Thursday, 19 October 2017

Art and the corrupting power of the market

Reading about Hito Steyerl I found the desire to reclaim the experience of art exciting but I began to recollect a discussion I had attended about theory communiste, which advocates the creation of instantaneous revolution rather than the production of preparatory propaganda for a revolution of the future. The power of the institution is upheld by direct protest art like the songs of the proles. This is what Orwell revealed when Winston and Julia betray Love in 1984. It's what one might call fucking self-neutering art. Art belongs to a realm beyond and outside of the institution accessed from the gaps in the fabric of its all enveloping mesh. Art understands the language of the soul or perhaps it is that but only by virtue of appearing in the gaps in the living society. The problem is that much time and effort is spent reacting against the patriarchal institution and yet much of this this effort by attempting to adopt a cynical or aggressive stance, rejects the soul in equal measure thus only serves to maintain the equilibrium of the institution's power.

Trying to force people to see the cracked mirror of the toxic nature of the institution via critique or detournement will only ever result in the institutions continued power. We can decide to move towards what we might do if this were not the case. To make a non-bifurcated art that refuses the institutional divisions of mind and body - science and nature - reason and poetry - emotion and thinking. Rather than make art "about" these things one can only make art that embodies this and make it visible in such a way that encourages a multi-modal way of engaging.

Dandelion Visions – William Blake and A. N. Whitehead

This is a multi-media interactive exhibition seeking through art and poetry to create a situation of entangled engagement between artists and the public. To organically disrupt the idea that art delivers a message rather than occurs within a living society. The exhibition seeks to grow beyond the walls of the conventional split of subject and object or mind and body and tries to offer a multi-modal way of being.
Inspired by William Blake the exhibition attempts to marry his fourfold vision with A N Whitehead’s idea of non-bifurcated thinking or “process reality”. Blake’s image of Newton is a vision of the fixed detachment of Enlightened frameworks, which fossilise or abstract the process of culture and life that it may be analysed. This state of stasis (essential to data processing) has the affect of not only alienating the public from art but each other too.

The exhibition is more of an on going occasion into which artists and public alike enter, reporting back on epiphanies and discoveries. It seeks to explore Blake’s idea that we imagine our realities outwards and workshops of poetry and object making add to a blurring of the distinction between the viewer and the creator. Consisting of work from all over the world the exhibition gathers around a central installation, The Nonbifurcatedman, propelling us via hyper-drive back into nature. As well as guiding the visitor into the space the central motif of the dandelion seed is used as an emblem for the spread of a collective creative imagination – so vital to a shared sense of connectedness.

The role of an artist is in some respects not to create a framework but to reveal it and in doing so offer what Duchamp refers to as a “way out through a clearing”. As Einstein joined time and space, A. N. Whitehead took the idea of relativity and asked us to reframe objects as events not static abstractions. This living state is underpinned by the concept of the soul for both Blake and Whitehead. The soul, so superfluous in an age of data and meaningless detachment, is the only thing that makes the equations of entanglement add up.

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities attended a recent event based around the idea and commented “I think if it doesn’t touch your soul, there’s no point, and that did. I think it’s fantastic having it [the exhibition] here in the library, it makes it accessible. Art and poetry, it’s for everyone, isn’t it. Here at the library it’s open doors, open dreams, open boxes of dreams and aspirations.”
I am not an illusion by Arzu Kiraner at Bognor Regis Library Sep 2017

