Posted by & filed under Erik Duval, in memoriam, K.U.Leuven.

This is a picture of the late Erik Duval talking about “Open learning in practice” on October 24, 2011 during the VLHORA Studiedag “The Educational Highway” at the Flemish Parliament. It was an interesting programme that day, with keynotes by Steven van Bellegem, and Stephen Downes, and parallel workshop sessions with most of Flanders’ experts in the field of technology-enhanced learning: Pedro de Bruyckere, Cindy de Smet, Jan Elen, Jos Dumortier, Jan Seurinck, and of course Erik Duval.
The picture illlustrates Erik’s typical presentation style: one hand in his pocket, relaxed, eyes sparkling, with a semi-smirk on his face, semi-improvising his way through his never-ending stream of mostly graphical slides. Typical for Erik was that he would be sitting in the audience until 10 minutes before his speech or keynote, refining his presentation, or linking his thoughts to issues mentioned by the speakers before him. An avid Apple-fan, he had a huge collection of slides in Keynote, from which he made a selection on-the-fly to fit the audience, the theme or some recent topic. Also, he didn’t rely on his slides, like so many others. The slides would most often illustrate the story that he told, and if the presentation technology failed, Erik would still keep you chained to your chair with his intense, and often somewhat controversial style of storytelling.
In the flood of social media reactions on Twitter and Facebook that was triggered by his untimely passing on March 12th, some people have called him a Science Rockstar, or even the Steve Jobs of Flemish higher education. Of course, some of his talks were controversial or provocative, but that was mainly to start people thinking and get them to reconsider pre-conceived ideas, or look at an issue from a different perspective. But he was no rockstar in the sense of aloofness, prima-donna-ism or inflated ego. Erik was as down-to-earth an academic as you may ever encounter, always stressing the work of others, usually downplaying his own contribution, and friendly to a fault.
He was a Steve Jobs in the sense that he was very influential, innovative and that he passed away much too soon, but the comparison stops there. Erik was first and foremost a family man, firmly rooted in Antwerp, who preferred video-conferencing and skyping above travelling and plane hopping. He was also open and generous with his knowledge, insights and ideas, and not just trying to monetize them. He was the ultimate educator when guiding and supporting his students, PhD researchers and colleagues. His research group often had the highest number of PhD students within the department or even the faculty, mostly due to Erik’s network and ideas. When talking with Erik, he would give you his full attention, even though he always seemed to be in a hurry.
Was he a TEL-evangelist, as the title of this post suggests? Definitely not in the sense of someone trying to convince you about his viewpoints at all costs. He didn’t just talk the talk, he applied his ideas in his own work with his students and colleagues, and led by example.
Erik and I have been colleagues for more than 10 years, first at KULeuven, in projects such as Pubelo or on the advisory committee for the KULeuven VLE. Later we kept in touch through conferences, workshops, PhD defenses and of course online. I remember a semester where Erik invited some close members of his international network to join his HCI students through Facebook to allow them to test Facebook apps that the students were developing. Last time we had dinner together was at Bozart in Brussels some years ago, when I had arranged a meeting of a number of Flemish TEL-experts, together with Stephen Downes who was visiting for a keynote. When Stephen came down with the flu, the rest of our group went to dinner anyway, and enjoyed a lovely meal and lively conversation.
Erik will be missed in our international family of researchers and practitioners of technology-enhanced learning, but his ideas, his enthousiasm and soul will stay with us for a long time to come.

Posted by & filed under Erik Duval, in memoriam, K.U.Leuven.


This is a picture of the late Erik Duval talking about "Open learning in practice" on October 24, 2011 during the VLHORA Studiedag "The Educational Highway" at the Flemish Parliament. It was an interesting programme that day, with keynotes by Steven van Bellegem, and Stephen Downes, and parallel workshop sessions with most of Flanders' experts in the field of technology-enhanced learning: Pedro de Bruyckere, Cindy de Smet, Jan Elen, Jos Dumortier, Jan Seurinck, and of course Erik Duval.
The picture illlustrates Erik's typical presentation style: one hand in his pocket, relaxed, eyes sparkling, with a semi-smirk on his face, semi-improvising his way through his never-ending stream of mostly graphical slides. Typical for Erik was that he would be sitting in the audience until 10 minutes before his speech or keynote, refining his presentation, or linking his thoughts to issues mentioned by the speakers before him. An avid Apple-fan, he had a huge collection of slides in Keynote, from which he made a selection on-the-fly to fit the audience, the theme or some recent topic. Also, he didn't rely on his slides, like so many others. The slides would most often illustrate the story that he told, and if the presentation technology failed, Erik would still keep you chained to your chair with his intense, and often somewhat controversial style of storytelling.
In the flood of social media reactions on Twitter and Facebook that was triggered by his untimely passing on March 12th, some people have called him a Science Rockstar, or even the Steve Jobs of Flemish higher education. Of course, some of his talks were controversial or provocative, but that was mainly to start people thinking and get them to reconsider pre-conceived ideas, or look at an issue from a different perspective. But he was no rockstar in the sense of aloofness, prima-donna-ism or inflated ego. Erik was as down-to-earth an academic as you may ever encounter, always stressing the work of others, usually downplaying his own contribution, and friendly to a fault.
He was a Steve Jobs in the sense that he was very influential, innovative and that he passed away much too soon, but the comparison stops there. Erik was first and foremost a family man, firmly rooted in Antwerp, who preferred video-conferencing and skyping above travelling and plane hopping. He was also open and generous with his knowledge, insights and ideas, and not just trying to monetize them. He was the ultimate educator when guiding and supporting his students, PhD researchers and colleagues. His research group often had the highest number of PhD students within the department or even the faculty, mostly due to Erik's network and ideas. When talking with Erik, he would give you his full attention, even though he always seemed to be in a hurry.
Was he a TEL-evangelist, as the title of this post suggests? Definitely not in the sense of someone trying to convince you about his viewpoints at all costs. He didn't just talk the talk, he applied his ideas in his own work with his students and colleagues, and led by example.
Erik and I have been colleagues for more than 10 years, first at KULeuven, in projects such as Pubelo or on the advisory committee for the KULeuven VLE. Later we kept in touch through conferences, workshops, PhD defenses and of course online. I remember a semester where Erik invited some close members of his international network to join his HCI students through Facebook to allow them to test Facebook apps that the students were developing. Last time we had dinner together was at Bozart in Brussels some years ago, when I had arranged a meeting of a number of Flemish TEL-experts, together with Stephen Downes who was visiting for a keynote. When Stephen came down with the flu, the rest of our group went to dinner anyway, and enjoyed a lovely meal and lively conversation.
Erik will be missed in our international family of researchers and practitioners of technology-enhanced learning, but his ideas, his enthousiasm and soul will stay with us for a long time to come.

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So, a week or so ago I asked my class to provide me with a six second video. This video would need to outline a topic of a technical nature and the task would not be graded…..just a bit of fun. I provided them with an example video (as seen in my first blog) and asked them to have fun when making bit.

