Diary

Double
7/19/2013 | 0 comments | offline
Tags: reflection

It's hard to believe in under a month my page views have doubled. Sometimes I feel like nobody is listening to me, but clearly someone is.

Four jobs are being advertised in the college I studied at twelve years ago. I'm weighing the pros and cons of moving back there. For a start, I know I could do this job. I have the experience... I don't have the qualifications but I'm hoping the experience will outweigh that. I'll probably be the most experienced candidate (unless more out-of-town people apply, which isn't very likely because it's the kinda place that you move from rather than move to).

I'll also have a place to stay.

I have a handful of worries. Mainly about loneliness. Loneliness may not seem like a big deal but, when you need a support network around you, it makes a big difference. Then there are just practical things like writing a good application form and making a good impression in the interview.

I'm so stressed out writing this application. I hate the whole ordeal of having to pretend that you'll love this job more than life itself. I genuinely feel like a show dog during job applications, making sure I do the right tricks at the right time. Positive attitude, check. Great customer service, check. Sensitivity, check. Good teamplayer, double check. Dealing with complaints, check to infinity.

Some of you will be thinking Suck it up, we all have to do it. We do. But I think it's a sad state of affairs when you apply for a job exactly like one you have done before, and you have to guess the format in which you have to answer questions to show that you are suitable for the role.

This actually happened to me

I had one interview in an office where I was asked to explain what I think is great customer service (have you noticed it can never just be good customer service?) I explained. The feedback from that interview was I should've given an example of great customer service. Yeah, well that wasn't in the question. Weeks later I had another interview in the same office. I got that question again, except they asked to give an example. My feedback was they wanted a step-by-step guide of how I provided that service.

I'm not a fluffer

I do feel like I'm required to fluff things up. That's the term I use because that's what I feel like I'm doing. In one of the same interviews that I mention above I was asked to describe a time when I dealt with an unhappy customer. I explained how I helped a lady, who didn't meet the entry requirements of her course, enrol. I spent an hour going backwards and forwards from teachers to administrators to the customer. I had to take ownership of the problem because nobody else would. It was a difficult situation but we smoothed it out the next day. The interviewers didn't consider this problem-solving. I helped a crying lady, who was on the verge of a panic attack, find out what her options were (all the time, her friend was criticising me for being unfair).

We all think this

I'm preaching to the converted, I know. There's the unspoken rule that this is just the way job interviews have to be. I have spent hours of my life looking through websites that supposedly show me how to do well in interviews. I do everything that is expected of me, with the exception of being able to understand what a question really asks. I cannot find much helpful information on this subject. I'm sure more educated people than me have less problems with this element of the interview.

I'm also sure this is why temping and recruitment agents are so numerous. People who can navigate the maze of hidden meanings have interviews, the downtrodden and disinterested go to the agencies who only care about their finders fee.

I just want to call BS on all this.

Nine
7/18/2013 | 0 comments | offline
Tags: music

IZM
7/15/2013 | 1 comments | offline
Tags: Books

It's International Zine Month. This may mean nothing to you but I love zines. The challenge for today is leave a zine in public for someone else to find. Sadly, I no longer have any perzines around. I lent out my last bunch. But I thought I'd leave one lying around on the internet for you to read (BTW, the link is a PDF)...
CultureSlut#20


CultureSlut#19






Choice
7/14/2013 | 1 comments | offline
Tags: Politics

Choice is a subject that I think about often. I've got a couple of articles swimming around my head on body autonomy, but I don't really want to write them because whenever I start I begin thinking about what kind of abuse I'll get from people on the internet.

I've mentioned visiting the Tate, where I saw 160 cm Line Tattooed on 4 People El Gallo Arte Contemporáneo. Salamanca, Spain. December 2000. I considered writing up my thoughts on the piece but then I realised there is no way to write about exploitation without talking about choice. Damn.

