Glossary investigation – Teeter

Unbalance: Teeter

1867 James Russell Lowell Biglow Papers Series II

      An’ I tell you you’ve gut to larn thet War ain’t one long teeter
      Betwixt I wan’ to an’ ‘Twun’t du

      war
      hell
      dead
      enemy
      failed
      fighting
      god
      lost
      adversity
      apologizing
      appeal
      aspirations
      blood
      bloodshed
      brotherly
      carry
      charm
      crimes
      crueler
      cruelty
      danger
      dangers
      defeated
      dissatisfied
      facts
      forever     
      golden
      grow
      guilty
      hardship
      hate
      hesitate
      hopes
      humiliation
      inheritance     
      killed
      killing     
      kindness
      liberties
      liberty
      lies
      life
      love
      magnitude
      momentous
      nothing
      owned
      perfect
      power
      promise 
      purged
      reform
      sadness
      share
      spies
      strife
      truth
      vainly
      whipping
      wish



Notes: Lowell wrote this long poem in response to or inspired by the American Civil War. In this and other writing he attempted to emulate the true Yankee accent in the dialogue of his characters. See https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/13310/pg13310-images.html – a search for “teeter” in the document will bring you to the passage.

I find it next to impossible to read. What language were others using at that time? Using around twenty quotes about the Civil War, written at that time, I selected key words and ordered them by count of occurrences and then alphabetically to create the accompanying list.

Materials used: Galvanised steel wire, fishing weights, wooden block. Photographic documentation continues to be unsatisfying, so I have made an initial experiment with video. One of the delightful things about this piece is how much it teeters, while still requiring surprising effort to dislodge. The balance point is a vertical wire sharpened to a point, on which sits a horizontal 1.57 mm wire that has been hammered flat and given a pockmark. The fact that it can fail, can fall, seems important and appropriate.


More glossary entries
Structure based on lists

Glossary as a list of words connected with unbalance

  • Oxford English Dictionary used as source of quotations, not definitions
  • Making, motion, and photo documentation in response to quote
  • Text response in a list
  • Process notes
  • Energizing objects investigation – 6

    Potential for play


    Mum let us each invite a neighbourhood friend to the Friday Craft Club. We cast and painted plaster models. We carved soap (Peter-from-next-door rubbed his eyes, causing stinging, causing crying, causing rubbing of eyes…). We made papier-mâché heads for hand puppets, then wrote and presented plays. Even in those days I was keen on projects like the costumes, involving stitching. Potato prints. Flip books. French knitting using wooden thread spools and some crooked nails.

    I keep remembering more. Carving foam with a heated wire. People would move too fast, breaking the wire. Weaving mats with strips of paper (yes, my hand goes up again). Splatter painting with toothbrush on wire mesh, creating soft silhouettes of leaves. All sorts of constructions with paddlepop sticks and pipe cleaners and balsa wood. A bag of clay from the local pottery works became lumpen pigs and doorstop ashtrays. Not that anyone in the house smoked, so that was odd. In any case they all had unpredictable wobbles. Not well balanced.

    Alternate version

    Notes: I decided to limit myself to objects on my worktable. It’s not as visually dynamic as I hoped. The V formation looks balanced. Perhaps the earlier, simpler version is more effective.

    More energizing objects.

  • Balance to create motion
  • A sideways step through memory
  • Process, objects…
  • Caption
  • Glossary investigation: Disequilibrated

    Unbalanced: Disequilibrated

    1891 Jean-Marie Guyau Education and heredity. A study in sociology

        Obviously, then, there is no possible remedy for this common disease called neurasthenia, to which all criminals, poets, visionaries, the insane, hysterical women – in fact, all whose mental equilibrium is disturbed – are subject; races simultaneously descend the scale of life and morality, and there is no ascent. The disequilibrated are for ever lost to humanity; if they do propagate their kind for a longer or shorter period, it is all the worse for them.
    initial quote from dictionary in bold above

        Uprighteous
        Narrow
        Judgmental
        Isolated

        Joyous
        Energetic
        Creative
        Interacting

        Whose humanity is lost?


    Notes: It seems an investigation of unbalance returns repeatedly to “hysterical women”. The quote above is from the preface of a book. https://archive.org/details/educationheredit00jmgurich/page/xxii

    Skim reading shows Guyau was discussing the powers attributed by some to heredity, only to challenge and dismiss them. The actual focus of the book is on the role and types of education and Guyau’s vision of reforming education with proper attention to moral, physical and intellectual development – lifelong education. Long hours of studying to pass an exam and then forget all is rejected. Skipping to the chapter dedicated to education for women, it’s not clear to me if Guyau disagrees with the logical outcome of prevailing principles that “… the disequilibration produced in the woman by intellectual work will therefore necessarily be greater than in the case of the man” (p. 260). He does appear to agree with the assumption of a girl or woman’s primary role as future mother. Given the precise direction of her future is uncertain, given vagaries of husband and family, “it should be clearly understood that we have not to teach her everything, but to fit her to learn everything, by giving her a taste for study and an interest in every subject” (p.270). Skipping ahead we find: “Inspire children, and especially young girls, with a taste for reading, study, works of art, and elevated amusements; this taste will be worth far more than all knowledge, strictly so called, artificially implanted in them; instead of a mind furnished with lifeless knowledge, you will have a mind at once living, moving, and progressive” (p. 274).

