Story of your life (Project 2: Research point)

Story of your life by Ted Chiang 

(Project 2 – Research point; Aristotle’s Elements) 

Story of your life is one of a selection of short stories, all by Ted Chiang, collected under the title, Stories of your life and others. This particular short story was the basis for the science fiction film, Arrival.

In summary, the story is in the form of a note to the narrator’s daughter. It is an explanation of the events that led to the narrator meeting the man with whom she would become pregnant, and the life her daughter was going to lead.

The story centres around a meeting with aliens who visit the earth. Their language is complex and the writer, a linguist, is employed to assist in developing the means to translate their spoken and written language. The man she will meet is a member of the military, who are coordinating the contact with the aliens.

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Richard Sweeney Exhibition


Whilst visiting Chester Cathedral recently, I happened upon an installation by Richard Sweeney, accompanied by an exhibition of his smaller works. He was unknown to me before this visit.

Sweeney’s website describes him as seeking to maintain “…an experimental, hand-on (sic) approach, utilising the unique properties of often mundane materials to discover unique sculptural forms. He has lectured at universities internationally and regularly holds workshops to share his knowledge of paper folding and construction techniques.”

Reflecting upon his work raised various questions about art. A subsequent visit to the Towner Gallery (in Eastbourne) to see A Certain Kind of Light raised similar questions. I have therefore, linked the two blogs together. At the foot of this one there is a link to A Certain Kind of Light, where these questions are considered.

The next section of this blog looks at Sweeney’s work, whilst the subsequent considers my responses to his work


Fig. 1 Metamorphosis at Chester Cathedral (2017)

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A Certain Kind of Light



I visited A Certain Kind of Light exhibition at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. Subtitled, Light in Art over Six Decades, it will come as no surprise that the subject matter was light!

Although a small collection of work, it was also a fascinating one. I wish to look at some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition and two that I struggled with.

This blog is intended to link with my last one regarding Richard Sweeney. It may be found here:

No catalogue was available for this collection, but I was permitted to photograph the work (I used my phone’s camera).

The next section of this blog looks at some of the work, whilst the subsequent considers my responses to this and Richard Sweeney’s work.


towner fig 1 words

towner fig 1
Fig. 1. Reflections on Anish Kapoor

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Difficult Background – Grayson Perry

Fig. 1. Perry, Grayson. “Difficult Background” (2001) – two views

Fig. 2. My sketches – Top left sketch of a girl, top right sketch of a boy, below are some observations about the pot


The Brighton Museum and Gallery has a Grayson Perry pot, Difficult Background (2001), on permanent display.

I wish to discuss it for two reasons. Firstly, I like Grayson Perry’s work in general and this pot in particular. Secondly, I was struck with how the pot was described.

The pot is in its own cabinet and sits in a corner. It is, however, on a revolving plate which allows all aspects of the pot to be seen. On both of my recent visits to look at it, however, the revolving plate wasn’t working. This had the effect of hiding about one fifth of it.

The cabinet carries a description of the pot. It says:

“Difficult Background, 2001, appears to refer nostalgically to childhood, with figures of children playing, dressed in 1950s-style clothes. However, a closer look reveals scrawled images of terror and war: burning buildings, blasted trees, naked figures running screaming from others carrying rifles. A girl presents an apple to a boy over a fallen signpost labelled ‘lost innocence’. Perry thus makes a powerful statement about the atrocities of conflict.”

I would agree with all of that but I was surprised that the description did not pick up on another aspect of the work. I will, therefore, discuss the piece in a little more detail and then return to the above description and consider other interpretations.

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Photo-punk – Exhibition notes

Photo-punk: 40 images from the birth of UK punk by Ian Dickson and Kevin Cummins

Fig. 1. Photo-punk (2017)


I attended the photo-punk photograph exhibition for two reasons; firstly, nostalgia. I was a fan of punk music. Being at university in London between 1977 and 1980 allowed me to see a lot of punk bands live. Secondly, I wanted to get myself out of my comfort zone. My favourite art has always been painting and sculpture. As much as I am interested and like photography, I do not yet really know enough about it as an art form. I wanted, therefore, to try to view these photographs in terms of ‘art’.

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