Notes from Galveston (week 2) : Jac Saorsa, Visiting Scholar at the University of Texas

SEAWEED! The news here calls it a “relentless three-day onslaught of seaweed that piled up on beaches at a rate not seen in years, leaving mounds of Sargassum several feet high in places”. The Galveston Park Board executive director said  “This is probably the worst case of seaweed we’ve seen in at least the last five years.”

Sargassum on Galveston beach, May 2014

Sargassum on Galveston beach, May 2014

I must admit, I did have to circumnavigate the pernicious weed on my usual evening stroll along the shore but it seemed hardly a huge problem and to be honest, at least for me, it seems better to accept the vicissitudes of nature than to try to tame it. Certainly the seabirds seemed to be enjoying the cover of the weed and due to the combination of natural phenomena and diligence on the part of the Park Board workers and their diggers the Sargassum seems to disappear almost as fast as it arrives!

I have week two in the title of my post however this is more referent to the number of posts I have put up rather than the actual calendar! I am amazed at how quickly my time here has flown. I have accomplished a lot in terms of my work I think – it is so easy to do so when I have such a gift of time and space to free my thoughts and ‘focus’  – and perhaps because I have had my head too deep in books and my heart too full of the joy of the beach and the sunshine that I haven’t noticed the month passing by!

I have been reading (and watching)  Wit, by Margaret Edson,  an incredibly moving play about a woman suffering ovarian cancer. I have been reading Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic.I have been reading, writing and mentally dancing around the ideas and relative connections borne of and in between history and philosophy with reference to women’s health. I continue to work on the drypoint plates and consider all the time the nature of the relation between art and science. A quote from Foucault resonates:

‘The observing gaze manifests its virtues only in a double silence; the relative silence of theories, imaginings and whatever serves as an obstacle to the sensible immediate, and to the absolute silence of all language that is anterior to the visible. Above the density of this double silence things seen can be heard at last, and heard solely by virtue of the fact that they are seen.’

 

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Centre for Medical Humanities
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