The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Contains Art, a gallery in clutch of forty foot containers on the quay at Watchett Harbour, had a callout for work referring to Coleridge’s poem. The proceeds were to go to building a spur footpath from the Coleridge Way down to Watchett which has its own Coleridge connections.

Rereading the poem was a revelation; it moves along at such a cracking pace,full of extraordinary visual images,  and it is so pertinent to current preoccupations – having a care for the biosphere and getting over ourselves. The albatross is shot in a completely heedless moment, almost off stage. Only quite some time later does the mariner appreciate what he has done. He is devastated and wallows in his guilt. When at last he can see beyond his own ego and understand the beauty and the validity of the lives of the ‘slimy things that did crawl with legs upon the slimy sea‘ he can find the path to ‘redemption’. The redemption is his need to tell his tale, to pass on what he has learned. The Wedding Guest, heretofore a party animal, wakes the following morning a ‘…sadder, wiser man’ – he is now an adult.

A sudden burst of enthusiasm and I made two collaged images . Screen printing seemed to be the way to bring them out of cyberspace. They are both four colour prints which use actual blue, yellow,red and a keyline.

Instead of a cross, the albatross, about my neck was hung

Instead of a cross, the albatross, about my neck was hung

Mariner with the Albatross is seen as crucified figure(his own view perhaps). This is the moment he truly understands the human condition, the consequence of his heedless action. He is Everyman, an imperfect, mortal being like us, who is largely concerned with his own ego. Only when he manages to look beyond his own ego, see the beauty in other lives (the ‘slimy things’), and ‘bless’ them can he move on.

Is that a death? And are there two? Is death that woman's mate?

Is that a death? And are there two? Is death that woman’s mate?

The mariner sees a ship coming towards them with supernatural speed, this ghost-ship brings Life-in-Death and Death. Death, an empty protective suit, constantly stalks the news through pestilence and war; the suit protects him from human gaze. To me, Life-in-Death represents addiction (he was ashamed of his addiction to laudanum). She is a collage made from advertising image and so embodies an assortment of contemporary addictions. Life-in-Death rolls dice with death and wins the mariner, he is unable to die and envies the crew taken by Death, so must live to maintain the addiction.

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