thinking about the implications of library and information professionals working from home, such things as flexible hours, home working technologies and wondering if it would work longer term. 

As background, I am solo professional librarian in a medium sized central London law firm. My contracted hours are 9.30-5.30, 5 days a week. My firm is average in its attitude to flexible working and was happy to look at alternative ways of working during this time.

Although the Olympics was necessarily a one off event and the government were ‘"relying on businesses to plan" to keep London functioning’, my firm felt it was a good opportunity to review various other HR policies, IT back up, disaster recovery plans as a side effect. As it happens we could not have anticipated the success of the apparently indestructible London infrastructure – from transport to telecoms. The firm also stressed that this period was not a ‘license to skive’, which was reflected in our ‘business as usual’ Olympic Plan. Indeed my productivity has improved and I’ve already taken examples of improved working practices to the Partnership Director. 

Saturday 18 August 2012

Traces of London Life: Refusing to Despair

Despair in all its forms have been troubling me in the last few weeks. It's sad to see someone you care about come apart at the seams and know that you can only help by staying away. I've never suffered the true despair that comes with mental illness; my despair has been caused by very natural causes suffered in the course of life. Change. Loss of love. Death. All terrible but all possible to overcome with the right outlook, contrary indomitable spirit and very good friends to help you through the impossible times.

Friday 17 August 2012

Finding Legal CPD Courses

It's about the communication, stupid!
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an essential part of a Knowledge Management strategy. When the process is working properly it not only ensures that an individual is up to date in specialist areas of their practice but also it means that they take the information back to their departments. Whether the information is presented verbally at meetings, or written about in a piece of knowhow, incorporated into a precedent etc, it seeps into the fabric of the firm’s knowledge and is turned into profit. This is crucial given the initial expense – there has to be a return on this investment.

This process is important so to see how it works for us I went back to the beginning. How do the lawyers find out what courses are available?

Wednesday 15 August 2012

György Ligeti - Poème Symphonique For 100 Metronomes

Sounds of beating cicadas singing the day
Hammering out song brashly bright

Lying awake listening to warm rain
These machines tapping insistent patterns

Mechanical toy chattering madly until
Slowing. Lazily. Grinding. Halting

Clattering hooves of horse drawn hearse
Pulling their load into quiet distance

Final rewinding of internal clock
Gentle, with care, of old mechanism

Counting our life's minutes seconds
Dying away. Final clicks. Slowly 

Double desynchronising momentum 
Profound phasing in and out  

Single heart beating life 



Tuesday 7 August 2012

Tiny blue

Gleeful spirits sailing
Soaring and bubbling their
True delight in the air

Gravity free flying
Butterflying blue
Tiny rarity in the air

Following haphazard joy
Curiously, knowingly
Captivated by colour

Powdery hues dancing
Sparkling eyes watch
Their blurring turquoise air

For the splendid @classicpassion

Saturday 4 August 2012

Millennium Bridge Soundscape

Serenity bustles by businesslike
Water music accompanies the crowd
Discordant chords sooth the sky
Which turns from colour to silver
To match the glistening notes
All around us

Waves of people; waves of river
In unconscious unnoticing synchronicity
Shafts of light rising and sinking
In time, out of time, eternal histories
Whispered and felt and insistent
All around us