So, ok.

As moments of a terrible nature strive for the lime light. As hate and devision prevails born from a world which is fundamentally in contradiction with itself. We must find a form of dysfunctional unity. If we are to learn anything from the past it is surely that tolerance, freedom and basic moral judgment of human kind,  must transcend all naive political tendency. No matter the failings of the West (and there are so many) it is time to join in a collective moment which stops this cycle. The evil acts of the few illogical and inhuman persons on many sides of the political spectrum need to be seen as what they truly represent! A world in pain from ideological stupidity which should have been iradicated in the last century. It’s a fucking disgrace that people can actually act and speak of hate against a fellow person in the way that they do. If we see ourselves as a ‘civilised’ species and want to evolve past the next 50 to a hundred years we need have a good bloody look at ourselves in the proverbial mirror! A moral and ethic, basic human law, implemented world wide, is what is needed in order to move into the next stage of the anthropescene. To avoid complete inhalation we need to come together and drop all deplorable prejudice. This is incredibly difficult as everyone must have a voice. However, if a truly evolved species can move beyond the Kardashev type 1 scale of civilisation (harness the energy emitted from its parent star) this is a political necessity. This hyperthetical agreement cannot be avoided in order for our survival to occur. 

The politics and neoliberalism of the last half of the 20th Century has resulted in further devision as forced globalisation. In turn, this has fostered an enterprise culture which serves shareholders and the individual singularly at societal expense. This of course isn’t the full picture. Many global corps do contribute. However, capitalist drive cannot have a moral dimension simply by the fact it is pure drive and a money making machine. What is needed is a socialist capitalism and a new order of politics which can be democratic without being discriminate and divisive. 

A plea by John Wright. 


University of Leeds- Arts, Humanities and Cultures Poster Conference 27/10/16

poster-for-ahcc-2-copy-2About this Poster

This poster serves as a micro experiment within my research. Through exploring a form of collaboration and audience participation i.e. creating a narrative through the syntactical dislocation of another author’s text, I hope to question the boundaries of where a collective is located as opposed to a participatory artwork . This is  a stand-alone action within the collective. This concept raises questions of authorship, what is a collective and what isn’t, issues surrounding collective experience and the work plays on the dialectical notion of artists/artwork/viewer/site.

 

unnamed
Conference View

In a sense this work exists within the collective, instigated by a member. However, it also exists externally in a ‘common’ space of the conference. The participants fostered a collaboration with the work as a process never becoming a part of the ‘collective’ as they remain anonymous.

 

poster-for-ahcc-2-copy
Result

The next stage is to propose a reading of the work or a response within the collective. I open this out to John Ledger and D.S Jarvis- What do you think?

The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe – A Manifesto

On the 23rd of June 2016 the world held its breath to see what would unfold during the UK vote to remain or leave the European Union. The markets had been momentarily inflated, in the hours leading up to the beginning of the result. Sterling had risen to 1.4883 against USD, as trading closed on the evening of 23rd of June 2016.[1] The markets had been buoyed by polling data which suggested a slim majority to the Remain campaign.[2] As the voting closed and the first results trickled commentators began to suggest that the result may have shifted to the leave campaign. This situation was compounded by Sunderland’s majority decision to leave during the early results.[3]

As the picture became clear and the magnitude of the result struck the nation. The aftermath began! The markets plummeted to a record low, an estimated $2 trillion wiped of the stock markets and Japan momentarily stopped trading with the UK.[4] This event not only had economic reverb around the world but it began to affect the political and social spheres. As the Prime Minister, David Cameron resigned on the morning of the 24th of June 2016 the political infighting became public and the ugliness ensued.

It is this level of uncertainty spreading throughout Europe, which is threatening to completely destabilise the global outlook. To highlight all the complexities leading to this situation is not possible within this manifesto, as one would be here for an age. However, what is apparent is the referendum, with binary opposition of in or out, has manifest as a Super Massive Event.

Super massive events, such as the EU referendum, can be traced throughout history akin to nodes or junction boxes. These discursive events can result in cultural ‘ripples’ which exert a force upon the interconnections between; cultural spheres, subjects and fields.  Dr Gillian Rose is a pioneer of the human social geography which aims to discover the often ‘hidden’ spatial components to social phenomena. In her book, Feminism & Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge, Rose argues one such hidden aspect is identity or more precisely how one positions oneself to one another.  Rose forwards, ‘that identity is relational’. [5] Further she suggests that identity is dependent upon how one perceives oneself to be similar to someone else or how they may differ. Social Geography’s account of the space within society and in particular how human agency can distinguish one space from another, along with creating different spaces, is an important theoretical structure for analysing super massive events, in particular by focusing in on the space in which they immediately occupy, or the locale (ground zero).

