• In her article, “Derek Jarman’s Blue: Negating the Visual”, Jenna Carine Ashton states “The auditory comes to replace the visual; with Blue there is a sensory tussle as we are forced  to listen.” Reflecting on your own experience of watching Blue, do you agree? Why/why not?

Rather than a clash of the senses, I see it as an opportunity for the artist to give us the freedom to use our visual imagination. I prefer to understand it as an experience that allows for more concentration and immersion. Through the description of the person’s voice, I imagine things or stories along with them, but what I imagine must have been in front of me, and the video begins with a few things that I can imagine in my head. Things like a grey living room, a grandmother, mahjong, bamboo, etc. Then the video played a piece of music. How can I describe how this music made me feel? It was a very oriental melody, like the sound of a flute being played in a bamboo forest, lilting and gentle, so that one’s mind could be silenced. Then the story becomes heavy and the music, too, begins to relate to death. The author narrates softly, as if leading us into his memories. I didn’t hear too clearly what exactly he was talking about, but in my mind’s eye a long corridor with light at the end already presented itself. What came next, I began to imagine, the face of the little grey man, I couldn’t imagine it, but I could feel his melancholy, sadness and long wait. After watching this whole video, listening to it to be precise, I felt as if I had never been so deep into a person’s inner world and put myself in the shoes of a story. The blue colour of the screen already sets a melancholic and sad tone, and as I listened to the sound of the waves and the music at the end, I felt as if I were actually seeing a tombstone standing on the beach, quietly feeling the wind and the waves.

  • Consider this work in relation to González-Torres’ Untitled (A portrait of Ross in L.A.). How do these works engage the senses of the viewer to create a relationship with the subject of the work?

González-Torres’ Untitled (A portrait of Ross in L.A.). This is truly one of the most unusual portraits I have ever seen, asking people to take away a candy and remembering the person by the taste they have for it. The weight of the man is represented by the 175 pounds of candy, and each visitor takes a candy away when they look at it, just as he disappeared due to AIDS. I think the most striking thing about this work for me is that if I had taken the candy and eaten it, I would have felt like I was part of “eating him” and making him disappear. But at the same time, if I eat the candy, it means that a part of him has become one with me, as if I am taking him with me. It’s very but clever. I feel that both works, in choosing another sensory approach, subtly and profoundly allow one to experience and engage with the artwork.