I was apprehensive as there was very little by way of incentive. I didn’t even tell them what I planned to do with the video. So to my astonishment I had 40/60 topic videos returned to me within ten days of my request!!

What was even more astonishing was the quality of the end product. Here are three of my personal favorites:

 

Coronary artery bypass graft.

 

and my all time favorite:

 

Last week I thanked them for their efforts and told them that I intend to place them within the slide material and will open them up when the topic is covered. I could see from their faces that there was an element of shock and excitement. It seemed to all work very well!

This was a very cool project and one that I will definitely try to do each semester. I think this will promote engagement and keep things light in what is a very theory based paper.

 


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My first foray into the world of twitter. I have to be honest and say that I was never impressed nor interested in twitter. I thought perhaps that this was for the ‘young ones’ who didn’t have much to say, so could say it with a limited amount of text. So as with my previous efforts I have been given a gentle word by Thom (with a H), and I opened up my twitter account.

For the first few days I looked at my phone and nothing really happened? I was then told that I need to be more active and start looking for connections, interests and comment. I linked into a colleague and then there seemed to be an explosion of ‘tweets’ (As you can see I even picked up some of the lingo), I had tweets from my friends, colleagues and from people I had never even heard of. At first I was slightly excited by my new found fame and I opened up every tweet and read all the details and followed the links and looked at profiles and pressed the little heart button ( which I hope is a “like” not a “love”). It was very interesting.

That is until, the tweets started coming in thick and fast and every time I looked at my phone I had a ‘backlog’ of tweets to get through. My excitement had turned into a chore. My phone would make its little ‘tweet’ sound several times per hour and would announce its presence at 3.00am, 4.00am, 5.00am and all to my wife’s annoyance. I therefore had to take action to muffle this tweet business but I couldn’t let Thom down! I figured out a way to turn off the noise, then I found that instead of looking like one of the young one’s looking at my phone every five minutes, opening up content and spending far too much of my waking hours phone watching, I decided for reasons of sanity to perform a quick-look-delete routine. This in itself seemed to work well for me but I then started to question the relevance of twitter as the content and true context was being lost! And this is where I stayed……..until…….

Until, my colleague and I (Stu Cookie, by the way) started talking about the pharmacological benefit of Ketamine for management of Post-cardiac care. Our discussion hit a wall with regards its use and it was at this point that Stu mentioned he was linked to a leading expert in the USA? A minute later he had sent a tweet to this guy and three minutes later we had a raft of replies and the answer to our query. We had jumped the wall!! I have to admit that I was very impressed by the power of this tool. We had a world expert on the subject matter answer our questions quicker than I could ever open a book, let alone research the literature. Impressive! impressed!

So where to now? I guess I have to be pragmatic, thoughtful and understanding of this juvenile delinquent called twitter. I must keep an eye on it, try not to expect I can control it and importantly, try my best to direct its energy.

 

 


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Hey guys

How are you all I recently took another trip to Peru and I have done a diary of how the trip went hope you enjoy reading how my latest trip out there went.

Day 1

Well on my travels to Peru on the 1st day and I can’t say the journey was exactly smooth. My journeys which involved one taxi, one train, 2 buses and three flights. Each journey was either late on arrival or had bad turbulence so wasn’t the most pleasant.

Day 2

On the Friday I finally arrived to Tacna, Peru after about a 36 hour Journey. The first thing I noticed was how warm it truly is here although Peru is now in the summer season. I was greeted at the airport by my girlfriend, which was another great memory I won’t ever forget. Going through the streets in a taxi I was quite familiar with the streets with the rough and safe areas and reminder of dogs just walking through the streets casually as well as myself again being treated like a tourist or as they say here Gringo . Even though I was exhausted from the journey we did decide to go out for rest of the day we had a walk through the streets in which we finally ended up at the cinema which we tried one cinema before however no films had no English in them and 2nd cinema had the same but we decided to catch the movie “El Niño”. When we came back to the flat of my girlfriend we had some “pollo a la brasa” which is kind of broast chicken with a particular flavour and fried potatoes and before starting to eat there was a small earthquake which surprised me a lot being my first day in Tacna. It was a very pleasant day and a great welcome back to Peru.

Day 3

On day 3 we decided to travel to Ilo, Peru which is where the majority of the time I would be staying on this trip. We stopped half way before getting to Ilo to visit the land and farms of my parents girlfriend. Which was a vast piece of land and beautiful scenery around which we ended up picking some fruits to take back like apples, lemons, figs, avocados and olives . We then went to eat on the beach with some very tasty fried fish and potatoes . As my girlfriend mum wanted me to practice my Spanish she made me ask to the waiter for some Cold Inca Kola and I got nervous with my pronunciation so everybody laughed of my crappy Spanish, we were still waiting for the food and they told us to wait 20 minutes more so my girlfriend told me to run to the sea and have some fun  so we ran to the sea leaving our shoes in the restaurant and the sand was so hot that we burned our  feet that made us ran like mad to the water, she got me inside the sea and we got all wet and came back to the restaurant to have our fried fish . Coming back to Ilo from Los Palos – Tacna  we decided to stop before to take in the scenery of the beach and it was beautiful especially after running up a hill covered in sand. As well we decided to see how some owners of goats and sheep order them up over the mountain and it was an awesome sight to see. We got to Ilo and that night we decided to go valentines’ clubbing in the “Tusan“ that is in front of the  beach. Which was a great night and a great way to end the day.

Day 4

Day 4 became more of a relaxing day and I must say I think we needed it. We first decided to go to get a juice at the market which the taste was very familiar. We decided at the end of the day to go running near the beach as well as go back to the small outside gym near the beach.

Day 5

On the Monday we firstly went to eat breakfast and eat some pies and have some more juice for Breakfast which was allot stronger than the previous day which contained eggs, milk, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, spinach, mango, carrots, beer and honey. We then decided to go near the port which we ended up seeing allot of sea lions and we went to buy some fish at the fish mongers however there weren’t any for what we wanted. So we decided to go buy some chicken in which the market was pretty much blocked off due to stall holders were having a meeting which we were later told that its cause the government are looking to close some of the market. On the evening we decided to go for a nice meal however first restaurant was completely full so we decided to go another which we took in some nice roasted chicken.  We then decided to have a walk through the park and ended another lovely day in such hot weather.

Adventure time

Day 6

On the Tuesday became a very busy day at first we had some jobs to do and I managed to go to the internet café and enjoy a nice jug of mango which was very refreshing and for lunch we had some nice fish. We also went to book our trip to Cusco as we were travelling that very evening. From 8:00 our journey began well pretty much 9:00 which the bus didn’t arrive until then. Firstly we got of at Puno. Which we were informed by a taxi driver that there wasn’t much around and we should have stayed on the coach that its journey was till Juliaca however my girlfriend left her handbag on the coach which thankfully she realised it within a couple of minutes so it became a mad dash for the coach to stop and take us back on which it felt like being in a movie. We finally stopped the coach and the mother of my girlfriend told to the driver that we only left to bus for going to the toilet and they let us come back to our seats thankfully the handbag of my girlfriend was there and we continued our journey till Juliaca.