When considering the primary cultural space with which the referendum occupies, one must focus on the binary nature of the event simultaneously sparks an overt level of division and then deconstructs itself. Argument and counterargument begin to unravel as one can discern positives within negatives and vice versa. One example of this is both ‘sides’ agree there is a need for some kind of reform within the way power is distributed. The Remain campaign wants to reform laws and the UK’s relationship within the EU. Similarly, the Leave campaign is not happy with the status quo and wants to change its relationship by severing the UK from the Union. Ultimately, this is about control they both want the same end, it is just the method which differs.

These binary oppositions and complexities amass under the surface, they constitute the event. They are partly the reason why social media, traditional media outlets and broadcasters have been able to ‘market’ and ‘promote’ the event to such a wide audience. On the surface the debate seemed simplistic, a simple in or out. As a result, the referendum went viral on a global scale and a Super Massive Event developed.

It is socio-political discourse, or perhaps deeper a shift on an epistemological level, which has sparked the cultural conditions of which we now find ourselves a collective. This collective entitled The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe (TRBEU) aims to impress its agency upon this state of play.[6]

This Project is part of a research-led investigation into the ‘state of play’. The investigation consists primarily of a dialogue between artist-curator John Wright (I), artist John Ledger and more recently D S Jarvis. This dialogue has come to fruition under the umbrella title The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe. It is an investigation into the profound state of precarity and ‘stuckness’ which we experience within contemporary life. This is articulated by Ivor Southwood. Southwood takes a comprehensive look into the situation of the “deep paralysis of thought and action” caused by the “ideologically constructed” landscape of precarity.[7] This affects mainly the younger generation of workers, but it is increasingly dragging even more people into a role, which economist Guy Standing suggests is the ‘Precariat‘, replacing the older term for the working class, the proletariat.[8]

The aim of the project is to create a space where artists and creatives feel comfortable and can come together in collaboration to realise projects which often become pushed out of mind for multiple reasons: financial, need of space or lack of curatorial help. The aim is to open a dialogue to help realise and foster their ideas and conceptual longings.

Super Massive Events become part of TRBEU’s subject matter; the referendum beyond, the binaries of negative or positive, maybe the closure of a particular historical discourse which doesn’t suggest an ‘end’ but a movement to a different cultural space.

 

 

 

[1] Pound Sterling live, Historical Rates for the GBP/USD currency conversion on 23 June 2016 (23/06/2016). <https://www.poundsterlinglive.com/best-exchange-rates/british-pound-to-us-dollar-exchange-rate-on-2016-06-23> [accessed 22/07/2016].

[2] BBC, Referendum Poll Tracker <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36271589> [accessed 22/07/2016].

[3] The Independent, EU Referendum Sunderland Result < http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/eu-referendum-sunderland-result-vote-brexit-leave-live-latest-remain>   [accessed 22/07/2016].

[4]  Wearden, G; Fletcher, N, The Guardian, Brexit panic wipes $2 trillion off world markets – as it happened   <https://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2016/jun/24/global-markets-ftse-pound-uk-leave-eu-brexit-live-updates > [accessed 22/07/2016].

[5] Gillian, Rose, Feminism & Geography: The Limits of Geographical Knowledge (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2013). p.5.

[6] The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe (TRBEU) – The title is homage to Douglas Adam’s, Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, in the series a restaurant is located at the end of the Universe. The retro bar, in this case replaces the restaurant. The absurdity, of this entity is a metaphor for the current age.

[7] Ivor, Southwood, Non-Stop Inertia (Oxon : John Hunt Publishing (0-Books), 2011), p.4.

[8] Guy, Standing, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2011).

Drinking Equation, images by Dave Jarvis


Images in order top to bottom (Spinal Final, The Jealousy of Vader, Think Big, The King Punched and Down Town Planes)

Drink, Drink….Drink!!!! These are images made “in/at” The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe. ….hypothetically. Basically they are made up mathematic equations, they make no sense at all….or do they? (They dont!!) I suppose they attempt to poke fun at Capitalisms seriousness… its need to believe inits own importance. Mathematics, I think, is the only language capable of being fully completed under Capital, think of the Higgs Boson…..described by numbers or quantum computing…..using numbers even the markets use of high speed trading, Numbers have been subverted into a weapon for the exclusive use of the 1%. Also the spontaneous nature of there production creates unusual visual narratives so i try to show my thoughts on this by using images and a careful title

Non Stop Inertia: A stuck record ( Leeds Art Gallery 2014)

Excerpt from my dissertation Antimonies and Paradox: The Artist the Institution and Language. This post is intended to give further depth to the work John Ledger, Dave Jarvis and I have been under-taking. This text refers to a previous incarnation of Non Stop Inertia: A stuck record performed at the Leeds Art Gallery in 2014.

