This week you will pay a visit to England for work reasons and for a bit of leisure in London as well. I promised I would set you a task that was open to accommodate your travels.
Over the course of this project you have occasionally grumbled that you feel we are too nice to each other. I am not entirely sure what you mean by this and I am not sure if ‘not being nice’ is a goal in itself for our collaboration. I am not going to set you a ‘not-nice’ task but I do want to try to uncover an aspect that feels (maybe a bit precarious) like an important essence of who you are and how you define yourself: your upbringing in a working-class environment. I know you are proud of being from Cork and your Irish heritage and I know that this background has significant influence on your outlook on the world. I am very Danish middle class and from a privileged environment and I think our different upbringings might to an extent explain some of our divergent perspectives on life and art. I am also aware that my privilege does not give me the right to pry into this aspect of your life, so I hope that I am able to set you this task in a loving way.
Your task is to spend the week investigating how your working-class background influences how you see the world. This could be anything from your choice of coffee in a café, to why you enjoy certain art pieces, to how you walk, or which places you choose to go or not to go. I want you to photograph this and/or write reflections that capture this. I know that London is a place where you have spent some of your youth being poor and perhaps there is a way that the contrast between how you engaged with the city then and how you will interact with it now – that you’re a salaried academic – can add to your reflections.