Day 7

Our journey continues as we set of on another coach and we got of at Tipon. As one of the passengers advised us to get of there and taste the waters there. We got a taxi to and we went inside and started to taste the water. This water is to help clear your system and take away all the nasty stuff inside and comes from the mountains. I must say it wasn’t the most pleasant water I’ve ever tasted and it did make me be sick while drinking it, but that was to be expected. After drinking the water and taking in the beautiful sights around we went back to the entrance to wash ourselves with the water it did feel however we trespassed however the owner did say it was allowed. We continued on with our journey as some small dogs followed us down the hill to take in some more beautiful sights. A car finally passed us and took us to eat some soup which I was told that you can only have a soup after drinking this water. It was a fulfilling soup although right at the end I did find some hair in mine in which I wasn’t very pleased about. Thankfully the driver who drove us here also offered to wait for us and take us to Cusco. We finally arrived to Cusco and booked into a cheap hotel. It wasn’t the most pleasant and it felt my pillow was sleeping on a brick but I guess it was ok for the price of three of us. We then decided to go out around Cusco firstly we went to buy some tickets for perhaps going to Machu Picchu however the train tickets for Peruvians had sold out plus it was annoying to know that there was a train for tourists and another for Peruvians so that meant that we couldn’t go together in the train. We then went onto visiting to the Qorikancha which was amazing to see, and was informed that at one time it was the centre of the earth, the guide offered us a nice tour to the Sacred Valley which we would take the next day We also went into a beautiful church in Cusco next to the Qorikancha which had some amazing artwork. We continued on down the streets and took in some nice sights of Cusco which was very pleasant to see and had a relaxing time at the centre square. We took in some food on the evening which we eat Lomo Saltado which is slices of meat, onions, tomatoes, fried potatoes and rice and I ate some grilled chicken and finally ending back at the hotel which I believe we truly needed it.

Day 8

For Day 8 we were going on a day tour to the Sacred Valley – Cusco, local towns and the highlands. We almost missed the tour as we couldn’t find the tour guide who was meeting up with us but thankfully we did meet up in the end. We got onto the bus and as the tour guide wasn’t informed I got my first journey all spoke to in Spanish thankfully my girlfriend was telling me what the guide was saying as he made many jokes and the people in the bus were laughing. But we did mention after our first stop and of course he apologize to me and I could see he was a gentle man. Our first stop we stop of at a market which was pretty cool and got chance to take pictures with the locals and Llamas. The tour guide informed us that many of the local people buy bulls that go on top of the house but the only ones that can buy these bulls can only be women cause if the man of the house buys them that means that his wife will cheat at him which the tour guide jokingly said that they may go with any tourist. He also jokingly said about Sacsayhuaman which is a citadel where is celebrated the Inti Raymi which is a celebration for the sun, the main event for the inca culture and he said that its name may sound like sexy woman as many tourists confuse the name of this inca citadel. Throughout the tour we stopped at many sights and it looked beautiful one of the best sights was seeing the carvings in a cliff of a Condor and also to be able to see a sculpture of the Enchanted Ñusta which the legend tells that a beautiful woman called Inquil Chumpi, in those times the Amautas, the wise ones, consulted the oracles to know what their destiny was. During one of the consultations, the oracles predicted that men would come from many places to ask for the hand of the princess but that only he who could build in a single night a great bridge to connect the town of Pisac with the mountain would be successful so years later the prediction came to pass. Young men started arriving from all over. The first to ask for the hand of the princess where from the area near the city of Cuzco. When they were informed of the superhuman conditions they had to meet in order to marry her. Then the Qollas came, the Chinchas, and people from all the different regions to ask for the hand of Inquil Chumpi. But just like those of Cuzco, one by one they returned to their homes because of the impossibility of the task placed before them. Time passed and then a new young man came to seek her hand from the region of Antisuyo, down river from Pisac. He was the son of the Chief of the Huallas. He came to Pisac with a cage of precious stones in which lived a strange bird. The legend narrates that the bird had mysterious abilities and a profound knowledge of nature’s great secrets. These worthy present was destined to the princess as a symbol of his love. This young man was called Asto Rimac and he was ready to fulfill the orders of the oracle. But he also had a petition for the princess that on awakening from the night in which he would build the bridge, the princess would climb up the mountain, leaving coca leaves to show her path. She should not turn around even once until she reached the top, if she accepted his petition. Asto Rimac gave his gift to the princess and the celebrations began. Corn chicha was the ever present drink. When night fell people began to hear the sound of stones falling from the mountains and coming out of the river. With them the bridge was built. Fulfilling her promise, at dawn the princess began her ascent of the mountain. She left leaves of coca to mark her steps. Her curiosity was so intense, however, that she could not help but turning to look. Because of that she turned into stone and stands forever on the mountain’s slope.

Our tour allowed us to have a buffet meal which was tasted amazing and we surely needed it being in this weather. We went onto probably one of the best sights I’ve ever seen in my life which was the ruins of the Sacred Valley it was a very busy sight and was quiet worrying going up as one slip and you had it. We went all the way round on this tour of this place getting informed such as how the residents pulled stones up the hill stones of 17 to 30 tonnes, which was interesting to listen the 3 theories the guide told us besides that he sais that it took from 50 to 100 years to build Machu Picchu and all these platforms we were walking through.  One of the most surprising anecdotes we were informed about was how to say God in Quechua which I can’t even remember as its about 20 words. He also told us about the story of 2 faces in the mountain which myths say they will rise again, one was the nose of the Inca that it shines with the sun only when its time to celebrate the Inti Raymi and theres another old face with a  crown which shines too but only of the day to celebrate that summer will  start. It was one of the best memories of the tour and trip and was one fantastic view. I was worried however for Gabi falling. We went on then to our final place which was in the town of Chinchero  by this time the atmosphere really did hit me but it was another fantastic view and we got shown around a beautiful church and told us the story of the paintings. We continued down the road and we got taking in by residents who explained to us about how they make wool from  we also got given some nice tea which did make me feel better. The tour guide also gave a funny anecdote after about how the roads were built to stop flooding and not even our own government today can be that smart. Our tour came to an end and we headed back to the centre of Cusco however it took longer than expected as the radiator on the bus started to overheat and had to get an engineer out which did not fill me with much satisfaction but thankfully we got back to Cusco safely. We took a bus to the town of San Pedro where we were stopping for the next day to drink the local water we arrived there around midnight. It must have been the cheapest and worst hotel ive ever stayed in which cost us 30 soles for three of us (100 soles is worth £20) so you can imagine how bad it was but we just wanted a roof over our heads especially as it was raining. Our door was secured by a tiny latch and my bed felt like I was sleeping in a hammock but it was prob more comfy than hotel on the previous night but it didn’t take me to long to fall asleep. It was probably one of the best days of the trip and one amazing tour.

