Three 200 word stories for Real & Imagined Lives (Exhibition Now Closed)


IRIS MURDOCH      Copyright © JOEL ROWAN MORGAN – August 2012.

Staring into the mechanical eye, one imagines one is looking through the lens into the future, whereas you are looking back into the past, in this case my past, yet it is but one moment in time. One click; yet for me time is still moving, as it is for you now. Yet, in one short moment, you have made the decision to hear my voice; or to walk away, to query something else all together, to turn to the person next to you, or to turn away. Each single moment, each decision another bead on a string, an independent choice, for better or for worse, maybe.

I am the subject, an artist, yet I kneel before another, who is the mother of the image. The artist’s job is to make these autonomous decisions, but these are not among the moral decisions one is faced with day-to-day; though the artist may document these. One keeps on stringing the beads, to do the best by oneself, or by others, acting only in the moment, to turn left or to turn right, to marry, to betray. What good will come from it? When does good mean love? What will you do today?


Iris Murdoch

by Ida Kar
modern bromide print, 1957

ROBERT WYATT  Copyright © Joel Rowan Morgan – September 2012

The bomb blast took apart the building, inside out, piece-by-piece; a random eclectic performance, an expedient art, a victory for absence over substance – the bomb was handmade, to kill.

The butterflies on the buddleia would’ve felt nothing.

Robert was resolute and firm; the shockwave, a physical paradigm, never reached him. The explosion certainly was a shock, but no surprise; he’d seen guns tucked into leather belts at the party, he knew his Aristotle, and his Einstein, just like all the other boys and girls.

The ants had already begun to move the colony.

Robert moved into the dome of invisible stinging debris and unshielded his eyes. He saw bricks and tiles quick to make new structures alongside the still standing ones, ripped bare earth and bubbling oily water, and rainbow water that sprung up high, and he tasted it all on his tongue.

He flapped his arms, and flew into the crumbling shell.

The jackals were saved a trip to the city; no blood was spilt there. Hunting is hard work; the key to survival is to expend the right energy at the right time.

Robert curled around his sunlit tower of bricks; tired eardrum butterflies, bebop on his lips.


Robert Wyatt

by Barry Marsden
bromide fibre print, 1985

PJ HARVEY            Copyright © JOEL ROWAN MORGAN – August 2012.

31st May 2029

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the UK release of PJ Harvey’s sixth studio album, Uh Huh Her. A commercial success, the album was nevertheless a departure from the slick production of its lauded predecessor, and many critics doubted it would stand the test of time quite so favourably. This looked to be true until the massive growth in the DIY movement during the ‘tweens’ somewhat canonised the self-produced LP, and brought Harvey’s early work to the attention of the new ‘Garden’ generation.

The artist Polly Jean will turn 60 later in the year, another landmark; the list of accolades and projects she put her name to grew long. For many of us survivors though, it is the singular pursuit of her own pure and simple art, through whatever medium, that is her true legacy. This dedication drove her through the nineties, and then grew with her, until she finally reached the top of the tree. Then, guess what? She didn’t stop. Uh Huh Her shows this dedication, her desire, at its most playful. The vinyl re-release and photo book hits the streets today; long may her stories, personal and universal, ride the tide, and play on.


P.J. Harvey

by Mary McCartney
bromide fibre print, April 2004