the nonbifurcatedman Bognor Regis Library September 2017

Friday, 13 October 2017

Human Beans were put on this earth

Human beans were put on this earth

To learn to find the ending of a roll of


To hear the sound of goats’ bells as

they make good their escape

To learn to spot their luggage on a

moving carousel

To learn to read expressions and eye

brow tics as well

To walk around full circle Til youre

back where you began

To rescue eggs for turtles

With an exiled Syrian man

To bemoan the lack of signage on

railway platform walls

To fall in love with a cleric who wont

return your calls

To instigate a transfer that’s a record

breaking deal

To own a long haired hamster

That gets caught in its wheel

To compile an algorithm of the latest


Tell children theyre forgiven for the

stunts they pull at school

To grow tomatoes in a green house

Because you like the smell

Of bloody marys in the morning

And the theme to William tell

To learn to conquer evil in the

driving rain

And free a tangled seagull

Then hold it until its tame

To fall foul of a neighbour whose

fiddling the system

And plays the pipe and tabor to

disseminate his wisdom

To soothe a restless poet who likes to

quote from Prufrock

And buy a boat then row it to the

mermaids out on their rocks

To learn to play piano In a fetid

darkened room

To gaze up at the northern lights

Whilst returning to the womb

To espy a skein of geese

Flying in a v formation

And declare your love on bended

knee for a girl above your station

To find a broken record

You never knew you owned

And find a way to fix it with a glue

from singers bones

To facilitate exchange of goods from

something you’ve been knitting

To see a tree fall in the woods right

where the bear is shitting

To correct an imperfection with the

tokens you have earned

To see the moons reflection just as

you back is turned

To lose all sense of bearings with a

lassie by your side

And walk deep into a forest with a

blind man as your guide

To climb Galata tower with visions of

a fall

Then leap off spreading eagles wings

when you hear the sirens call

To travel to a city where there is

displayed an ancient throne

And with a broken heart experiment

with being alone

To visit a seers garden by the ocean

in the rain

And borrow an umbrella from a

woman much in pain

to sleep naked under canvas when

the artist isn’t looking

Pretend to be a statue she made out

of some old stockings

Monday, 18 September 2017

Boris and The Living Society

It started long before her term in office but Margaret Thatcher along with Ronald Reagan cemented the idea in the public's consciousness that if we keep our heads then a financial framework will make everything make sense. The hard working will be rewarded and wealth will trickle down creating a balanced and harmonious… harmonious er… You see she said there is no such thing as society. I’m reminded of this by Boris’s revival of the £350,000,000 a day debacle. Yeah maybe we could spend all of that on the NHS but we will still be in a dark place. This is because the framework has made everyone and everything into an abstract contract. A remote means of communicating. I mean money was invented so one didn’t have to actually meet the person you were making the exchange with. You know the one I’ve got a chair and I want a saucepan but you want a chair but have a vase.  Money helps this scenario. But like a glacier carving out valley money has steadily built a deeper and deeper rift. Yes yes its useful but we need to take back control of human relations otherwise no amount of money will fix anything. High taxes are a leftist cliché but what high taxes actually do is relay the message that we are all connected and that if you would rather not be very rich rather than very very rich you have failed to see where your money came from in the first place – society. We are all mutually interconnected and have a responsibility to each other because that is where everyone’s living comes from. Boris is from the House of Thatcher and still believes that the abstract (seriously loaded) financial framework is the way humans connect not an actual living breathing society.

Monday, 28 August 2017

My Bed and Blake

According to the curators of the Tracey Emin and William Blake in Focus exhibition, the link between the two is existential pain leading to artistic truth. I'm not convinced Blake was a champion of existential suffering as a prerequisite to creating art. Yes he had an insight into suffering but he was more interested in revealing our access to the creative soul as a means of emancipation from the institutionalised oppression of the goal driven, patriarchal/bifurcated forces that shape society. My Bed in some respects is the ultimate in turning art/life into a fixed object rather than the process of living event. The subject object split is the error at the heart of the mechanistic model of the mind that leads to human oppression. To think in terms of fixed substances is useful for certain forms of processing such as shopping lists or auditing of munitions but is a completely dysfunctional mode when it comes to addressing metaphysical matters (see how an elephant becomes an aspirin via structuralist subject/object rationality).This really is what Blake was getting at when he spoke of the single vision of the rational man and the release of fourfold vision, which recognises the role played by the imagination in the creation of reality. To the single visionists this is madness because the subject object split demands a perpetual split or separation. It seems to be exactly this kind of split My Bed is offering as it sits inert sealed off with official boundary markers. 

Life as object

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Reinvention, Reincarnation and Pop Chameleons

The power of a new facial expression

SO this week sees the latest change of image from the nations beloved chameleon of pop. What do you make of this new incarnation?

