This morning, I was reminded that I'd completely forgotten that I'd offered to do a paper for Matthew Dentith's parody academic conference Twecon (which I suppose I should properly render as #twecon, but won't).
The last few weeks have been completely mental, and I'm exhausted. However, as the subject for the paper was the same as the one I've just given at Massey's so-called Postgraduate Symposium (abstract here), I was able to quickly cobble together an argument in five tweets (despite initial appearances, all the papers are there – just scroll down). I should've included my title – Perspective painting proves nothing exists – as a numbered tweet, but I forgot that stipulation.
As soon as I'd cobbled it together, a couple of people (including the organiser, a PhD candidate in philosophy) immediately objected that my argument takes no account of modern physics. An extremely useful discussion ensued (which I'm going to have to work out how to cite). I think I can accommodate the objections, but we'll see.
The contrast with the discussion after my presentation at Massey's Symposium is marked. I was up first, which might account for the lack of engagement. As I recall, a couple of people asked me to repeat definitions, someone asked if I was going to deal with 'the copy' (even though such dealing was implicit, repeatedly, in the presentation I'd just given), and someone else waffled in a generalised, unanswerable fashion. However, it wasn't just me – the other presentations also met with a similar lack of critical engagement.
My friend remarked on it at the time. Most people brought up some interesting topics in their presentations, but every single time the discussion afterwards ignored those aspects and focused on inanities instead.
(I could go on here how they seem intent on destroying one of the other students in just the same way as they destroyed one of the PGDip students last year – what kind of art school produces people who are no longer capable of producing work!?! – but I can't be bothered. I refer you to my earlier comment re: being wiped out.)
And this is not just my friend's (and my) aberrant opinion. The other students have organised themselves another session later this week to make up for last week's waste of time.
I should note that Massey specifically – and at length – promoted this as the only opportunity during the MFA programme to get critical feedback on your 'research' other than your contact with your supervisors. Seriously, if you're in Wellington and considering doing an MFA, do it extramurally through Melbourne instead.
That's what I should've done.