Maps for the Coldest Week of the Year

The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe is in the process of creating an exciting project loosely revolving around the concept of maps, as a central theme to engage more directly in looking at a what sort of values we feel a future world should be founded upon, in reflection of the undisputable current political and cultural crises.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the visual style of my maps of the everyday. Here are 3 maps from the coldest week of the year so far.


leeds november

leeds november 2




Recent attempts to map memories of the present

These are works that are building towards a larger project, that if it sticks to it’s course, will be named ‘A Revolt Against our Ghosting’ to argue that the current (faltering) ideological reality de-centres and marginalises us all (to massively varying degrees) through processes that make the space we occupy seem beyond our comprehension, creating anxieties and encouraging privatised living. This project is part of a wider collective project, that will become more clear and present within these blogs in coming months.

I'm still here (12.11.17)





Digital Flattening – Inspired by John Ledger

It was last year sometime on a trip to Manchester that John brought up the notion that older tech had a strange flattening effect when you zoomed in. An almost digital rendering of time and space, and or a metaphor for the ‘flattening’ or ‘smoothness’ within which the cognitive capitalist realism erodes a sense its own horizon. John’s words have inspired me to carry on this project within RBATEOTU. Here is my curated selection.

These images are places and artworks or are they simply images and compositions.

Milly-Molly-Mandy Remembered.

I don’t remember being given Milly-Molly-Mandy. Just that she was one of three favourite childhood toys (the second being a bear I got for my birthday named Birthday Bear, the other an anomalously stuffed Troll Doll called Huggable). She was named after my favorite character, Milly-Molly-Mandy, the namesake of my favorite childhood book. Milly-Molly-Mandy was a Blyton-esque explorer of the mundane. Her eating a jacket potato becoming an exceptional favourite, which I obsessed over and underwhelmingly dubbed “Milly-Molly-Mandy potatoes”.

<p><a href=”″>Milly-Molly-Mandy gets Loaded and Other Stories</a> from <a href=”″>Rebekah Whitlam</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I’ve been told that we had “absolutely nothing” when I was born in 1984, my mum admitting she cried when the orange cordial split because we couldn’t afford another one. But my earliest memories are cemented by an unwavering, have-it-all, go-getting spirit of the 90s. I could be whoever, or whatever I wanted to be. “If I put my mind to it”. And there was nothing to worry about because of another golden ticket- “It all works out in the end”.


Selected memories from the never-ending 90s. 

1990 Sat crossed legged in Y.3. John Major becomes Prime Minister.

1992 The Big Breakfast airs on channel 4.

1993 Live and Kicking with Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston take over Saturday morning t.v.

1994 FHM coins the term “ladette”. TLC release Crazy Sexy Cool.

1995 Hooch is launched in Britain.

1996 The Spice Girls debut with “Wannabe” and Geri Halliwell cites Thatcher as a pioneer of girl power. New Labour release their manifesto.

1997 I draw a life map in R.E. According to me, I will hit all life’s aspirations by the age of 27. Graduated, Employed, Married, Mortgaged, and Mothered. I pencil in questioned likelihood of an after life.

That same year I start to attract the attention of boys that smell of Lynx Africa and chewing gum.


1998 We get a computer and the internet. I get drunk in the park. I’m too sick to go on a school trip to Alton Towers.

1999 Destiny’s Child release The Writings On The Wall. I get a mobile phone for Christmas.

2000 The Spice Girls go on a hiatus.

2002 Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes dies in a car accident.

2003 I get pulled in by the head of year to discuss my future. I don’t know yet. I defer a year.

2004 I become so anxious that I stop eating and sleeping. Put on anti depressants. Go to Australia. I start an art foundation course.

2005 Brian Harvey runs himself over after gorging on jacket potatoes. I start my degree.

2006 I drop out. Go to therapy.

2007 I Go back to university. The Spice Girls reunite.

2008 Recession hits. We enter an age of austerity and a generation becomes witness to an event horizon from which lynx and lager cannot escape.


Images from mixed media installation, Milly-Molly-Mandy Gets Loaded and Other Stories, by Rebekah Whitlam, from the exhibition, Will the Last Person To Leave The 20th Century Please Turn Off the Lights, Baildon, July, 2017.





Milly-Molly-Mandy gets Loaded and Other Stories – Rebekah Whitlam

Punch-Drunk Utopianism

<p><a href=”″>Milly-Molly-Mandy gets Loaded and Other Stories</a> from <a href=”″>Rebekah Whitlam</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Video work by Rebekah Whitlam based on her installation for Will the last person to leave the 20th century please turn off the lights? an exhibition staged by our collective  The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe

Thanks to Adam Weikert for the soundtrack (and TLC).

Baildon,July 2017

A mixed media installation exploring a nations 21st century come down from 20th century neoliberal hedonism. A new generation of adults become petrified in 90s juvenility. Numbers in anxiety, depression, ADHD, and liver disease have doubled over the past 30 years. We’re broke, confused, and desperately scrambling for the exit.

View original post

Don’t Look Back in Grandeur

Punch-Drunk Utopianism

<p><a href=”″>Dont Look Back in Grandeur (2017)</a> from <a href=”″>John Ledger</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Don’t Look Back in Grandeur (title by DS Jarvis) was a videowork quickly thought up for the introductory section to the ‘exhibition space’ inWill The Last Person To Leave The 20th Century Please Turn out The Lights? – an event staged by the collective ‘the Retro Bar at the End of the Universe, in a disused pub within the eerie and unidentified West Yorkshire metropolis.

This introductory space became a quick response to the sense of structural ‘unraveling’ occurring around us in the months of May and June. Across from the videowork is an installation of blog-article ‘The End of The Long 90’s’, posted by Rick of Flipchartfairytales in the week we had a potentially game-changing General Election, and the farcical and despicable tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London.

Obviously in…

View original post 236 more words

How Did I Get So Old? (pre-GE2017 musings)

Punch-Drunk Utopianism

I really wanted to make more of this project before the election day, but the things I had been documenting spread into a project I felt I couldn’t reasonably complete in the time space left. I had been making narrated maps and compiling photographs from the 7th May onwards, but to post them all now would just the equivalent of showing the teacher all the ‘hard work’ i’d been doing in the past month in the hope that I could pass the GE2017 exam, and not have to face the tidal wave of bickering sounds that’s building.

I begin with the series of maps I made during the last month, and conclude with a short piece of writing I have cobbled together within the last week, as I tried to make sense of the chaotic, month, year, century leading up to now.

In a Barnsley Wetherspoons the ‘Love Manchester’…

View original post 1,712 more words

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.