Day 9

Waking up very early for our big day ahead we firstly entered to the waters where many local residents go to drink this water which is meant to take away all pains and give you a clear system also there was a pool to get into which is to take away more aches and pains. I can say though I couldn’t take this water as it was an awful taste but for these residents its like a medicine to them. After the waters we went and had another soup which is all we could have after taking the water and I probably found the funniest toilets which it was just a hole in the ground but the door had windows in so you could pretty much say hello to someone walking past while going to the toilet. Afterwards we took a small bus, a motor taxi and a car to get to the spa which had special pool water which took away pains and joints and it was very warm. I ended up meeting some people who spoke English and they believed I would have the same skin colour as them at the end of the pool session. It did make me feel better but I have pretty much burned my entire back doing so. We went and grabbed some lunch and then begun our journey home. We took a coach to get to Juliaca and then another motor taxi to the bus station and which it wasn’t the most pleasant stay I must say as soon as I left the motor taxi my head started to feel faint then there was this shoe shinning kid who wouldn’t leave us alone even though we said no. I guess me been a tourist didn’t help but it was annoying. Then we received a blackout of the bus station which made me more self away of the surroundings and then we had a violent rain and thunderstorm. Thankfully we were ready to board the coach and set off to Moquegua which isn’t far from Ilo but it was probably the worst coach journey I’ve ever been on which before I got onto my coach I was very hot to the point I could have been a radiator. Ive never felt so hot in my life and it didn’t help throughout the coach was getting warmer, my armrest you could have boiled an egg on it but I guess it was mainly cause I got all my skin burned my skin was so red, and my girlfriend falling asleep like a baby as always . I also found some ignorant people on this coach not only blocking the way to the toilet but not even allowing people past to get off. Thankfully we finally arrived to Moquegua and we got a car to Ilo, Peru which it felt so great to get off that coach and so much cooler. We finally arrived to Ilo and was so thankful but it was a great adventure.

Back to reality

Day 10

After about a 14 Hour Journey we arrived back in Ilo about 5 am and I may say I certainly needed a bed after not the most pleasant journey. Saturday became another relaxing day after an awesome adventure exploring Cusco and highland towns. On the evening we decided to go nightclubbing again and It wasn’t the most pleasant night we did enjoy ourselves but it was a bit uncomfortable having 4 guys in front of our table looking to us all the time,  but I also  believe after our long journey it may have been advisable to have a night in. We were made to feel a bit uncomfortable probably like the old reason of me been a gringo. Also the day for me was full of pain as I fully burnt my back in the sun

Day 11

The Sunday became anther relaxing day but we did feel better for it afterwards. For lunch we did have some chicken de horno. For the evening we decided to take a walk to the park which we ended up listening to a street comedian who was very good and as you can guess I did get taken the mickey. Which we did enjoy the evening together.

Day 12

On day 12 became a fun relaxing day I went back to the arcade to play some video games on the afternoon apart from this time Peru beat England playing football and It was amazingly warm in ilo almost became unbearable. On the evening we decided to go for a relaxing meal eating some barbecue of chicken  Monday became a nice day just so warm was the issue.

Day 13

In the early morning on the Tuesday we decided to take the dogs to the beach and have a relaxing time there however even though it was in the morning it was so very warm and it felt like it was going to get hotter. Our plans for the day changed as we needed to travel to Tacna although when we finally arrived the heat was even more unbearable for lunch we went to a fish restaurant to eat some fried fish, we travelled back on the evening in probably the most comfortable coach journey I have had since been in Peru with some nice leather laid back chairs. Finally arriving back in Ilo we were very tired from the day and must say we needed our beds.

Day 14

The final day in ilo was quite a busy but relaxing day, firstly we went and did some shopping and bought some fish to have ceviche for lunch, which I almost forgotten how good it truly is. We also gave the dogs a shower which was fun but the sun was truly burning at this point of the day. On the afternoon we decided to do some more shopping and spend some time at the beach on the evening which it feel like the last time I was here. Looking into the sky and hearing the waves crash it was beautiful. I also at this time gave my girlfriend a commitment ring which I felt was the perfect moment. We then took a stroll down the street still enjoying the night, which we finally ended up eating some roast chicken and was a perfect end to an amazing day.

Day 15

Returning to Tacna for my final day in Peru, which beforehand I said goodbye to Cristina (Gabi’s mum) which felt quite emotional as I feel I have become a closer member of the family. We set of too Tacna and first thing I noticed Is how much warmer it is here than any other place ive been in Peru it was like hitting a wall. We firstly went to the market in Tacna to have a burger and a juice and I must say its annoying as people come to try and sell you things while you are eating, it did feel quite uncomfortable really. We arrived back home and not long we went back out. Gabriela had to pass by her new Job at Sunat (Peru customs) which is very heavily guarded and then we went to do some shopping. We went for lunch to eat some chicken which in English I joked it sounded like horny chicken. In the late afternoon we went to the cinema to watch the new Gods of Egypt movie and later we returned to our posh romantic restaurant which we had better food a romantic snack which was alpaca cow and chicken with fried and boiled potatoes and wine than we had last time. The only issue was it was busier than last time but we still enjoyed the evening and was a perfect end to the day.

Day 16-17

The Friday began my return journey back to UK and I must say I wasn’t looking forward to it. Not only was the length of the trip but I was also saying goodbye again to my girlfriend. I felt this trip has made us closer and have a had much better time on this trip. I arrived to Tacna airport which every minute closer to boarding seemed inevitable to be leaving which did not feel good. I had my last moments with Gabriela which were very emotional.

After my flight from Tacna to Lima I had to wait 8 hours for my next flight which felt like an eternity and knowing I was on my way home I just wanted to get going. My flight from Lima to Madrid had finally arrived however cause the flight had over soled it delayed the flight as they were looking for volunteers. Which also caused me to miss my next flight. However Iberia did put me on the next flight from Madrid to London. Both flights weren’t a problem however my screen refused to work nearly 4 hours into a 12 hour flight which just made me sleep throughout the flight on the Lima-Madrid flight. Due to the delay it meant that I missed my National Express connection from London Heathrow to London Victoria bus station which made me having to get on the London tube to Victoria. It wasn’t a problem just more hassle really. I finally arrived to Victoria bus station to get a megabus to Leeds. Which also took more time than originally planned. I arrived to Leeds and got my taxi and finally arrived home which I was thankful for and surely needed the sleep.

I certainly enjoyed this trip to Peru I feel I have explored more and seen more wonders that Peru has to offer from the sights to the food it was one amazing time and spending it with someone who means the world to me was even better. I also like to thank Gabriela and her family for their hospitality and look forward to returning.