The work is titled Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record, this title is important as it demonstrates the methodology at play.[1] One has fused together Ivor Southwood’s concept of the ideological state of uncertainty and 24/7 rolling news platforms and the concept of  ‘always on’ that dominates the state of affairs, with Morris’s quote ‘a stuck record’. This title has another layer of meaning and interconnectivity for the idea of a stuck record of iterability, constantly repeating the same action is echoed in Southwood’s work, ‘perpetual job seeking’ and ‘continual restless movement’ are the traits of this age of uncertainty. Southwood argues that this paradigm causes ‘deep paralysis of thought’ disguised as the constant ‘now’. [2]

The intervention, in question here, was carried out at Leeds Art Gallery on the 18th of July 2014. The event was comprised of a filmed philosophical discussion between both participants. The discussion revolved around the very discourses involved in this dissertation. The visitors to the gallery were encouraged to interrupt the discussion. A sign was erected outside the gallery space to give the audience some leading sentences or questions. The event lasted for 1 hour, the generally excepted unit of time on which employees pay is based. Both performers had their mobile phones switched on.

In Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record one inhabits multiple positions as an academic for the performance is conceptualised through study at Leeds University. As a curator, in the sense that one is curating a performance and has instigated a dialogue with a gallery to curate a temporary event, an artwork, in the institution that involves collaboration with said institutions resident curatorial/educational staff. The artistic practice is the action/ event itself, an element of which as Morris, Lacan, Lyotard and Derrida suggest, moves beyond linguistic language. This dissertation therefore is both informed and becomes complicit with the artwork itself and it cannot be separated into different discourse. The role one occupies informs the work itself. The questions that one is forwarding, which are both evident within this dissertation and on the recording of the event, appendix [10], are directed at the nature of the ‘role’ itself thus one moves into a space between theory and practice that is neither fully one or the other, thus deconstructing the opposition. As a result one begins to glimpse a sense of the state of affairs.

Collaboration is highly influential in this movement, as has been situated in Morris’s practice. One collaborates, through this form of expanded practice, with many different entities (these entities are in themselves connected). Firstly, the artist John Ledger as the other collaborator within the performance brings his own practice, political realities, ideas and concepts to the overall narrative direction of the work. Ledger writes in a blog about the performance, ‘With this performance being in a gallery institution, the predicament of the gallery worker (out of all service industry workers) seemed most appropriate’.[3] Ledger also works as a gallery assistant at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP); it is this role that inspired the concept of the event. Through discussion (in a joint place of work at YSP) with Ledger, the premises would be that the convocation (philosophising) would be carried out in the guise of invigilators. There were some ethical problems with this so this element wasn’t completely realised, although still alluded to within the performance. Interestingly, as with Morris’s work, who was assigned to what task becomes impossible to separate in this project, thus questioning the traditional positioning of the author and effacing pure presence. Morris and Southwood are also implicated within this work, if not directly, as one has collaborated with their ideas and concepts to such a level that it informs the artwork’s concept and methodology.

One also collaborates with the Leeds Art Gallery and more peripheral institutions such as YSP and Leeds University. Evans writes that the different platforms act in particular ways to carry one element of a narrative more productively than another. To this end the platform itself can add its own bias onto a narrative.[4] The institutions suddenly become more than just a platform they infect the work with their own discourse. This element is rendered as narrative, as in Leeds Art Gallery it is both visually present in the performance, verbally in the discussion and dissertation. It writes itself into the artwork and into one’s own practice.

The event itself could have been more ‘successful’ in terms of repeated interruptions by visitors to the gallery. This wasn’t within the control of the intervention and is the element of uncertainty within the work. Further to this, the type of interruption must be questioned. Throughout the duration of the intervention there were a number of non-verbal indirect interruptions including, filming technicalities (camera over heating), and movement of visitors around the space which resulted in one shifting position or becoming momentarily distracted. Random phone calls or texts interjected into the philosophising, which is a constant reminder that the world beyond what is physically present in that space and time, is occurring parallel to the event. It is this realisation of the other, of absence within presence and presence through an increase in the integration of technology within daily life, which Southwood is proposing, breaks down the capacity for original thought.

[1] John, Ledger, ‘Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record (performance)’ WordPress, (2014) < http://johnledger.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/non-stop-inertia-a-stuck-record-performance/ > [accessed 20/08/14], (para.6 of 6).

[2] Evans, ‘Transmedia Texts: defining Transmedia Storytelling’, pp. 19-40.

[3] John, Wright, and John, Ledger, Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record (2014) Leeds Art Gallery.

[4] Southwood, p.5.