Commissioned by in-house arts platform WePresent, the hybrid digital and physical experience pays tribute to 'Blue' by Derek Jarman 30 years after its completion
AMSTERDAM - 25 April, 2023 - WePresent, the arts platform of WeTransfer, releases 'BLUE NOW', an immersive online experience designed by WeTransfer’s creative studio in collaboration with actor and art curator Russell Tovey, as part of his year-long curatorship for the platform.
The interactive art experience accompanies the sold-out eponymous live performance series directed by Neil Bartlett and produced by Fuel, and is made accessible for free on wetransfer.com to its 80 million monthly users in 190 countries.
The hybrid digital and physical commission was created in collaboration with Tovey and Bartlett as a tribute to the artwork 'Blue' by the British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman. The 1993 film 'Blue' features an unchanging screen of International Klein blue accompanied by voices which deliver a collage of fragments from Jarman’s diary, a visualization of the gradual onset of blindness as he battles with HIV. 'Blue' was Jarman’s final feature film, completed only months before his death of AIDS-related complications.
'BLUE NOW' is the first project yielded from Russell Tovey’s previously announced guest curatorship of WePresent, and was inspired by Tovey’s admiration of 'Blue' and Jarman who, in his editor’s letter released last month, he calls one of his “greatest art heroes.”
Russell Tovey, actor and art curator, says in his editor’s letter: “Derek’s legacy is felt even more so today than ever, his work is astonishingly important and he is a man whom I feel so privileged to even utter my name alongside, let alone tackle one of his greatest masterpieces.”
Since 2009, WeTransfer has donated 30% of its advertising inventory to artists and social causes, giving a platform to underrepresented voices within the creative community. Bringing 'BLUE NOW' to a global audience, the accompanying content hub on WePresent will act as a resource for readers around the world to learn about Derek Jarman’s 'Blue' and its resonance today ahead of the sold-out tour of 'BLUE NOW' live performances in May this year at leading cultural institutions in the UK.
The hub on WePresent is anchored by a series of essays and audio content wherein Bartlett and all cast members from the live performances—Russell Tovey, Travis Alabanza, Jay Bernard and Joelle Taylor—explore a theme within 'Blue' from the performer’s point of view. These are accompanied by animations by the artist Jenny Mascia.
Also commissioned by WePresent for the 'BLUE NOW' content hub is a short film directed by Dionne Edwards, featuring Bartlett and Tovey in conversation about their personal connection to Derek Jarman and Blue.
Holly Fraser, Editor-in-Chief of WePresent, says: “WeTransfer believes that creativity can change the world, a belief that Russell Tovey, this year’s Guest Curator, shares. Reinterpreting Derek Jarman’s “Blue” through live performance, digital storytelling and interactive design—what we have collectively called ‘BLUE NOW’—is an opportunity for people globally to revisit “Blue” and understand the context in which it was created: a tragic episode in human history where many people died from an invisible disease little understood at the time. Shining a light on this important work, by an important artist, will ensure that the talent and minds that we lost to the AIDS crisis will never be forgotten.”
Timed to the 30th anniversary of the original work’s completion, BLUE NOW reinterprets “Blue” through the words and voices of contemporary LGBTQIA+ artists who examine the larger narratives within: loss, love, the AIDS crisis, and intergenerational trauma that has trickled down to generations of queer artists.
The BLUE NOW experience is available via the dedicated content hub on WePresent.
WeTransfer presents a series of four live performances entitled “BLUE NOW,” a tribute to the artwork “Blue” by the British artist and filmmaker Derek Jarman. On the 30th anniversary of its completion, Neil Bartlett directs a live version of this seminal film entitled “BLUE NOW,” performed by Tovey alongside Travis Alabanza, Jay Bernard and Joelle Taylor. The performances will happen across the UK in May at leading art institutions: 7th May at Theatre Royal, Brighton; 13th May at Turner Contemporary, Margate; 21st May at HOME, Manchester; 27th May at Tate Modern, London. BLUE NOW is presented by WeTransfer in association with Fuel and Basilisk Communications. BLUE NOW is the first project yielded from Russell Tovey’s previously-announced guest curatorship of WePresent. The British actor, author, curator and co-host of the popular art podcast TalkArt is WePresent’s third guest curator, following successful year-long collaborations with artists Marina Abramović and Solange Knowles. BLUE NOW is the first of three projects releasing this summer under the curatorship, with each sharing culturally significant narratives from the LGBTQIA+ community, as told through art.
WeTransfer streamlines the workflow process for millions of creative professionals. Its ecosystem of creative productivity tools makes it easy to collaborate, share and deliver work. WeTransfer has more than 80 million monthly active users in 190 countries. As a certified B Corporation™, WeTransfer has long been a champion of using business as a force for good. Since its founding in 2009, WeTransfer has donated up to 30% of its advertising space to support artists and social causes. Last year, WeTransfer also launched its Supporting Act Foundation to support emerging creative talent through arts education, grants, and an annual prize.
WePresent is WeTransfer’s arts platform, acting as the company’s cultural torchbearer to a monthly audience of approximately 3 million in 190 countries. Collaborating with emerging young talent to renowned artists such as Marina Abramović, Riz Ahmed, FKA twigs or David Sedaris, WePresent showcases the best in art, photography, film, music, literature and more, championing diversity in everything it does. The platform’s commissions range from editorial features to films, illustrations, photography series, events, and exhibitions, with an aim to offer a fresh take on the magic and mystery of creative ideas. WePresent were the commissioners and Executive Producers of the acclaimed short film “The Long Goodbye” by actor and musician Riz Ahmed and director Aneil Karia, which won an Oscar in 2022 for Best Live Action Short Film.