Kafkaesque

3 02 2007

I have just been accepted for admission to the University of Sydney’s “Postgraduate Arts Research Centre” (PG ARC). This is a large room with sixty-five carrels, several bookshelves, a number of lockers, and an adjoining tea-room where intermittent functions are held for those of us who apparantly do not have lives outside of university. I’m not knocking these people, by the way; I don’t have a life outside of university. In any case, my letter of admission arrived today and I thought that I might share a rather interesting series of stipulations that relate to the phenomenally convenient photocopying facilities with which we glorious postgrads are generously being provided.

The first 250 copies that you make on the PG ARC photocopier will automatically appear on your card. Additional copies will be charged at 7c a copy. When you require additional copies you will need to get a request for photocopying form from the General Office, Woolley [Building], Room N386. Take this form to the Cashier, Telfer Building, Arundle Street, and pay for the amount of photocopying you want (eg 300 copies = $21.00. PLEASE MAKE YOUR PAYMENTS IN MULTIPLES OF SEVEN). Then take the Cashier’s receipt to a staff member in the General Office who, within a few days, will program the photocopier to accept your card for the appropriate number of pages.

Right. Well, here’s an alternative: maybe I’ll just go to Fisher Library instead and do the same thing for an extra 3c a page. Not a bad idea, considering the time lost in walking between buildings and in waiting three days. Honestly, what year is this anyway? I have to wait for someone who will “program the photocopier” to accept my card? I know this might sound ridiculous, but why can’t I put my money… into the photocopier? Wouldn’t that save time?

Sometimes I get this unshakeable feeling that we lost some kind of war.

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7 responses

6 02 2007
Robert Mileham

Brushing the yellowed pages of Talmudic tomes with my year-long beard as I nodded piously…….a brilliant subject for “a learned ….” sculpture?

Your comments on self doubt caught me.

My daughter spent her “gap year” in Hungary, challenging language to learn!

Forgive me for asking but it is difficult to find references to Australian sculptors and sample pictures of their works. My e-friend Chris Miller has little to show for “Down Under” on his website find here. A pity I think.

http://www.ilovefiguresculpture.com/masters/masters20.html

8 02 2007
Daniel

I agree with algorithm-generated Robert – how tough is Hungarian, hey? I like your story, and hope it serves as a cautionary multiples-of-seven tale as to with whom you are making your life. I love Australian street/building names: “Woolley” and “Arundle” sound like useful but unfashionable items of clothing. I’m stuck here with “King Solomon” and “Jochanan the Shoemaker” – it all seemed so romantic once.

8 02 2007
Simon Holloway

Ha, yes, I was unsure as to whether or not that was generated by an algorithm and so I left it in, rather than remove it and risk causing offence. Now, of course, I will just leave it in for the entertainment value.

As for the (fading) romanticism of Israeli street names, I think that people may have just come to realise that you cannot recreate ancient Israel – and probably wouldn’t want to even if you could. Even so it is not necessarily unlikely that, in two thousand years from now, religious people will be ritualistically eating falafel, fasting on Yom Kippur for the “October War”, and rocking piously to Infected Mushroom; they will name their streets after Menachem Begin and their buildings after Dana International, and everyone will pray for a return of the old days when there was a Knesset in Jerusalem.

That’s kind of romantic too, no?

9 02 2007
Simon Holloway

Redux:

Robert, my apologies. There were indications within your comment that suggested to me that it was a computer-generated response to my post but, after having looked at your webpage on artikuk.com (and after having spoken with another online friend of mine), I have come to the conclusion that it was not.

Hungarian is, indeed, a curious language. As to whether it is a challenging language to learn, I suppose that depends upon which language(s) you are coming from! One of the reasons that it is a curious language in its own right is because, unlike most other languages, it inhabits a language family all of its own. The broader language family, Ugaric, includes languages like Estonian and Finnish as well, but the various branches that connect Hungarian to this category are populated by Hungarian alone. Did your daughter pick the language up in the year that she was there?

Afraid that I cannot help you regarding scultpors in Australia. I enjoyed browsing through your contributions on artituk.com, but am not familiar with the work of anyone local to myself. Good luck with finding what you are looking for!

14 02 2007
Robert Mileham

Ah ha, this is not a cyber devil but me flesh and blood. What fun, I have not the slightest idea what you have been talking about and am still a little bemused.

Did you not intimate an interest in learning Hungarian? Was it someone else with the beard? Did you not try and persuade young Conrad to stick to his guns?

I admit only to realise that I enter a language environment in which I will never swim. “In the beginning was the word….” mmm…. you see I am a visual type… mildly dyslexic… and probably see things quite differently. I can read a map upside down in a mirror and still miss the other cars in the car park. I can now communicate with others with a spell checker! No-no, no chip, but where did I get a picture of you with a beard learning Hungarian? Damned if I can find it now. But you did comment on Mr. Conrad’s blog.

Hope this adds a little lighter note and some light on it all. I had spotted your visit to my web site, thank you. I shall visit here again if I may, but I will keep my head down on the map!

14 02 2007
Simon Holloway

I did, indeed, as a matter of fact. On the “About Me” page I both mentioned having once had a beard and wanting now to learn Hungarian. My mother’s family are all from Budapest: post-revolution migrants to Australia; I am interested in that side of my heritage but have never followed it up at all and I tend to reassure myself that I one day will with the possibly vain fantasy of learning to speak their curious language. Who knows!

Impressed that you can read a map upside-down in a mirror. I can’t even read one the right way up most of the time…

14 02 2007
Robert Mileham

My daughter learnt a little of the language. Before she went we bought the “tapes”, this was when we realised it was going to be interesting. She was teaching English in a girls school so she did get the opportunity.

Good luck with it.

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