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Week 6&7:Learning Sprint -Derek Jarman’s Blue

Sensory Approaches in Art

Derek Jarman’s Blue Watch the excerpt of Derek Jarman’s Blue. Write a short text (c. 250 words) that responds to the following question and post this to your blog.  

  • 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?
  • 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? 

Firstly, in response to the first question, I disagree with Jenna Carine Ashton that with blue, when we are forced to listen, hearing replaces vision. I don’t think that the sense of hearing ever replaces the sense of sight, but to a certain extent the two work together, but when we close our eyes and only use our sense of hearing to perceive the world, the ability to hear is greatly enhanced and our brain becomes more attentive to the effects of sound, but that doesn’t mean that it replaces the sense of sight. At the same time, when I turned on the blue screen of ‘Blue’, I was initially overwhelmed and uncomfortable, I could not fully concentrate and could not focus on triggering my auditory senses. But I struggled when I heard the artist Jarman recite a large paragraph about the side effects of the medication he was taking, and when I heard: I found myself looking at shoes in a shop window. I wanted to go in and buy a pair, but didn’t because the shoes I was wearing were enough to get me out of my life, and I got lost in thought and began to silently focus on the ‘gay’ community (a subconscious).

The second issue: Derek Jarman’s Blue and González-Torres’ Untitled (A portrait of Ross in L.A.). I think the first thing that appeals to the viewer’s senses about these works is that they are unusual. For example: González-Torres’ Untitled (A portrait of Ross in L.A.). The first thing people feel when they see this work of art is curiosity. Why is there a pile of different coloured candy paper, why is it stacked in such a shape, and what is the artist trying to say in this way? Similarly, for
Derek Jarman’s blue work, the first thing we feel when we see this video is a strong visual impact, and as the sound continues to emerge, the viewer begins to wonder why blue is used to shield our vision. Because when we close our eyes and imitate blindness, we are actually seeing blackness in front of us, and this is what I am curious about. But there is no denying that ‘colour’ is a
It is a good starting point in relation to mental health because it can be used as a way to express emotions.

Secondly, how do these works engage the viewer’s senses in relation to the subject matter of the work? I think it’s a particular connection when the artist wants to express his or her emotions and story through the work. For the viewer, we should be aware of the artist’s experience and the artistic thinking that the artist is pushing; looking at the work itself, it is difficult for us to connect it to the subject matter itself. For example: I first saw González-Torres’ Untitled (A portrait of Ross in L.A.). At first I only found the colour expression in this work to be vivid, but I didn’t have enough artistic understanding to dissect the work. But when I realised that it was a tribute to the artist’s beloved Ross Laycock, I wanted to find out more: the candy weighs a total of 175 pounds, which is Ross’s ideal healthy weight, and the viewer is allowed to eat as much of it as they like, meaning that AIDS gradually consumes Ross’s life. The viewer is tasting the sweetness of the candy and feeling their undying love.

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