In a couple of days I'll be donning this fine and nerdy regalia when I graduate from my Master of Arts in Art History and Communication Studies (finally! i actually completed my two-year degree one year ago, but it is only granted now).
My thesis was a happy 150 pages about the sound art of Janet Cardiff: phenomenology, schizophrenia, and bare life; Deleuze, De Certeau, and Foucault. And now, after two years of reading, writing, and researching myself into dizzy spells, it's time to 'walk the stage'.
The notion behind non-righteous ritual and 'ceremony' has always appealed to me. Events that embody agnostic traditions (everything from birthdays and weddings, to vernissages and house warmings) cycle throughout my life and remind me that so much about the world can change and yet there are these resilient repetitions of ceremonies that we take part in and will continue to take part in for centuries more. If most ceremonies are intended to celebrate a major event, then why not indulge in more ceremonies and a little celebration?
I never attended the graduation ceremony for my BA, but the folks are flying in for this occasion and so I've decided I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to do like Prince, and party like its 1999. All over again. I'm going to enjoy wearing the floppy regalia and that unnatural-looking hat that resembles a thin book balancing on your head. I'm going to revel in the Dean of Something shaking my hand, mispronouncing my first AND last names, and giving the audience that odd expression (which tends to range anywhere from 'goofy and apologetic' to a 'proud and penetrating' stare). I'm going to study and puzzle over the Latin words on my degree parchment, declaring my new "Master of Arts" status. I'm going to pose for my family and friends, so that they may take the requisite nerdy photos of me in front of legacy statues on campus, all the while, the university flag flapping and flying victoriously behind me, in the sun on such a glorious, glorious day. (ha! okay, so maybe i won't be so earnest and serious about the whole affair, but i can promise, i'll be laughing and having a ball).