William Blake understood as a West London Shopping Mall

On Sunday, I went to the William Blake 1809 exhibition at Tate Britain, reviewed here in The Guardian. It’s absolutely fascinating; it restages his first and only public display of prints and paintings, and sets them in a context which helps explain their abysmal critical reception.

I wanted to do a video review of it, but unfortunately (as I discovered) you’re not allowed to take pictures in the Tate. This raises fascinating questions about copyright, and the Tate’s understanding of differences between reproduction and interpretation in a digital world; more on that in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, I still wanted to do a video blog entry reviewing the exhibition, but of course I couldn’t show any of the images. So I decided to follow Ballard, and understand it in terms of a West London Shopping Mall – which led to this short film:


It’s available in higher resolution at Vimeo here:

William Blake understood as a West London Shopping Mall from Al Robertson on Vimeo.


7 thoughts on “William Blake understood as a West London Shopping Mall

  1. I’m channelling my inner Christopher Lee! And I did record the voiceover at about 3 in the morning. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it – more to come, I’m very enthused by how easy it is to make interesting little digital films…

    1. Thank you! Indeed – and just how much sublimity is buried in the mundane. There was a great comment at the Moorcock / Moore / Sinclair thing on Monday, along the lines that *literary* novelists wouldn’t have touched somewhere like Shepperton in the late 60s (too dull, too suburban), but Ballard moved there and filled it with his imagination. It was unsaid, but implied in that for me is that there’s so much there to spark the imagination. Come to think of it, ‘the eye sees more than the heart knows’ applies to that process of imaginative self-censoring, too – ‘it can’t possibly be interesting, it’s far too suburban…’ etc

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. The next one’s going to be about a particular car park in Southampton, when I get a moment to go down there and shoot it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.