Out of the Blue

Art and Activism (series)


In this series, students from the Graduate School of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) explore the complex overlaps and conversations between art and activism. They seek to illustrate how artistic practices often speak to the urgency of protest and activism, and how activism intertwines with the demands of art. In the form of close analysis, interviews, and creative responses, these works trace the prevalent links between art and activism through the relationships between space, the everyday, and explicit or underlying modes of resistance.

These episodes were created by students in the masters course Art and Activism, and were originally published here.


This (visual) episode provides a performative reflection on the 1993 film Blue by Derek Jarman, questioning what Blue did for queer activist discourse and if that changes our understanding of activist art at large. Blue externalises and makes tangible Jarman’s own experiences with HIV, and this episode seeks to explore how social and artistic disruption is at work in a fundamentally queer and political way within the film, as well as beyond the constraints of activist and artistic discourse.


George Rallis, Megan Gibson, Ariane Gros, and Faith Hardman


Ariane Gros


  • Anonymous. Queer Nation Manifesto. 1990.
  • Ball, Phillip. Bright Earth: The Invention of Colour. Random House, 2012.
  • Jagose, Annamarie. Queer Theory : an Introduction. New York University Press, 1996. p.81.
  • Jarman, Derek. Blue. Moskwood Video, 1994.
  • Kester, Grant. “Conversation Pieces”. Theory in Contemporary Art since 1985. Eds. Zoya Kucor and Simon Leung. Blackwell, 2005, pp.153-165.
  • Laing, Olivia, and Bartlett, Neil, “Remembering Derek Jarman: AIDs activist, diarist, writer”, 2019.
  • Martin, Richard, “Derek Jarman, “Ataxia – Aids is Fun 1993”, Tate, 2014.
  • YouTube, “Blue Derek Jarman Interview at Edinburgh Festival 1993”, Gay Essential, 2015.
  • YouTube, “Face to Face – Derek Jarman”, TYLT, 2016.
  • Mary Nardini Gang. Toward the Queerest Insurrection. 2014

Works Cited


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