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Hey guys

How are you all I recently took another trip to Peru and I have done a diary of how the trip went hope you enjoy reading how my latest trip out there went.

Day 1

Well on my travels to Peru on the 1st day and I can’t say the journey was exactly smooth. My journeys which involved one taxi, one train, 2 buses and three flights. Each journey was either late on arrival or had bad turbulence so wasn’t the most pleasant.

Day 2

On the Friday I finally arrived to Tacna, Peru after about a 36 hour Journey. The first thing I noticed was how warm it truly is here although Peru is now in the summer season. I was greeted at the airport by my girlfriend, which was another great memory I won’t ever forget. Going through the streets in a taxi I was quite familiar with the streets with the rough and safe areas and reminder of dogs just walking through the streets casually as well as myself again being treated like a tourist or as they say here Gringo . Even though I was exhausted from the journey we did decide to go out for rest of the day we had a walk through the streets in which we finally ended up at the cinema which we tried one cinema before however no films had no English in them and 2nd cinema had the same but we decided to catch the movie “El Niño”. When we came back to the flat of my girlfriend we had some “pollo a la brasa” which is kind of broast chicken with a particular flavour and fried potatoes and before starting to eat there was a small earthquake which surprised me a lot being my first day in Tacna. It was a very pleasant day and a great welcome back to Peru.

Day 3

On day 3 we decided to travel to Ilo, Peru which is where the majority of the time I would be staying on this trip. We stopped half way before getting to Ilo to visit the land and farms of my parents girlfriend. Which was a vast piece of land and beautiful scenery around which we ended up picking some fruits to take back like apples, lemons, figs, avocados and olives . We then went to eat on the beach with some very tasty fried fish and potatoes . As my girlfriend mum wanted me to practice my Spanish she made me ask to the waiter for some Cold Inca Kola and I got nervous with my pronunciation so everybody laughed of my crappy Spanish, we were still waiting for the food and they told us to wait 20 minutes more so my girlfriend told me to run to the sea and have some fun  so we ran to the sea leaving our shoes in the restaurant and the sand was so hot that we burned our  feet that made us ran like mad to the water, she got me inside the sea and we got all wet and came back to the restaurant to have our fried fish . Coming back to Ilo from Los Palos – Tacna  we decided to stop before to take in the scenery of the beach and it was beautiful especially after running up a hill covered in sand. As well we decided to see how some owners of goats and sheep order them up over the mountain and it was an awesome sight to see. We got to Ilo and that night we decided to go valentines’ clubbing in the “Tusan“ that is in front of the  beach. Which was a great night and a great way to end the day.

Day 4

Day 4 became more of a relaxing day and I must say I think we needed it. We first decided to go to get a juice at the market which the taste was very familiar. We decided at the end of the day to go running near the beach as well as go back to the small outside gym near the beach.

Day 5

On the Monday we firstly went to eat breakfast and eat some pies and have some more juice for Breakfast which was allot stronger than the previous day which contained eggs, milk, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, spinach, mango, carrots, beer and honey. We then decided to go near the port which we ended up seeing allot of sea lions and we went to buy some fish at the fish mongers however there weren’t any for what we wanted. So we decided to go buy some chicken in which the market was pretty much blocked off due to stall holders were having a meeting which we were later told that its cause the government are looking to close some of the market. On the evening we decided to go for a nice meal however first restaurant was completely full so we decided to go another which we took in some nice roasted chicken.  We then decided to have a walk through the park and ended another lovely day in such hot weather.

Adventure time

Day 6

On the Tuesday became a very busy day at first we had some jobs to do and I managed to go to the internet café and enjoy a nice jug of mango which was very refreshing and for lunch we had some nice fish. We also went to book our trip to Cusco as we were travelling that very evening. From 8:00 our journey began well pretty much 9:00 which the bus didn’t arrive until then. Firstly we got of at Puno. Which we were informed by a taxi driver that there wasn’t much around and we should have stayed on the coach that its journey was till Juliaca however my girlfriend left her handbag on the coach which thankfully she realised it within a couple of minutes so it became a mad dash for the coach to stop and take us back on which it felt like being in a movie. We finally stopped the coach and the mother of my girlfriend told to the driver that we only left to bus for going to the toilet and they let us come back to our seats thankfully the handbag of my girlfriend was there and we continued our journey till Juliaca.

Day 7

Our journey continues as we set of on another coach and we got of at Tipon. As one of the passengers advised us to get of there and taste the waters there. We got a taxi to and we went inside and started to taste the water. This water is to help clear your system and take away all the nasty stuff inside and comes from the mountains. I must say it wasn’t the most pleasant water I’ve ever tasted and it did make me be sick while drinking it, but that was to be expected. After drinking the water and taking in the beautiful sights around we went back to the entrance to wash ourselves with the water it did feel however we trespassed however the owner did say it was allowed. We continued on with our journey as some small dogs followed us down the hill to take in some more beautiful sights. A car finally passed us and took us to eat some soup which I was told that you can only have a soup after drinking this water. It was a fulfilling soup although right at the end I did find some hair in mine in which I wasn’t very pleased about. Thankfully the driver who drove us here also offered to wait for us and take us to Cusco. We finally arrived to Cusco and booked into a cheap hotel. It wasn’t the most pleasant and it felt my pillow was sleeping on a brick but I guess it was ok for the price of three of us. We then decided to go out around Cusco firstly we went to buy some tickets for perhaps going to Machu Picchu however the train tickets for Peruvians had sold out plus it was annoying to know that there was a train for tourists and another for Peruvians so that meant that we couldn’t go together in the train. We then went onto visiting to the Qorikancha which was amazing to see, and was informed that at one time it was the centre of the earth, the guide offered us a nice tour to the Sacred Valley which we would take the next day We also went into a beautiful church in Cusco next to the Qorikancha which had some amazing artwork. We continued on down the streets and took in some nice sights of Cusco which was very pleasant to see and had a relaxing time at the centre square. We took in some food on the evening which we eat Lomo Saltado which is slices of meat, onions, tomatoes, fried potatoes and rice and I ate some grilled chicken and finally ending back at the hotel which I believe we truly needed it.

