So our last critique (i.e. ‘a crit’): This is going to be a LONG one, so people who are not Fernanda (or in the class) might as well skip it
Foz optimistically says in the morning as I run in 3 minutes late, guilt showing all over my face, that we ought to finish today’s crit by 2:30 at the latest…(of course it never happened, in fact it went on longer than usual for reasons I shall later embellish on).
Being even slightly late made me feel a bit sick in my stomach, but that could also be because I ran up two very long flights of stairs trying to neutralise my lateness. I’m always expecting him to shriek at me [when I imagine I’m late] so I got there exhausted and breathless to our studio just in the nick of time [so I thought at least, I don’t know if Foz did, I’m still kind-of worried]
Last year what was an immaculate studio with white walls and clear desks has been transformed by the hard work of Ed, Martyn and Onnalin to an absolute tip. I must add that all credit should go to Ed who seems to amass all kinds of rubbish from places I can only imagine.
Junk heap furniture to xeroxes piled high over three very large desks and some 300 odd paint tins or so, like an octopus Ed’s stuff has slowly seeped over the entire studio, scaring away any rivals for territory.
He also drips paint on the walls.
Our class is very indulgent of messiness, mostly because the previous year complained about us ‘dirtying’ their nice ‘clean’ space [what a bunch of thumbs up their….well never mind]. Anyway, we have had complaints both from the last year and this current year, but we revel in our bad reputation [or at least I do] but Ed still had to shift some of his stuff [never fear, I’m sure it will seep out again shortly].
Athier’s Minor Bollocking:
“So”, Foz said cheerfully, “We’ll be done by 2:30 and then we can have our seminar.”
“Uhm Foz could I have my crit like second? Cause I like have to go to Leeds at 12-12:30 or so”
Athier requested backslash demanded.
“Ooooookkaaay…sure…” replies Foz, “But why do you have to go to Leeds today?”
“Uhm, like uhm I just have to go” shrugs Athier.
Foz agrees, (which lulls his victim into a false sense of security),
“But its not like Leeds is Mexico or Brazil, so why do you have to leave at 12? You could leave at 7 and still reach there in an hour”
Foz argues, very reasonably.
“Uhm like …uhm well I just have to go”
he said vaguely, which really meant,
“I’d rather just be a fucking parasite, milk the class for feedback and then leave without having to listen to their crits thus saving myself SO much time and energy.”
“Ok.” says Foz, with some finality.
“But I’d just like to say, honestly, I think that’s shit, but anyway lets just do your crit”
Athier looks somewhat sheepish and smiles weakly.
Side note: Now that I think about it, this irritates me hugely. Does this guy think that no one besides him has things to do? That we all love sitting for hours and hours in a crit?
Without fail, he WILL leave the moment HIS turn is up. There has rarely been a crit where the guy has stayed to the end and it really REALLY pisses me off. I would prefer it if he didn’t show up at all, rather than leech us for feedback and give ZERO in return, not even having the decency to stay and fucking listen.
Fucking jackass, thats it! I’m boycotting ever commenting on Athier’s stuff from this point on. I forgot to do it last week but hopefully in a month I’ll still remember what a blood sucker he is and refuse to participate.
Lisa’s Medium Bollocking:
Foz has this strange british trait of drinking during lunch.
So we all went off the the Princess Louise in a little troupe. I tried to drink a whiskey and coke but it just doesn’t feel right before 4 o clock.
Someone then suggested we buy a couple of packs of beer and drink during the crit. So thats what we did [but mostly the boys/men and Foz really did the drinking].
Then came Lisa, who started her crit with..
“Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have come after Onnalin cause my work is really shit”,
which wasn’t the best of opening lines.
She then had his long, rambling disclaimer, generally moaning and being wishy washy about her subject matter (superstition/feet first),
“What to do I don’t know what to do uhm I’m so stuck its so confusing tell me what to do blah blah blah..”
Foz finally snapped (it must have been the beer) and said
“Just show us your work.”
Lisa: “No no I really want to explain what I’m doing to you guys.”
Foz: “Lisa, one of the worst things about your work, is your gob”
Lisa: “What do you mean?” she asks, confused.