I'll break it down as brief and as inoffensively as I can. I have trouble believing real choice exists. I agree that we make choices within situations not of our choosing. For example, we chose to do a specific job, but we have to work to pay our bills. Smaller choices, like writing a blog or having a snack as we read this are parts of something else... eating is an instinctive behaviour (or whatever you want to call it) and communication may be too (you could argue it's learnt - I think it's a mixture). This brings up all sorts of arguments like I'm not hungry and I just ate, what's that about? You're eating for pleasure, I don't know about you but I was brought up eating whatever I wanted because my parents weren't educated about nutrition. I'm sure that is the reason I want cake multiple times a day. I don't know your story but I believe it's not a choice, I also believe you see it as a choice.

I had mixed feelings about 160 cm Line Tattooed on 4 People El Gallo Arte Contemporáneo. Salamanca, Spain. December 2000. Mainly because when I saw it I was thinking about how much I enjoy art criticism, which then got me thinking about some inspirational words Dr Matt Lodder (volatile) gave me, which then got me thinking about how I wanted to research body modification as a way to reclaim bodies. Modification has always felt empowering to me (although I retired eighteen of the nineteen piercings I've had... not through choice, mind you Wink) and seeing modification used in this manner was uncomfortable.

Four prosititutes addicted to heroin were hired for the price of a shot of heroin to give their consent to be tattooed. Normally they charge 2,000 or 3,000 pesetas, between 15 and 17 dollars, for fellatio, while the price of a shot of heroin is around 12,000 pesetas, about 67 dollars.

No matter how liberal you are I think the idea there is choice here is dubious. I quickly noted down the blurb under this piece because there was so much I wanted to address.

This work relies on the idea of submission, in this case not that of the artist but of the work's subjects: four drug-addicted prostitutes hired for the price of a shot of heroin, in return for consenting to be tattooed.

Sierra's provocative film records the women being tattooed with a permanent line. The work transforms a process of exploitation into a spectacle, its presentation in a gallery implicating the institution in relations of power and economics.

The work falls within a lineage of performance art that is inherently political, exploring ideas of objectification and commodification of the body.

Spectacle

This is one of the first things that horrified me. If this had happened in everyday life, not to be viewed in a gallery or museum, I'd have major issues. I'd think the artist was exploitative and I'd have grave concerns about the integrity of the tattooist. But would I feel this same way about a photograph of a dying or dead person? I do think some injustices need to be seen, because nothing can be gained from ignorance. Where do I draw the line?

Manipulation

In answer to my previous question. The event was staged. Addicted people, which implies some level of desperation or vulnerability, were offered money to have their body modified. I'm not so naive as to think that nobody has been tattooed against their will, but I find coercion perhaps even more unsettling than brute force.

Permanence

The tattoo is permanent. Does that make the exploitation worse? Surely all exploitation is exploitation? As a politically active person I often get asked People in third world countries have dictators, what do you have to be angry about? An injustice is an injustice, if you were punched in the face how would you feel if someone suggested being punched in the face wasn't as bad as being punch and kicked at the same time? Even if you know it's true would it make the attack more acceptable? It's an extreme example, but I'm not able to categorise different levels of injustice - I feel like I should be angry for them all.

Context

I touched on this before, but this harks back to the last point for me. Would these people agree to get tattooed if their client asked them? Do you distinguish between different sexual and non-sexual acts? I know a lot of sex positive people and a handful of people in the sex industry who say they enjoy sex. They appear to have more choice than the people in the piece above, if they were in the piece would you view the piece in the same way? To me, the tattoo shows how little body autonomy they have.

Background

It'll probably be mentioned. But there's lots we don't know about the people (or subject) of the piece. How did they get where they are now? Why do we judge them? What if they just liked the idea of being screened in galleries and museums worldwide?

BAU

To me, the questions and thoughts above come second to why has this piece moved me so much? As a feminist and body modification enthusiast, this piece looks at every idea that is important to me.

Up
7/13/2013 | 0 comments | offline
Tags: reflection

I cannot help but feel it's time to leave the southern coast. I don't want to. But I feel like I should. I think about it often, however, I have never vocalised it. Seeing the words I have just typed made me lose my breath.

 

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