11 April 2016

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Institutional restructurings, new data points, on the move after nearly a decade in this office. The door’s now-missing name plate, traces of blu-tack and tape and peppering of pin holes evidence my occupancy more than my predecessor’s. When I walk through this door and into my office (but not the other way around, funnily enough) I often think about my MA thesis (which I unwittingly titled after a 1970s erotic film when I thought I was referencing The Cramps) on doorways and Irish raths and cashels. And I think about the transformative, performative force of moving across the threshold from one state of being into another.

On Wednesday, I move up into Clifton, to occupy the new premises of the Department of Film and Television in the Student Union Building. I haven’t seen my new office, but I hear it’s much smaller. I’m intrigued by the design choices that await me, with its Nosferatu friezes and zoetrope motifs. A bit like an Archaeology department being decorated solely with trowels, Harris matrices and hardhats. No Transit vansMaya Deren or Chantal Akerman here.

My office, squeezed into 21 packing crates. The mid-century oak office furniture will be mine to take home, if that other new home takes shape over the coming months. Moving x 2. All change. And now 2 people are moving into this space. The holes for the new data point were drilled this morning before I arrived. The step ladder and plaster dust remain, as does the pasta-filled tupperware that sits on a box in the hall.

Unboxed things will be left behind. Except for those things that I choose to take with me, like the old VHS-TV, which allows me to view broadcasts I’ve recorded over the years of archaeology and history programmes. I used to teach with them when we had an MA in Archaeology for Screen Media. At the time, my students and I focused on the aesthetics and politics of the programmes themselves. Now I’m more fascinated by the flow between programme and advertising and am struck by how quickly TV adverts age. Now we don’t teach archaeology and the media and the politics of institutions and the tyranny of global normative research cultures mean that, where I work, the vision for archaeology has been steadily eroded over the past 10 years. It’s funny, because there’s now talk of hiring a visual anthropologist and it makes me think…um…

However, I’m now firmly in film and television and that’s given me opportunities to do new things, too, like collaborate with Kim Knowles to programme a series of films in response to Joseph Cornell‘s legacy of ‘found footage’ practice – part of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s MashUp exhibition. And now that I’m moving up to the beautifully and brutally modernist Student Union Building I’ll be able to swim in the morning before work. But I’ll be further away than ever from my colleagues in Archaeology & Anthropology and Historical Studies. It’s a little bit sad, really.



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