The following students participated in the seminar on Albert Camus and the Absurd Man.

Hye Won Lee, (South Korea)
Juliet (China)
Nina Ya-wen, Tu (Taiwan)
Sam Stork, (London, UK)
Christine Rothschild (Suffolk, UK)
Jane Jones (Kent, UK)
Jacqueline White, (Kent, UK)
Emily Russell (Kent, UK)
Kerris Street (Kent, UK)
Mark Miltz (USA)
Mary-Lou Barratt (Kent, UK)
Sung Eun Kim (Korea)
Eve Walker (Kent, UK)
Ng Joon Kiat (Singapore)
Meera George (India)
Lin Tao (China)

Below is a documentation of comments made during the seminar and also email responses to the discussion.

----- Original Message -----
From: Kerris Street, KIAD MA student and Artlives participant
To: Artlives
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 5:50 PM
Subject: [artlives] re: Camus Seminar

Here are some random thoughts about today's seminar; At the moment I feel that I am the embodiment of an authentically absurd disillusioned woman! (an inter-subjective approach, I think!)

I think in all of these terms: sometimes I have faith in something, whether it be that I sense the presence of a dead relative or emotionally feel the beauty of a flower. For me the most powerful of all faith-instigating elements is love, the intensity of love that you can feel for another human being (however, this can too lead to disillusionment!).

The idea of nothing - Of meaning being benign and value providing meaning, does leave me feeling passive - what is deemed as valuable is somehow at odds with me. I come from a background of what I would call 'non-being', surrounded by people, who never questioned anything, excepted fate, and had expected me to fit in with what their perception of social norms were. My Ba(Hons) degree in Fine Art was seen as folly, that was until I gained first prize in an exhibition. The pomp of the presentation ceremony was apparently so impressive that now I am the 'Picasso' in the family?!!, what kind of value system is that!.

It seems though, that 'absurd' people who are ready to except their fate without question are also subject to 'disillusionment', for the new 'religion' (certainly in Britain), is the 'celebrity'. Whether it's the influence of the saturated docu-soap, the endless 'find a Star' type tv shows or the national lottery, everyone wants to be rich and famous, BUT, they think that they can. Not only is this absurd but it is disillusionment on a grand scale, the resulting feeling of 'lack' is encouraged by the 'ideal' image/lifestyle perpetuated by the mass-media (i.e. Hello Magazine, urgh! appalling!), which can never possibly be attained. Maybe Camus use of a mythological character was to prod that part of us that wishes the idealistic fiction of our childhoods (or the image/lifestyle presented by the mass-media), to be true.

As far as my working practices are concerned, I too do not need to understand in order to create, and would agree that the creation becomes the meaning. However I also believe that the embodied knowledge that I have through experience, allows me to seem to be instinctively creating, I also have faith in that. Most days recently I have felt that if I were Sisyphus I'd lie down and let the rock roll over me. However, after today I feel as though I'd like to neatly prime Sisyphus's rock with 10 tons of plastic explosive and blow it off the planet!


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