Day 8

For Day 8 we were going on a day tour to the Sacred Valley – Cusco, local towns and the highlands. We almost missed the tour as we couldn’t find the tour guide who was meeting up with us but thankfully we did meet up in the end. We got onto the bus and as the tour guide wasn’t informed I got my first journey all spoke to in Spanish thankfully my girlfriend was telling me what the guide was saying as he made many jokes and the people in the bus were laughing. But we did mention after our first stop and of course he apologize to me and I could see he was a gentle man. Our first stop we stop of at a market which was pretty cool and got chance to take pictures with the locals and Llamas. The tour guide informed us that many of the local people buy bulls that go on top of the house but the only ones that can buy these bulls can only be women cause if the man of the house buys them that means that his wife will cheat at him which the tour guide jokingly said that they may go with any tourist. He also jokingly said about Sacsayhuaman which is a citadel where is celebrated the Inti Raymi which is a celebration for the sun, the main event for the inca culture and he said that its name may sound like sexy woman as many tourists confuse the name of this inca citadel. Throughout the tour we stopped at many sights and it looked beautiful one of the best sights was seeing the carvings in a cliff of a Condor and also to be able to see a sculpture of the Enchanted Ñusta which the legend tells that a beautiful woman called Inquil Chumpi, in those times the Amautas, the wise ones, consulted the oracles to know what their destiny was. During one of the consultations, the oracles predicted that men would come from many places to ask for the hand of the princess but that only he who could build in a single night a great bridge to connect the town of Pisac with the mountain would be successful so years later the prediction came to pass. Young men started arriving from all over. The first to ask for the hand of the princess where from the area near the city of Cuzco. When they were informed of the superhuman conditions they had to meet in order to marry her. Then the Qollas came, the Chinchas, and people from all the different regions to ask for the hand of Inquil Chumpi. But just like those of Cuzco, one by one they returned to their homes because of the impossibility of the task placed before them. Time passed and then a new young man came to seek her hand from the region of Antisuyo, down river from Pisac. He was the son of the Chief of the Huallas. He came to Pisac with a cage of precious stones in which lived a strange bird. The legend narrates that the bird had mysterious abilities and a profound knowledge of nature’s great secrets. These worthy present was destined to the princess as a symbol of his love. This young man was called Asto Rimac and he was ready to fulfill the orders of the oracle. But he also had a petition for the princess that on awakening from the night in which he would build the bridge, the princess would climb up the mountain, leaving coca leaves to show her path. She should not turn around even once until she reached the top, if she accepted his petition. Asto Rimac gave his gift to the princess and the celebrations began. Corn chicha was the ever present drink. When night fell people began to hear the sound of stones falling from the mountains and coming out of the river. With them the bridge was built. Fulfilling her promise, at dawn the princess began her ascent of the mountain. She left leaves of coca to mark her steps. Her curiosity was so intense, however, that she could not help but turning to look. Because of that she turned into stone and stands forever on the mountain’s slope.

Our tour allowed us to have a buffet meal which was tasted amazing and we surely needed it being in this weather. We went onto probably one of the best sights I’ve ever seen in my life which was the ruins of the Sacred Valley it was a very busy sight and was quiet worrying going up as one slip and you had it. We went all the way round on this tour of this place getting informed such as how the residents pulled stones up the hill stones of 17 to 30 tonnes, which was interesting to listen the 3 theories the guide told us besides that he sais that it took from 50 to 100 years to build Machu Picchu and all these platforms we were walking through.  One of the most surprising anecdotes we were informed about was how to say God in Quechua which I can’t even remember as its about 20 words. He also told us about the story of 2 faces in the mountain which myths say they will rise again, one was the nose of the Inca that it shines with the sun only when its time to celebrate the Inti Raymi and theres another old face with a  crown which shines too but only of the day to celebrate that summer will  start. It was one of the best memories of the tour and trip and was one fantastic view. I was worried however for Gabi falling. We went on then to our final place which was in the town of Chinchero  by this time the atmosphere really did hit me but it was another fantastic view and we got shown around a beautiful church and told us the story of the paintings. We continued down the road and we got taking in by residents who explained to us about how they make wool from  we also got given some nice tea which did make me feel better. The tour guide also gave a funny anecdote after about how the roads were built to stop flooding and not even our own government today can be that smart. Our tour came to an end and we headed back to the centre of Cusco however it took longer than expected as the radiator on the bus started to overheat and had to get an engineer out which did not fill me with much satisfaction but thankfully we got back to Cusco safely. We took a bus to the town of San Pedro where we were stopping for the next day to drink the local water we arrived there around midnight. It must have been the cheapest and worst hotel ive ever stayed in which cost us 30 soles for three of us (100 soles is worth £20) so you can imagine how bad it was but we just wanted a roof over our heads especially as it was raining. Our door was secured by a tiny latch and my bed felt like I was sleeping in a hammock but it was prob more comfy than hotel on the previous night but it didn’t take me to long to fall asleep. It was probably one of the best days of the trip and one amazing tour.

Day 9

Waking up very early for our big day ahead we firstly entered to the waters where many local residents go to drink this water which is meant to take away all pains and give you a clear system also there was a pool to get into which is to take away more aches and pains. I can say though I couldn’t take this water as it was an awful taste but for these residents its like a medicine to them. After the waters we went and had another soup which is all we could have after taking the water and I probably found the funniest toilets which it was just a hole in the ground but the door had windows in so you could pretty much say hello to someone walking past while going to the toilet. Afterwards we took a small bus, a motor taxi and a car to get to the spa which had special pool water which took away pains and joints and it was very warm. I ended up meeting some people who spoke English and they believed I would have the same skin colour as them at the end of the pool session. It did make me feel better but I have pretty much burned my entire back doing so. We went and grabbed some lunch and then begun our journey home. We took a coach to get to Juliaca and then another motor taxi to the bus station and which it wasn’t the most pleasant stay I must say as soon as I left the motor taxi my head started to feel faint then there was this shoe shinning kid who wouldn’t leave us alone even though we said no. I guess me been a tourist didn’t help but it was annoying. Then we received a blackout of the bus station which made me more self away of the surroundings and then we had a violent rain and thunderstorm. Thankfully we were ready to board the coach and set off to Moquegua which isn’t far from Ilo but it was probably the worst coach journey I’ve ever been on which before I got onto my coach I was very hot to the point I could have been a radiator. Ive never felt so hot in my life and it didn’t help throughout the coach was getting warmer, my armrest you could have boiled an egg on it but I guess it was mainly cause I got all my skin burned my skin was so red, and my girlfriend falling asleep like a baby as always . I also found some ignorant people on this coach not only blocking the way to the toilet but not even allowing people past to get off. Thankfully we finally arrived to Moquegua and we got a car to Ilo, Peru which it felt so great to get off that coach and so much cooler. We finally arrived to Ilo and was so thankful but it was a great adventure.

Back to reality

Day 10

After about a 14 Hour Journey we arrived back in Ilo about 5 am and I may say I certainly needed a bed after not the most pleasant journey. Saturday became another relaxing day after an awesome adventure exploring Cusco and highland towns. On the evening we decided to go nightclubbing again and It wasn’t the most pleasant night we did enjoy ourselves but it was a bit uncomfortable having 4 guys in front of our table looking to us all the time,  but I also  believe after our long journey it may have been advisable to have a night in. We were made to feel a bit uncomfortable probably like the old reason of me been a gringo. Also the day for me was full of pain as I fully burnt my back in the sun

Day 11

The Sunday became anther relaxing day but we did feel better for it afterwards. For lunch we did have some chicken de horno. For the evening we decided to take a walk to the park which we ended up listening to a street comedian who was very good and as you can guess I did get taken the mickey. Which we did enjoy the evening together.

