Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

A story I may have told before...

We had our first meeting of the academic year today, and someone mentioned that as part as a project on the local environment and history there will be a load of "artists in residence" working at the school.

Instantly my mind flashed back 14 years or so, to my last encounter with this particular phenomenon.

It happened that at the time we shared a corridor with the art department - their main room was at one end, we had a classroom at the other which was temporarily being used for some of our lessons since we were short on lab space. The corridor outside the classroom was mostly used as an art store (for various reasons it had a work bench and windows running down one side, with cupboards and other storage underneath) with some art materials sitting around. We were pretty busy getting ready for a major reorganization, so I wasn't really paying much attention when the current Artist in Residence started to draw lines on one of the windows. This went on for several weeks, and I gradually realised that the lines were tracings of the outlines of the buildings opposite. I thought that she was going to transfer them to canvas somehow, but instead she painted them onto the window in lines about 5mm wide.

Eventually, a week or so before the Summer holiday, the job was complete. The last touch was a black square on the floor, and a sign that said something like "From this square you can see the outline of the buildings opposite as they are now, and see the changes that occur as they are rebuilt or modified. Compare the bustling world outside with the static world of the school."

So I found the artist and said "Nobody told you, did they?"

"Told me what?"

"Next week they start building our new labs on the flat roof out there. The art department is moving to the new building on the playground, all of this will be ripped out, and there's going to be an internal wall replacing these windows."

For something like six weeks everyone had watched her work on it, including all of the art teachers, and nobody had told her. She was not pleased. I asked the builders if there was any way they could remove the window intact for her, so she could set it up elsewhere, but the metal frame was embedded in concrete - it shattered as soon as they tried.

There's probably a moral here somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is.

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