On Rube Goldberg Machines

On Rube Goldberg Machines

Hello once again, reader, and welcome to this final post of the summer! When we meet again I will be in the midst of thesis candidacy and perhaps a bit overwhelmed, but only in the best sense of that state.

“Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin,” Rube Goldberg, 1931. Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rube_Goldberg_machine

Since I last wrote, I have done as I promised and reached out to past MFA graduates, begun conversations with prospective thesis candidates, undertaken reading, and tried to make what has felt expedient in the moment, all toward the direction of my own thesis work. Additionally, I have attempted to capture the incessantly swirling thoughts in my mind via lists and writing, from which I continue trying to tie common threads. It is very much a precarious balance at the moment, a scene of a not-so-tidy Rube Goldberg machine.

However, this tangle of thoughts, images, readings, and making gives me more hope than pause. I know that slowly, but surely, each piece of this work is falling in its designated place to give motion to the next piece. I suppose it’s a bit odd to feel optimism in moments of seeming disarray, but I think that’s pretty representative of the type of determination graduate school has given me over the past two years. Imagine the meme of the dog who’s surrounded by a fire saying “This is Fine,” except really meaning it.

No, really, it is. Illustration by KC Green: http://kcgreendotcom.com/index.html

In great part, I think that writing these blog entries to you, reader, has been instrumental in helping me maintain a positive outlook over the last year. They are a time of reflection for me, during which I’ve found great moments of clarity and unexpected instances of connection with people and ideas I might not have otherwise encountered. To quote one of my current reference readings, I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, “I’ve never thought writing could be such a direct communication but you’re a perfect listener. My silent partner, listening so long as I stay on track and tell you what is really on my mind. I don’t need any encouragement, approval or response as long as you are listening.”

When I first took on my role as Graduate Ambassador for the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts and Media program a year ago I didn’t fully realize how beneficial it would prove for me on a personal level. Of course, I went into this position with the hope that it would be fulfilling and meaningful professionally, which it certainly has been, but I didn’t foresee the great personal outlet it would be for me. For this and many other reasons, I’m truly grateful for the felicitous opportunity I’ve had to be a Grad Ambassador.

Well, as I compose myself from waxing a bit sentimental, I’ll leave you with news of a promising event on the horizon. Next time you hear from me, we (MFA Interdisciplinary Arts and Media/Book and Paper Arts + Senior BFA Fine Arts students) will have moved into newly renovated studios that I hope will encourage more collaboration and discourse among cohorts of graduates and undergraduates in the year to come!