Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Fog, fall, and failure

My dissertation writing days have begun in earnest now - days spent writing, reading, and sitting inside. Out in the garden, fall and fog transform the space into a mysterious world. It is hard to come to terms with things falling apart but even this has its own beauty.

This morning, two graduate students from an Environmental Education course met me in the foggy garden to plan their class visit next week.

"We don't have anything like this garden at our university in China," the one student commented.

"Well, we won't much longer either," I replied with sad, resigned laughter.

The final stage of my installation based PhD research project, Threads sown, grown & given was to explore the ideas and practices around gift giving, in education and in relation with land. The webs we spun as gifts in March 2013 are slowly collapsing but most still hang, bejewelled with fog dew. My hope now is to carry the energy of the garden and this installation series forward into my dissertation writing. A difficult hope that is sure to fail. But failure, it turns out, is one of the themes of my dissertation I have slowly grown to appreciate: "Just as any human enterprise is defined by what it excludes, it is a culture's failures - quickly forgotten, repressed, buried away - which have the most to say about that culture's beliefs and values" (Antebi et al., eds., 2008, p. 12).

--Julia Ostertag, PhD Candidate, EDCP

[Please search "installation" on this blog for more posts related to my research project. Comments are also always welcome!]

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