Editing Modernism in Canada


July 29, 2014

Check Your Egos at the Door

This week was my first TEMiC at UBC Okanagan and I had no idea what to expect. The weather wasn’t nice enough to corroborate our bragging to the rest of the country, but being able to sleep with a blanket for a change was a nice consolation.

Taking the course as an undergrad was a bit intimidating at first. There were so many brilliant people in the room with various letters in their titles. The intimidation was short lived, however, as the group of participants at the summer institute were some of the kindest and welcoming people I’ve had the pleasure of spending forty hours over five days in a room with one wall of windows.

I was assigned the Charles Bernstein article, “Making Audio Visible: The Lessons Visual Language for the Texualization of Sound”. As part of my course credit I gave a seminar-style presentation on this article. It was nice to have the opportunity to present scholarly work in that seminar format as I have never done this before. I had a lot of great models to aspire to from watching other folk’s presentations throughout the week. It was a great learning experience in a new style of presentation. I also got the chance to really study Bernstein’s work more “closely” (see what I did there? ‘cause close is like close list—ahh forget it). Searching for videos of his talks on PENNsound and Youtube, I found myself listening for hours to Bernstein talk about things that did not pertain to my presentation at all. That man is a genius.

Other highlights of the week for myself include: The Stouck’s eye opening talk on Canadian writer, Sinclair Ross; Kaplan Harris’ breakdown of the economic differences between large and small publishers; and Miriam Nichols’ wonderful talk about the astonishment tapes. I was privy to the last one as it was so relevant to my own work on Warren Tallman and the TISH folks. It was great to hear someone talk about that time in Canadian history who experienced it first-hand.

Early in the week, Dean Irvine said something to the effect of “the reason why this institute works is because all the people who take part check their ego’s at the door”. That’s not to say that the people involved have egos in the negative sense, rather that they are so accomplished that they would have the right to rub it in all our respective faces. But Dean was right, everyone was inclusive. The dynamic of the group facilitated a confident week of navigating dense reading material, brilliant speakers, and gratuitous use of words with north of five syllables. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to get up before noon to learn and smash clocks with such fine people. Especially that Cole guy, man he was great. These posts are anonymous, right?

By Cole Mash

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