Archive | January 2013

Masked Robbers

The first thing I do before settling down to work in the Geoffrey Manton building is fill up my bottle with a stream of lovely ice-cold water from the Water at Work machine. This is of course essential for anyone used to Scottish “council juice” rather than the harsh and hard English variety. 😛 Trying to stave off a craving for coffee, imagine my surprise when I was greeted by this:

A mysterious visitor at the water cooler

A mysterious visitor at the water machine

A student, armed with a laptop and a cardboard box full of masks and hats, sat cross-legged on the floor. Cheerfully he asked me whether or not I intended to walk down the nearby glass corridor, which leads toward the canteen, a stairwell, and various doors which have, in the past, confused me. “Ah, sorry, I’m not. I’m going the other way”. Which was a shame, because it meant that I couldn’t take part in his Masked Exposures project/experiment, losing my chance to consider “the perception and performance of altered identities” while embracing anonymity.

An intriguing box of faces

An intriguing box of faces

“So how do you make sure you get the masks back?” I asked, as he very kindly let me crouch down to take some photographs of him and his equipment. Another cheerful smile. “There’s a bucket at the end of the corridor for people to put them in. So far only one of them has gone AWOL.” Ah! Such faith in humanity. I wished him luck and went back to Room 118.

It must have been thirsty work because before heading off to TRAUMA to watch excellent film noir The Fallen Idol (sorry for the gratuitous plug but I do have to mention TRAUMA whenever possible) I returned to the water at work machine yet again, empty bottle in hand. The boy and his masks had disappeared. The sign which he’d enthusiastically stuck up on the door had been crossed out with biro and sadly annotated:

Abandoned due to theft

Abandoned due to theft

I found myself feeling disappointed and a little bit sad on his behalf. On the other hand, I wonder if this is all a semi-intentional part of the experiment? He’s certainly learned something about what people might do when they get the chance to embrace “anonymity”. In fact, his pretense was that anonymity when entering that corridor was “compulsory” – so in some ways it might be said that his participants/subjects were executing a certain predictable (?) act of rebellion through their thievery. Okay, okay, I realise that might be pushing it a bit! I only hope the masks won’t be too difficult for him to replace. He also learned a valuable lesson about University security – who told him that masks or no masks, he didn’t have permission to be there and really would have to clear off 😦

I’ll be interested to see Jake’s footage when the project is eventually completed and I wish him the best of luck.

Two Oh One Three

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since I was last back home in Scotland to celebrate the festive season. 2012 was certainly a very busy and exciting year for me, and 2013 is going to be even busier. Year 2 of my Phd gets properly underway, Jo B. and I have a Symposium to organise, and of course, I am still trying my best to get seasons lined up for TRAUMA (which starts again on Jan 14th). Otherwise, who knows what the New Year will hold? I am probably going to slow down on blog entries here for a while but watch this space and I will try to keep you fairly well posted!

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As well as a lovely few days in Oban with my boyfriend – luckily we managed to see the sights and visit a stunning 13th century castle despite the torrential rain – and lots of good food and relaxation with family, Christmas time meant…presents! Thanks to Jen, Dad, and Mum for my amazing new DSLR-quality camera. I have been frustrated for a while now at not being able to get shots that live up to what I compose in my mind’s eye. The old camera just wasn’t a high enough spec. So, forgive me for showing off a few “artistic” (and other) snaps from the new one! I hope that all the followers of my wee blog got presents that made them equally happy! 🙂