My former student visited yesterday. She had with her a copy of her latest project, Instead of. For this one, she cut up her thesis and used the words (and numbers!) to form something else.
When I first heard about her project, I wanted to read it at once. I sat as a critic for the thesis, and I was excited to see what she made out of it. I’d have my chance only after a month, but perhaps it was a fortuitous delay. Within that span, I was able to cut nine (plus one) pieces inspired by her method.
So when I saw her yesterday, I knew something of what she went through. The thrill of the hunt, the sorting of spoils, the tedium of turning and returning fragments until they snapped into place, the frustration that results when you can’t pound things into shape. And of course, afterwards: the feeling of expansion.
Instead of landing on my hands felt like so many things “snapping into place”: old thesis breathes anew, connected projects come to fruition, roles of student and teacher get reversed. Let’s drink to all the little reunions of our lives!