Foz: “I mean the moment you open your mouth you sabotage your work. The minute you attack it yourself you leave yourself wide open
Onnalin pipes in and says
“Yeeeaah Lisa, you know, I mean your work is really good you have really bad self confidence”
“I think sometimes you purposely play on the sympathy card so you criticize your own work” adds Foz somewhat harshly.
Georgina: “Just do one small project at a time, for a week and don’t bother to think about where it’s going. I used to get really stuck with my project before.”
Foz: “Excellent! Georgina is my new assistant now”
“But you guys are not telling me what to do, I mean I’m really confused…” moans Lisa.
Me: “But Lisa how can we make decisions for you? I mean how can you expect the class to lead your practice?”
Lisa: “But like, I explained everything and you guys didn’t get it so it can’t be like good..” she whines
Anyway to cut through the crap, we basically made her cry after about 15 minutes of this.
Like piranhas we then moved on to attack Alex, the next weak link.
Alex’s MAJOR Bollocking
He had seemingly done no work the entire term, and showed us a couple of illustrator files of a tracing of chick from a porn mag on his laptop He’s doing something about hookers, no point in particular. I have no idea what he’s trying to say etc, he seems to have no opinion blah blah
So I say all of this shit. Then Foz says,
“Alex, I have to be honest and just say that if you continue like this you’re going to fail.”
Leaving that bombshell to linger slightly he goes on to say:
“I think the level of investigation in your work is BA level. After you left at the one day project without even finishing it, that just crossed a line for me. I wasn’t planning on saying anything about your work because I wanted to reflect the level of commitment you have on the course. If you have some problem tell me, if you want to quit I can write you a leaving letter. Why pay so many thousands of pounds? You might as well not bother doing the course”
Alex got defensive and angry, on one hand he kept bullshitting about how long his stuff took him, why he didn’t want to investigate further into the concept of prostitution (corporate whores, prostituting your integrity or just sex for money or just women who have a lot of sex for free & so on).
“Stop fucking bullshitting Alex. Say you didn’t do the work but don’t bullshit me” yells Foz
Alex: “I’m not bullshitting! But if you say I’m going to fail then like at least give me some pointers, tell me what you want me to do…”
Foz: “Its not even about critiquing your work anymore, its about your level of commitment to the course”
Alex: “Like I am committed these took 5 hours to do and I guess it doesn’t look it but it took time and saying my work is shit so what do you want me to do like if it’s shit ok fine thats your opinion.”
Me: “Honestly Alex, five hours or 10 hours a week is just not enough…”
Foz: “…I never said it was shit, my exact words were ‘I find the level of inquiry in your work to be BA level’, if its about challenging the aesthetic then fine we can do that but its about your commitment to actually doing the work.”
I’m pretty sure at some point Foz was pinching the top of his nose with two fingers purely out of frustration and also probably to keep his rage contained.
Martyn: “If you plan on not changing your work or not even listening to suggestions why are you even doing an MA?”
Onnalin: “Alex we’re not attacking you, we just trying to help you. If your not working and theres a problem just tell us. We do want to help you”
Foz: “…everyone has commitments, everyone has a life thats not the point.”
Oh man, it went on and on.. the worst thing was Alex arguing with everything and then contradicting himself. At some point he said he saw other peoples work and didn’t think they had progressed, so he didn’t understand why we were attacking him.
Chris gets the last of it all
After this it was a downward spiral for anyone who dared annoy Foz. The beer+Lisa+Alex had triggered off all his ‘irritation’ buttons and unfortunately Chris ignored all the warning signs. He showed up after lunch [he wasn’t there all morning] and had stuff on photocopy paper and began with
“I’m in this relationship where all we do is get wasted a lot so thats what my work is about…”
Which at that point its like waving a red flag to a bull.
Foz: “Other people might polite enough to point out things they like but personally I think its shit. If you’re bored of your old subject, its fine to change it and I’m all for having a good time on the course but don’t fucking get wasted in my class.”
It is my personal opinion that all the melodrama was extremely interesting and enjoyable and deserved this extended post (I think Martyn enjoyed it as well, Georgina and Onnalin felt guilty).
Apologies to anyone who read it and wasn’t in my class or was one of the bollocked people.
(I also think Athier deserved a bigger bollocking)