Day 12

On day 12 became a fun relaxing day I went back to the arcade to play some video games on the afternoon apart from this time Peru beat England playing football and It was amazingly warm in ilo almost became unbearable. On the evening we decided to go for a relaxing meal eating some barbecue of chicken  Monday became a nice day just so warm was the issue.

Day 13

In the early morning on the Tuesday we decided to take the dogs to the beach and have a relaxing time there however even though it was in the morning it was so very warm and it felt like it was going to get hotter. Our plans for the day changed as we needed to travel to Tacna although when we finally arrived the heat was even more unbearable for lunch we went to a fish restaurant to eat some fried fish, we travelled back on the evening in probably the most comfortable coach journey I have had since been in Peru with some nice leather laid back chairs. Finally arriving back in Ilo we were very tired from the day and must say we needed our beds.

Day 14

The final day in ilo was quite a busy but relaxing day, firstly we went and did some shopping and bought some fish to have ceviche for lunch, which I almost forgotten how good it truly is. We also gave the dogs a shower which was fun but the sun was truly burning at this point of the day. On the afternoon we decided to do some more shopping and spend some time at the beach on the evening which it feel like the last time I was here. Looking into the sky and hearing the waves crash it was beautiful. I also at this time gave my girlfriend a commitment ring which I felt was the perfect moment. We then took a stroll down the street still enjoying the night, which we finally ended up eating some roast chicken and was a perfect end to an amazing day.

Day 15

Returning to Tacna for my final day in Peru, which beforehand I said goodbye to Cristina (Gabi’s mum) which felt quite emotional as I feel I have become a closer member of the family. We set of too Tacna and first thing I noticed Is how much warmer it is here than any other place ive been in Peru it was like hitting a wall. We firstly went to the market in Tacna to have a burger and a juice and I must say its annoying as people come to try and sell you things while you are eating, it did feel quite uncomfortable really. We arrived back home and not long we went back out. Gabriela had to pass by her new Job at Sunat (Peru customs) which is very heavily guarded and then we went to do some shopping. We went for lunch to eat some chicken which in English I joked it sounded like horny chicken. In the late afternoon we went to the cinema to watch the new Gods of Egypt movie and later we returned to our posh romantic restaurant which we had better food a romantic snack which was alpaca cow and chicken with fried and boiled potatoes and wine than we had last time. The only issue was it was busier than last time but we still enjoyed the evening and was a perfect end to the day.

Day 16-17

The Friday began my return journey back to UK and I must say I wasn’t looking forward to it. Not only was the length of the trip but I was also saying goodbye again to my girlfriend. I felt this trip has made us closer and have a had much better time on this trip. I arrived to Tacna airport which every minute closer to boarding seemed inevitable to be leaving which did not feel good. I had my last moments with Gabriela which were very emotional.

After my flight from Tacna to Lima I had to wait 8 hours for my next flight which felt like an eternity and knowing I was on my way home I just wanted to get going. My flight from Lima to Madrid had finally arrived however cause the flight had over soled it delayed the flight as they were looking for volunteers. Which also caused me to miss my next flight. However Iberia did put me on the next flight from Madrid to London. Both flights weren’t a problem however my screen refused to work nearly 4 hours into a 12 hour flight which just made me sleep throughout the flight on the Lima-Madrid flight. Due to the delay it meant that I missed my National Express connection from London Heathrow to London Victoria bus station which made me having to get on the London tube to Victoria. It wasn’t a problem just more hassle really. I finally arrived to Victoria bus station to get a megabus to Leeds. Which also took more time than originally planned. I arrived to Leeds and got my taxi and finally arrived home which I was thankful for and surely needed the sleep.

I certainly enjoyed this trip to Peru I feel I have explored more and seen more wonders that Peru has to offer from the sights to the food it was one amazing time and spending it with someone who means the world to me was even better. I also like to thank Gabriela and her family for their hospitality and look forward to returning.

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IMG_4902ISlip streetPeckwater council flats, Islip Street, Kentish Town North London. This is the playing area outside of the flats where I was born.


The photographic records shown in this chapter were taken in July 2014 during a ten-day period when I returned to the United Kingdom. They document the world in which I grew up, played and worked. Although some of these areas have been gentrified over the years, there are locations that remain the same. Old hand painted street signs can still be seen if you know where to look. The landscape of memory I retrace here maybe seen as a kind of palimpsest and the decaying typographic signs (be it commercial, civic or graffiti) are the substrate of a British working class childhood. They operate not only as signifiers of social space, but also as catalysis’s for memory.

I grew up in London during the late 1960s and early 1970s. I lived in streets that still bore the scars of the Second World War. After more than two decades since the bombing that decimated parts of the city there had been little government investment in working class areas like those in which my childhood unfurled. In more prosperous middle class areas I passed on weekend excursions I saw the effects of re-generation. Damaged structures were razed, buildings repaired and systems put in place that turned the anguish of loss into leafy roads and comfortable reminders of urban regeneration. Class was marked by the postcode where you lived and by the buildings that surrounded you.

IMG_4895Many of the street signs dating back to the mid to late fifties were hand painted and have not stood the eroded forces of weather and environment. Today, they function almost as typographical ghosts, bearing the semblance of a remembered state, now grown pale and incomplete with the passing of time. Peckwater Street is the street where I was born in 1961.

 

In my world there were derelict places unsuitable for living, where we played. They were bombsites. The buildings eroded as time and adverse weather bore down on them. We were oblivious of the dangers of unexploded bombs and walls that could collapse on us, although stories of such events punctuated our childhoods. We knew we were not supposed to play in these places, but the walls and enclosures were haunted by a thousand possibilities. In the decay and rubble our imaginations ran wild. We played hide and seek and war games in empty corridors and vacant rooms. These buildings were not fenced off or controlled by roaming security guards. There were too many and the costs of repair were low on the government’s priorities. Small, official signs warning “Danger! Keep Out” became our invitations to adventure. We broke the law by entering, but there was adventure here that played out in the presence of neglect, imagination and loss.

 

IMG_4847The walk way next to the Grand Union Canal Camden road.

Regeneration
Gradually, in some working class neighbourhoods London was being regenerated. These were the first signs of the high-rise tenement blocks developed under the Wilson government. They were towering concrete boxes and a new, state solution for ‘modern living’. Devoid of mystery they held only the present, they had no histories, no hauntings of the past and they were destined to become a failed social experiment. When I think back, I realise that we were lucky that the part of London where we lived bordered the wealthy area of Highgate. Because of this, where I lived was not submitted to the high-rise concrete towers that infected the views of other suburbs.

These decades were tough on working class families. My father was abusive and my elder siblings left home. My brother lived on the streets and my sister fled into marriage. When I was seven, my mother could take no more, so she grabbed what she could carry and she and I went to live at my aunt’s. We had nowhere else to go. My aunt’s house was small so we all slept in one room on the floor. We lived like this for eighteen months until my mother finally managed to secure a council flat of her own. We lived on the ground floor of a five-story block with a shared, central playing area in Prince of Wales Road.

