Etymology: from the Greek word dialogos
dia-: through, between, across, inter
dýo- or di-: two
From the Latin dies: day, period of light
-logos: the rational principle that governs and develops the universe; word, saying, speech, discourse, thought, reckoning
log: chronological record
Interlocution with Udit Thakre, Psychology student at Sheffield Hallam University, September 2019
To begin, we discuss defining dialogue and Udit gives the following: the function of dialogue is to help the other person understand. It is giving something to another person and an extension of who you are. Udit is interested in the lack of dialogue, oppression and the complexities of gendered pscyhodynamics. He is preparing for a PhD studying politeness in British society. He mentions the Occupy movements and suggests an occupy and reclamation of dialogue. This leads us on to discuss who owns dialogue? Is it culture? Institutions? He is interested in the culture of silence as passive and active aggression and the dark side of politeness (being central to British culture). He cites Dr Brené Brown whose work looks at shame and vulnerability. She talks about clear dialogue being kind whilst unclear dialogue is not kind. Udit also recommends a book The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje depicting betrayals in times of war as opposed to times of peace. He notes that the English ‘stiff upper lip’ element of British politeness and lack of dialogue is a consequence of the war. We discuss lying and inequality in dialogue and the oppressor and the oppressed. Finally, and more generally, we discuss practising dialogue like training muscle or a skill like swimming which is learnt and must be practised to be proficient. But it’s also important to make mistakes in dialogue, Udit says, as this is how we learn.
I was thinking about how much food is the basis of dialogue. I received the gift of onions and squash from my friend’s allotment and I’d promised potatoes from my veg patch in return. This itself prompted a conversation about growing but also prompted a conversation with a woman in the nearby seat, so impressed with the produce.
As it turned out, the potatoes were few but there were beetroot and spring onions so I turned it all into a borscht inspired soup and will share it with my friend over a conversation soon.
I’ve long been impressed and inspired by the gesture of art events with food and I provide snacks and home baked cakes at Art Lab. Whilst I was artist in residence at 34 Boar Lane, Leeds, there were ‘junk food fine dining events’ alongside exhibition openings. Helen the curator considered everything from the table decor, the seating and layout to the lighting, along with close corroboration with the chef. Coming from a catering background also (9 years through college, uni and postgrad self-reliance), this seems like a natural progression. Perhaps what I should do, time permitting, is make my interviewees/interlocutors a cake.
I had a day full of everyday dialogue in chunks of minutes and hours: Almost non-stop dialogue in fragments and compartmentalised pieces. Some of the dialogues were about similar/the same things but with different people so different levels depending where we were in each dialogue. The repeating and re-telling of stories and of dilemmas in various capacities: From glossing over the day in a bitesize chunk at the supermarket checkout to revealing the horrors in full and laying bare vulnerabilities.
I met with a friend who is a psychology student to interview him about dialogue in his work and research. He’s particularly interested in the lack of dialogue and oppression of individuals, particularly women, in British culture. I’ll write up the interview as a separate blog post but there were also some interesting dialogue with the cafe staff about what the phrase in the coffee saucer translated as. I was going to google the translation and my friend asked the server. The server didn’t know so asked his boss who told him to tell us it meant “enjoy your coffee”. The whole sequence of dialogue then led onto a conversation about where everyone was from, native and second languages and the social role of drinks and cafe culture. This exemplified one of the points my friend made earlier about the over-reliance on technology to ‘connect us’ making us further away from human connection and dialogue than ever before.
Enjoy your coffee.
Dwell Time was at the Northern Community Rail Conference at the Hilton Leeds on Monday. We had a ‘market stall’ with some Issue 1 copies and we were there to tell people about the project and future plans with the plan to roll out Dwell Time across the North in Year 3. We met lots of interesting and interested people and had plenty of dialogues centred on potential collaborations. What was noticeable towards the end of the day was how exhausting this sustained level of conversation and networking is, and the intensity of the noise level. Even over lunch we sat with a potential future collaborator and continued dialogue. There is then the follow up email dialogue and meetings for more dialogue in the typical ‘work breeds work’ pattern: ‘Dialogue breeds dialogue’.