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Stuart Marshall

Bright Eyes shares some of its material with Marshall's important video installation A Journal of the Plague Year (1984), shown in the unprecedented media installation survey 'Signs of the Times' curated by Chrissie Iles at MOMA Oxford in 1990, and it resonates with the defiant, tongue-in-cheek anti-Clause 28 collaborative video Pedagogue (1988), made with performing artist Neil Bartlett. While 'Signs of the Times' was aptly enough sponsored by Carlton Television, Bright Eyes is not only in and of the televisual (referencing and reconstructing representations) it was literally in and of broadcast television. It continuously evokes and undermines flow as a manifestation of social intent and thus effecting social and cultural reassessment. Its formal endeavour was the resolution of works like Distinct with their Spartan aesthetic and decoding-as-content as well as a political reconstitution of viewing.

Four more works for television followed, Desire, Comrades in Arms, Over Our Dead Bodies and Blue Boys, each equally reassessing (homosexual) social and cultural experience and representation, history and commentary and each commissioned by Channel 4's pioneering gay and lesbian strand 'Out'. Given the importance of the televisual not only as a form that he literally embraced but as a way of understanding Marshall's practice and of reading video art as counter to art history, how we understand these works in relation to the visual arts might be the sum and the least of our concerns.

Ian White
Ian white is a writer, curator and artist.
Stills from Pedagogue (1986) and Comrades in Arms (1990) by Stuart Marshall
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