    A 1891 NY Times review of the book I found annoying and confusing in tone. https://www.nytimes.com/1891/08/16/archives/new-publications-inheritance-and-training-education-and-heredity-a.html

    A side note – the treatment of Guyau’s mother in various wikipedia references. The Guyau entry highlights the influence of “his stepfather, the noted French philosopher Alfred Fouillée”, while the mother, Augustine Tuillerie, gets a brief mention as author of a book and a link that doesn’t work. Her book gets an entry. There is also a french language entry for Augustine under her pseudonym G.Bruno. I’d like to know more.

    Balancing the mobile was particularly challenging as the upright spikes flipped at the slightest change. Also challenging was photography for this entry. The composite photo is static.

    Individual photos give some idea of the shapes made.



    More glossary entries
    Structure based on lists

    • Glossary as a list of words connected with unbalance
    • Oxford English Dictionary used as source of quotations, not definitions
    • Making, motion, and photo documentation in response to quote
    • Text response in a list
    • Process notes

    Glossary investigation: Pendulum

    Unbalance: Pendulum

    1818 Lord Byron Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

          Man!
          Thou pendulum betwixt a smile and tear

          Mood swings
          Erratic
          Unstable
          Hysterical
          Unreliable
          Unequal
          Unbalanced


    Pendulum still

    Notes: Inspiration for this came from seeing Alexander Calder’s 1936 work Tightrope at the National Gallery of Victoria. My gallery photos didn’t come out well – better to look on the Calder Foundation website www.calder.org/work/by-category/standing-mobile.

    More glossary entries

    Structure based on lists

  • Glossary as a list of words connected with unbalance
  • Oxford English Dictionary used as source of quotations, not definitions
  • Making, motion, and photo documentation in response to quote
  • Text response in a list
  • Process notes
  • Energizing objects investigation – 5

    A towering thirst


    I picked up bar work while travelling. First time was in a roughish part of Edinburgh, the Lady Nairne. Learn on the job in those days, no RSA. Back in Sydney I continued learning:

  • if someone asks for scotch, don’t give them whiskey.
  • if someone asks for ice in beer, double check. They wanted juice.
  • if dad asks for a pony of beer, be glad he dropped by to say hi, not embarrassed by the unmanly glass.
  • Notes: This came together very quickly in the kitchen. Initial focus was the top section, which surprised in coming together reasonably easily and holding well.


    More energizing objects.

  • Balance to create motion
  • A sideways step through memory
  • Process, objects…
  • Caption
  • Glossary investigation: Trepidation

    Unbalance : Oscillation : Trepidation

    1667 John Milton Paradise Lost

          They pass the Planets seven, and pass the fixt,
          And that Crystalline Sphear whose ballance weighs
          The Trepidation talkt, and that first mov’d;

          Moon
          Mercury
          Venus
          Sun
          Mars
          Jupiter
          Saturn
          Fixed stars
          Precession of the equinoxes
          Trepidation of the equinoxes
          Obliquity of the eliptical


    Notes: Un-Balance, an infinite series of adjustments, led to Oscillation, a regular periodic fluctuation in value about some mean, nudged a memory of Kepler and the music of spheres, and on to Trepidation, the hypothetical oscillation in the precession of the equinoxes.
    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45739/paradise-lost-book-3-1674-version
    https://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_3/text.shtml
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celestial_spheres
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Kepler
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trepidation_(astronomy)

    The mobile took a literal approach. A central “earth” in wood; two arms, each with a “planet” in metal (both copper one side, aluminium the other) circling the earth, each planet balanced with a metal swirl, a swivel allowing the trepidation circle. Without movement, flat and boring.


    More glossary entries
    Structure based on lists

  • Glossary as a list of words connected with unbalance
  • Oxford English Dictionary used as source of quotations, not definitions
  • Making, motion, and photo documentation in response to quote
  • Text response in a list
  • Process notes
  • Energizing objects investigation – 4

    Step 1


    Step 2


    Step 3


    Step 4

    Once a week mum would cook with one of us. Special one on one time, precious among five children. Hand made receipe pages, line drawings of blue open-fingered hands rubbing yellow butter into flour.

    Scones for afternoon tea.

    Notes: Improvising with objects in the serviced apartment when visiting Melbourne for the opening few days of Alexander Calder:Radical Inventor exhibition.
    Paper cord (made from 2 sheets of A4); books; series of kitchen implements.


    More energizing objects.

  • Balance to create motion
  • A sideways step through memory
  • Process, objects…
  • Caption

  • Calendar of Posts

    May 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Apr    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  

    Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Archives

    Categories