The Nature of Labour
When I left school, my first job was as a labourer working on a building site in Camden Road, North London. Here I renovated Georgian and Victorian houses that had either been partly damaged by the war or invaded by nature after years of vacancy. These were not the concrete monoliths of British modernism. They held the residue of past lives. The peeling wallpaper, discarded artefacts and fragments of personality were reminders of something ephemeral. Their decaying delicacy was pitched against the brutality of work.

IMG_4932(kentish town rd)The abandoned shops of Kentish Town. Examples of palimpsteic typography can been seen on the eroded facias of buildings. These combined with more recent political typographic commentary operate as a kind of contested social dialogue.

On the building sites in the UK at this time, there was a hierarchy and labourers were at the lowest level. As a bricklayer’s labourer I mixed sand and cement with a hopper but more often this was done by hand with a shovel. I carried the bricks in a hod  up four flights of stairs (there were no lifts, hard hats or health and safety procedures at this time). Lugging buckets of muck seemed endless. When it showered I kept working, despite the lime in the cement working its way to the surface and burning my hands. There was nothing that you could do, plasters or gloves didn’t protect you. You just hoped for a strong downpour that might stop the bricklayers working so you would have a small break to wash the lime from the open wounds. In winter you mixed sand and cement in the snow, sleet, and freezing winds. This was not the glorious image of a rebuild profiled on the media. There was nothing heroic about labour. I had left school with few qualifications so for a working class kid there were few alternative careers opportunities. I thought this was my lot. Growing up and playing in vacated buildings and later working in them, has resulted in me being drawn back to unoccupied sites of damage and labour. Such places haunt me because they fuse my narratives of experience with a sense of enigma, respect and mystery. When I enter such structures today, I sense lives that were once there. I walk in silence through emptied spaces not wishing to disturb them. The poetics of loss and labour are almost tangible. These are embodied sites. As a designer I try to talk about such connections.

IMG_4970 Alma streetA distinctive example of a hand painted street sign from North London. The sign has been re painted at some point as the original wording can be seen beneath a layer of undercoat that has peeled away. Such signs are palimpsestic, because they carry references to periods of time, including in this case two separate interventions in red; one indicating the borough, and an earlier one showing the district code. This lettering reveals the effects of photo fugitive colour. I would suggest that the original sign contained the Borough of St Pancras as a blank. To this the street and district code would have been added in hand, by a sign writer. Over time the lettering of the street name faded and was reapplied. However the district code (NW5) has not been re painted. This accounts for the differing levels of typographic decay on the sign. It is likely that the lettering on the Borough of St Pancras has not decayed because the original red pigment was of a higher quality and less prone to photo fugitively.

 

Typographer
When I was nineteen I had a chance meeting with my art teacher from high school and I told her what I was doing as a job. She was disappointed to hear that I hadn’t pursued a career in the arts and told me that I should apply to university and study graphic design. This was a totally alien concept, as working classes of the time did not enter into careers such as these, and they certainly didn’t pursue higher education. Boys like me were destined to have manual careers and trades. She helped me to assemble a portfolio and apply for a place at the London College of Printing. I was accepted onto the graphic and typographic design course. I was the first person in my family to go to university. I was ecstatic, and my mother was very proud.

When I entered the course I encountered the world of typography.  I learned the conventions of leading,  kerning  and letterform construction. I was taught that type should be about arrangement in order to make the language it forms appealing yet transparent.  But I also began to wonder about the visceral and poetic potentials of type. Perhaps this is because my induction into graphic design occurred in the early eighties when everything was hand produced.

This afforded a slower way of working. Calculating and casting-off  type and hand producing the lettering onto finished designs made me appreciate type structure and arrangement. I learned about the physical ‘feel’ of type. I manipulated it by hand. I felt its weight and its behaviour when printed onto paper from pieces of metal type arranged in a chase.  This physicality unfolded in a studio space of labour where men and women worked together. This dynamic has been formative in how I understand typography. Its physical nature reminds me of it temporality but also of its lived social and physical contexts. The surfaces it appears on, and disappears from, the people it speaks to, and for, and its potential for clarity and enigma are as much part of its meaning as its conventions of construction.

 

 

 


Posted by & filed under #mosomelt.

Patea 3_02152.jpg

Exhibition of Works (moving image) 4 April — 11th April 2016

Typographical poetics: A contemplation on memory and loss at the Patea Cool Stores and Freezing Works

Gallery 2, St Paul Street, Auckland, New Zealand. 4 April — 11th April 2016

 

Abstract

The telling of stories can be a profound form of scholarship, moving serious study close to the frontiers of art. (Featherstone, 1989, p.377)

 

This practice-led research project is concerned with typographical poetics and the eroding forces of time, materiality and the elements. Using the abandoned Patea Freezing Works in Taranaki as a site of consideration, it explores how an interface between what is written, what is thought, and what is lost, might operate as a form of typographic film poetry. In so doing, the thesis creatively explores the poetics of palimpsest. Through layers of time, recollection, photography, film, sound and typographical thought, it asks “What is the potential of spatio-temporal typography to speak for the evocative nature of vacated sites of labour?” Developed through a series of short, typographical poems, the project is concerned with subjective response. It questions the potentials of typography as a nuanced and temporal voice that might be employed to speak for the poetics of loss.


Posted by & filed under #23rdthings, Language, research skills.

23rdthing 01In Week 1 of 23 research data things, we

  1. Read an Introduction to Research Data from Boston University.

Where I am, on the threshold of entering my next project of study, I was impressed by the need to record, somehow, the everyday items that constitute the practicalities of the project: how data are “necessary to evaluate research results, and to reconstruct the events and processes leading to them”.

There is an overlap here with what I think I’d like to study in the project, which is simply “Where do ideas come from?” It’d be nice to be able to look back over the developing project, and track the origins of the ideas which are finally part of the story.

A quick look at the CSIRO data access just made me feel sad about government cuts. The Hungry Microbiome is a good example of understandable metadata around a video, especially with transcript.

Macquarie links

Tracking your research

Data management plan – Create a data plan

 


Tagged: #23rdthings

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Ko Whakapapa Au
 [One layer placed upon another]: The multicultural aspects of indigenes designs forms of practice lead research

The purpose of the research cluster is to investigate the potential form of the sublime to the liminal. Concerned with the potential to capture the human condition, whether as monologs, storytelling, realism maravilhoso (a distinctive form of Latin American magical realism), palimpsest, photographic montage or as political commentaries on urban decay and social injustice, it asks what is the potential to experiment between mediums to discuss ideas around culture, urban space, identity, landscape, the real, the magic, the past, and / or politics. One of the essential parts of this research is folding back into our undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.

Team Members
David Sinfield
Marcus Steagall
Tatiana Tavares
T
alita Tolatau