Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Westminster, Tate, Jurack

Hello Blog,

It’s me, Celine. On Friday we took a tour of Westminster Abbey, followed by a visit to the Tate Britain to see the Eadweard Muybridge show and Rachel Whiteread’s drawings. We ended the day with a talk from visiting artist Brigitte Jurack, who is German in nationality and teaches at Manchester University.

I was intrigued by Jurack's work.
At some point she began talking about the student protests, explaining the horrible injustice of her student's fees being tripled with one fell swoop with the help of the party that pledged to keep student fees consistant. She was genuinely upset, and seemed to be on the point of either crying or throwing something at points. She said that all this must be old hat for the Americans, and that maybe we weren't upset by the situation. I replied by saying that the American system was not going to change, and that if we were angry all the time we would be constantly depressed. Not my most eloquent moment. It elicited an outburst, and people started venting their frustration (most of which seemed aimed at me, oddly). By the end of the conversation, in which, predictably, nothing was accomplished or settled on, I was angry without really knowing why. But looking back, I think I was frustrated and upset with Brigitte. Well meaning though she was, she was despairing and lashing out against a system that she had never been subject to- she was speaking with fervor about students going into debt and how that would mar their futures for decades, as if trying to convince us that the system was broken. There is no need to tell me that I'm fucked. I know it. But what the hell else would you have us do? The British students are, even now, far far better off than their American counterparts. As for the student loan debt, I was insulted and angered that someone who had never had to live with the reality of student loans would be lecturing people who had consciously decided to take on debt to finance their future. Don't tell me that my life is going to be harder because of student loans, I know it will be, but again, what else am I supposed to do? I felt talked down to and almost scolded without knowing why. A depressing and disheartening way to end the day.

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