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'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

Well, here you are in Rome. Thanks to some great colleagues at Central St Martins UAL you have been invited to contribute to a conference in which ideas from history, archaeology, technology, fine art and philosophy search for common ground or exchange ideas in an interdisciplinary way.

You have had a long, tiring but wonderful day already, yesterday, and this morning you gave what academics call a ‘paper’ to contribute to a day-long symposium.

A couple of weeks ago you blogged in such a way that you ‘killed two birds with one stone’ and you think you are going to do that again today. The reason is that you are again again a bit nervous about the ‘paper’ you are going to give and you can use the blog as a kind of rehearsal, to see how it feels to an imagined audience.

 It’s strange perhaps how, after teaching successfully…

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'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

The Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank
The Southbank’s utopian public spaces, as completed in 1968. Looking East towards The Hayward Gallery. St Pauls Cathedral in the distance.

Today, just outside the Southbank’s Hayward Gallery, and as part of the ‘Mirror City – London Artists On Fiction And Reality’ exhibition, London-based art group Lucky PDF have parked a VW Transporter van with a large LG screen installed and the side door thrown wide open. Anyone can enter, sit, and watch their video ‘How To Leave London’ (2014) without paying the entrance fee for the rest of the show. Thus Lucky PDF nimbly operate as part of a major institutional exhibition while remaining marginal to it.

The film is a sprawling series of interviews that takes over an hour to watch. Mostly you see a new generation confidently discussing the pragmatic arrangements that make their survival as artists possible today. We never see or…

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'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

The English have an expression. ‘To Kill Two Birds With One Stone.’ As you can’t bear conflicts and often have to rationalize the many things you feel you must do n any particular week this phrase often inspires you to conflate two responsibilities into one and it can feel very satisfactory to do so. This week you have been so busy teaching that you haven’t been to any exhibitions (though you did a ‘crit’ on a wonderful curatorial experiment by a group of Masters students.

The other thing that’s been on your mind is the fact that you have to give what academics call ‘a paper’ at a conference on photography this weekend (here is the link: , and, in truth, you haven’t completed writing it, in fact you have about 8,000 words of relatively unformed ideas when what you really should have is about 3,0000 words of a…

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