The first language that I chose to introduce myself in was Italian. Italian is an easy language that everyone has heard plenty of times in cinema, TV, and literature so I hoped that people would recognise it. People mistook me for Italian when I started talking, one guy even spoke back to me in Italian (which prompted me to apologise and tell him that i was in fact Aussie)
I went to my grandparents over the weekend, and introduced myself in Japanese to them. They had no idea what was happening. I had to switch up a bit and use a majority body language to ‘talk’ to them to overcome this barrier. This made me realise how much I take English for granted to communicate with the people around me, and how ingrained my interactions with my grandparents were, that I could introduce myself in another language and get by with using the words and my body.
The final language was Mandarin Chinese, which I am studying at uni at the moment. The fact that I am studying it made it easier to communicate as I was more confident in speaking Mandarin. Unlike with Italian, people did not think I was Chinese (surprise)
“The daily papers talk of everything except the daily” (Perec, 1973)
As a budding journalist I initially reacted to this quote in a negative way. Perec seems to suggest that sensationalism in the news is a bad thing, end of story. I would agree if it meant the accuracy of a story is lowered but I don’t think there is anything wrong with reporting stories with “shock value”. If something significant (both good and bad) happened in my town I would want to know about it. I think news outlets have developed the responsibility of keeping people up to date with these kind of events and issues. With all this being said, this assignment has really helped me understand that the day to day activity (that I once thought was mundane) is newsworthy and interesting.
Having breakfast is not an unusual thing, we all have some form of it every day. However taking this daily activity and adding something different unlocked the importance of it and showed me that things of significance can happen in everyday life.
Thoughts during my breakfast activity:
- Taking the time to sit, take in surroundings and actively participate in eating breakfast was a great way to start the day positively
- The majority of people are hesitant to join in (some will give you looks)
- Nature is healthy for you. Fresh air is good
- Simple things can be extraordinary if you think about it
I think this has been an important process for me. There seems to be a constant push for ‘that big story’ in journalism. I still believe that it is very important to keep people informed of what is going on throughout the world, but sometimes it is better to focus on your average, everyday activity and appreciate it for what it is.
Upon the completion of this experiment in activity, I found that the concept of brushing teeth can be quite trivial when questioning just what exactly “normal” constitutes for. As most of us know, we utilise a little plastic brush, manufactured in a factory, downtown, apart of some “dentist-approved” endeavour. However, it is worth noting that upon exploring the different practices as performed by millions around the globe day to day.
I found that brushing can be quite the habitual experience upon each completion of my morning brush. Once done, I would strangely rub my thumb on the bristles under the tap as if using my usual Oral B plastic brush. Additionally, it was noticed that although the twigs seemed sometimes rough, they proved to be quite a strong bristly like tooth brush.
Kaprow’s focus on the everday life as the subject of his art, places an emphasis on life in particular, rather than life in general. He “…wants [people] to experience and reflect upon the significance of commonplace activities without calling attention to them as art.”
In light of this, through the act of brushing my teeth, Kaprow’s idea on the art of the everyday life invites us to relate aesthetic attention to ordinary experiences. The act of brushing may be traditionally referred to as a meaningless activity – similar to that of sweeping a stage for the purpose of art – taking its meaning from everyday life in general, later being accepted as art as “… yet another example of what art can be.”
To sum up what it means for the “everyday” to be art, Sartwell writes, “That is what I mean by the idea of The art of living – the process of becoming absorbed into living, of becoming present in one’s life…”
For my last entry, and last trip before the two-week time frame was up I elected to stand in a moderately busy train heading back from Wollongong. Standing up on a train for an hour or so shouldn’t have really been a problem, (my job consists of me standing for long periods of time) but what I found most annoying was the constant and surprising swinging of the carriage that rocked me from one side to another. I also found that, even with my headphones in and music playing from my phone, the sounds from the train and the people were not silenced completely. Furthermore, standing up on a moderately busy train as I said still got me some strange looks from people, especially since there were open seats all around me.
Thinking differently in this way was by far the least enjoyable. With the benefit on hindsight I felt as though I should have attempted another way of thinking that would have proved more enjoyable to me.
In this entry I wanted to see what the trip would be like without technology like my phone, music or laptop to distract me. Nor would I study or read anything either. I wanted this trip to be about what I saw on the way, rather then being productive or wasting time. What struck me was the differences I saw being unfolded in colour. I have been on that trip for three years running now and I thought I had taken everything in, but this particular trip (being the 7:56 from Sutherland) the sun was well on it’s way to heat so I witnessed what looked like gold flaring rays shining on whatever green I saw. Thinking in this manner, scanning the scenic route with my eyes rather then fixating them to a screen gave me a greater appreciation for thinking differently in other situations and also the wonder that the rising sun can bring.