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


Drawing in Space, Drawing in Tim

You are making your way through London’s Aldgate, returning from  an evening event at The Whitechapel Gallery, followed by a quick sip of bitter beer at a trendy Brick Lane bar. Its September but the night air is still warm and a slight breeze makes your journey feel a little more romantic. Our latent capacity for romanticism grasps at us in such unexpected moments, in momentary affirmations of being alone, coming into contact with the self as a kind of adventure.

The Whitechapel event was curated by its film curator Gareth Evans who has developed a unique, slightly  DADA-esque and impressario-like style of introducing events. He manages to explain and name-check all the important information about the evening, the series of events in which it appears, the works you are about to see, the artists, sponsors and anyone else involved, while rolling out…

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

It’s the last days and last week of your Summer art history school teaching. The final visit is to the Barbican to see, and evaluate, some Contemporary Art in the shape of Ragnar Kjartansson’s current retrospective there.

At the entrance you are trying to sort out the group booking when you spy a couple of other art writers, (0ne is also an editor or a well-known journal) who are just leaving. They look at you, just for a moment as if there might be some sense of territorial value at stake, but you make it clear you are not here to conduct a review, and therefore perhaps tread on their professional toes, but only to support your students in their studies.

Nevertheless, by the time you’ve seen the show, discussed it with your students, mulled it over on the bus going home, and described it to your partner, it seems…

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

You’ve had a hot and busy week, teaching Art History, using London’s museums. You couldn’t help noticing the museum’s have only a fraction of the numbers of visitors you normally expect to see at this time of year. You assume its partly to do with the glorious weather, but perhaps partly to do with an increased wariness (caused by terrorism) of crowded public spaces.

Summer School teaching is as demanding and responsible (and therefore as busy and as tiring) as term-time teaching, and yet, there is something to do with the time of year, the kind of students, and perhaps the subject of Art History itself (not generally taught any more as part of any Fine art Degree programme) that can make Summer Schools an especially joyful teaching experience.

This is the only time of the teaching year when you ever find yourself cycling home, in a warm breeze, without rushing…

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


Michael Calver INCIDENT (2016) 91.5 x 122 cm Acrylic on Canvas

This week you saw two movies, one bad one good – you would say. The ‘bad’ was ‘Steve jobs’ a movie that is not even a bio-pic but a description of 3-4 product launches, laced with a little backstory, and that ends up with no narrative, no moral and no meaning. the finale is a rock & roll-like scene with flashlights popping,s slow motion, a girl, a man and a brand.

But the film itself seems to hint that Jobs was a rather one dimensional, slightly disturbed monomaniac who simply sold computers even better than Coca Cola sold Coca cola. The jury is still out as to which of these two products is the most harmful to health and thus to society.

The ‘good’ film was Jafar Panahi’s ‘TAXI TEHRAN‘. there is no point describing this so…

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Lorenzo Zuccolillo

Si antes se decía que “no hay nada más viejo que el periódico de ayer”,  hoy  eso podría aplicarse a un teléfono celular de más de 24 meses de antigüedad. O  la propia ciencia ficción: hace ya tiempo que la realidad excluyó del territorio de la fantasía anticipatoria tanto a Robotina (el robot/empleada doméstica de la serie de animación Los Supersónicos), como al zapatófono, aquel proto o paleo celular utilizado por Maxwell Smart, el (anti) héroe protagonista de otra serie televisiva de culto: El súper agente 86. 



Ultra Sónica (Jane Jetson) y Robotina (Rosie), en un episodio deLos supersónicos (Hanna/Barbera (ABC; 1962-1987


Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) y  la agente 99 (Barbara Feldon), en el Súper agente 86  (Brooks /Henry; Talent Associates; 1965-1970;ref. www

Porque dejó de ser cosa de ciencia ficción que desde un teléfono celular (o pc o tableta) puedan programarse a distancia ciertos dispositivos…

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

If one tethers one’s heart severely and imprisons it, one can give one’sspirit infinite liberties.”
Nietzsche, Beyond good & Evil, (section 87)

You must confess to loving connections. Connections may in fact be what you/we live for and what enable us to live. A good, unexpected or imaginative connection seems to give you, your life and your thoughts a certain crucial vitality. While a dearth of connections amounts to a kind of stultifying impasse or inertia.

Last week, shortly after connecting Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr. Turner’ to Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ you watched yet another biopic, this time of Nelson Mandela and his ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. The Tempest features an image of magic books at the heart of Prospsero’s power. It also repeatedly attends to the concept of ‘freedom’.

Thus, the central theme of islands and freedoms, running through all of these examples struck you with a…

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

It’s dawn. One or two isolated birds are singing outside the window and ‘Farming Today’ is on quietly on the radio in the kitchen. YOU’re waiting to hear the 6 a.m. news and then YOU’ll switch the radio to classical music as it is less disturbing than political talk.

Who is this ‘YOU’ YOU write about? YOU were asked by a journal recently to write about just that, but somehow YOU felt YOU blew it, didn’t explain the special ‘romance’ of writing in this person, the poetics of it. YOU also overlooked its source and other references in the (highly recommended) Nouveau Roman writings of Marguerite Duras and commentary on the same by Maurice Blanchot. Who is YOU? Perhaps this is a piece yet to be written.

YOU is not well today. Or YOU is not well again. In fact, the ‘blowing it’ referred to just above marked the start of…

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