I can’t watch Derek Jarman’s Blue. By which I mean I have seen it, I have listened to it, and not just once but several times — more than several, this year it has become a minor obsession — however, I still don’t feel that I have taken it in its entirety. I am not able to feel its edges or recall how it moves, to describe the arc of it in detail, or to even attempt to pull together its seemingly trailing threads into something that makes sense to me. I have also, often, failed to watch it. I have never for its 75 minutes stayed focused on its blue screen. This I understand is not the point, not to stay entirely trained, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to release it in formats where it is untethered from its visuals, but on the other hand, my failure to stay focused, to be immersed in blue, led me to feel distant from it. There are also the times that I have succumbed to its lullaby qualities and been bolted back to consciousness by the gleeful cry of ‘cock sucking’ or the chiming of bells.

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Of and For Turner Contemporary

Of and For Turner Contemporary: Writings on a Building. Illustration by Billie Muraben.

‘Of and For Turner Contemporary: Writings on a Building’ is a collection of texts written by Critical Writing in Art and Design students at the Royal College of Art. The essays bring together new approaches to writing in relation to architecture, drawing particularly on the experience of spending time with a working building. With a foreword from Sir David Chipperfield and newly commissioned illustrations by Billie Muraben, this website captures aspects and impressions of Turner Contemporary almost four years after its opening.

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Gutteral Utterances

You make me uncomfortable. You weigh heavily on me. You complain loudly. You are always there and you are always in the way.

I do not think I live a bad life. Not that I believe in moral absolutes; people are not wholly good or bad. But what I mean is that I live modestly, or at least that I try to do as little damage to the world as I can. I detest the popular equation of healthiness with godliness. If a balanced diet, in this navel gazing age, is a sign of the most innocent being, then my nutritional indifference is my guilt.   

You are not indifferent. You are acid, a growling, gurgling monster, that I must give up my time and energies to placate and neutralise. And each day I wake, aware of you and your still quiet demands, but knowing that they will grow in volume throughout the day with no care for my needs, only yours. And I cannot believe that you would choose to loom over my life so exclusively, forever so blatantly cruel. You force me to think only of my illness and my health, though both are you.

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Arc #18: Accent

Arc #18: Accent.

This issue of Arc, the Royal College of Art’s student-led magazine, carries an accent.

It is about personal voice and how things are spoken both on and off the page. It depends on where you are – have been – and who you spend time with; it is about dialect and how some things rub off or pass down or stop mid-Atlantic. And it is about stress, emphasis – the marks above letters or on musical notes, the effect of one colour next to another. The accents in this issue register between saying what you think and thinking about what is said – they are sounds, affectations, marks, tics, tones.

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John Smith is one of the most famous film makers in the world

A very small joke

Gargantuan (1992)
Gargantuan (1992)

Gargantuan is a film about scale. It is short, sweet and a bit silly. The film starts with a gigantic reptile that fills the screen as a voice begins to sing: ‘Gargantuan amphibian. Enormous amphibian.’ Then the camera slowly starts to zoom out, and it becomes ‘Medium’, ‘Modest’ and eventually ‘Miniscule’ as it is revealed to us that what we are looking at is in fact a small newt. ‘Minute.’ say John Smith, who is lying in bed, his head and his amphibian friend both propped on pillows, ‘I love my newt.’

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As real as walking down the street and going to the grocery store

As real as walking down the street and going to the grocery store, John Baldessari, Andy Holden, Shana Moulton, Rachel Maclean, Heather Phillipson, Samara Scott. Installation view at Rowing, London, October — November 2013

‘Godfather of Conceptual Art’ John Baldessari is best known for his humorous subversion of the ideology of images. When Baldessari was asked by artist Paul Pfeiffer what percentage of his visual material was found and how much he generated himself he responded, that it was 50/50 and the half that he collects and the half that he generates inform him equally. He continued:

In the 20th century in general every movie we see on TV, everything we see in newspapers or magazines is just as real as walking down the street and going to the grocery store.

As the press release for the exhibition, which takes its title from his statement, advances, ‘Baldessari’s answer not only reveals the complex interdependence between reality and fiction, but how reality – to quote psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan – ‘takes on the structure of a fiction.’’

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