Well the shape shifting genius has done it again haven’t they? I mean would you have thought this was remotely possible?

I don’t know would you? Is it the trousers or the extra layer of eye shadow that has facilitated this rug-pulling event?

 I think is essentially something more superficial than that. Or perhaps a combination of the two.  The sleeveless jump suit could also have a major influence in the way the public perceive this tectonic shift though.

But it’s not a new thing is it? I mean after all many musician have played with their image and the idea of celebrity haven’t they? Haven't they?

Yes that’s true. Take Tony Hadley for instance he started off wearing tartan blankets and then morphed into a kind of city man suit-wearing persona. Or even someone like Toyah who entranced the public with her new wave sylph incarnation then became something totally different. Or look at Kim Wilde who was a kid in American with big hair and then became a more mumsy gardener type.

So what you’re saying essentially is that pop stars have reincarnated themselves since time immemorial. That even when Socrates was tuning into Greek totps there was this sense that the pop star was searching for some kind of essential substance beyond the accidental qualities such as hair style or height of heel?

That’s exactly what I’m saying and Madonna of all people highlighted how it is a mistake to seek an essential substance rather than process. She proved this with her hit song Vogue “don’t just stand there” she said “let’s get to it. Strike the pose there’s nothing to it”. A rallying cry if ever there was one to see the pop-star as an event rather than an object.

So really what we are seeing with this latest transmogrification is a return to something essential. A reaching out to the “other” of the self, which stands beyond the male thrust of chronological time?

Well perhaps not quite that but definitely a change of make-up application as well as a vaguely different facial expression in the publicity shots.

Ah well you’ve caught the mood entirely there and we haven't even mentioned Lady Gaga's meat blouse. So quite how the public will respond to this mythic volte-face remains to be seen thanks and farewell.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Vivarium Area

You are in the car reception
Waiting for your car to be serviced
 Your crutch is on the carpet tile covered floor
Beside you
You glimpse its large grey rubber end on the taupe texture of the tiles
Stout and reassuring
Is it you or the car that is being treated you wonder
The car is having the oil changed
It costs an arm and leg
You dislocated your ankle on holiday
It felt like a chicken bone when you carve the Sunday dinner
Schlplop it went as it slid back into place
Like a miracle
The car that caused your fall then drove off
It didn’t hit you
Just threw you off balance
You can bet they didn’t fancy that litigious look in your eye
As you lay flat on the tarmac
Then rose like the dying Gaul
To stare in disbelief at the new angle of your ankle
Then that schplop as it slid back
And here you are now back in England
Waiting in a car garage for your car
Your crutch at your side
Mosquito bites on your legs
Soaring to strange heights of irritability
Pulp on the in-house music system
Someone here likes indie
Indie music you think
Don’t you make indie music?
Not long till your car is ready though.
And you can go back to your sons
The sons who carried you home after you fall
Stay calm your son advised
It was like an update on that Rolf Harris song
Is he okay to mention?
Or is that memory now off limits
It used to make you cry
At least you didn’t sing Jake the Peg on Stars in their Eyes
You think
Like Jarvis
The indie singer who used to come to your gigs

The elderly lady opposite
Across the taupe carpet tiles
Has swollen ankles
The kind yours reminds you of
But then you also see she has a tattoo on her ankle
An elderly lady with a tattooed ankle you think
Trying not to stare now
She has rose tinted spectacles though
perhaps you look better from where she is?
The indie music is growing tinier
The tiled ceiling stretches off above you
Into auto heaven eternity
And the sun heats the plate glass cube
Where you the lizard man
Sit breathing in the vivarium

Trying not to stare
Like the lizard you saw on the deck
Back by the pool
You had gotten very close
Saw the miniature suckers on its feet
Saw its heart rapidly beat
Looked him in the eye
As he shuddered
Like a lucky bag toy
Came back the next day too

To see you off on your last day.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

We shape our tools and our tools shape us

The mobile phone can take photos. 
We shape our tools and our tools shape us
Really detailed instant photos. 
We work out too and our tools shape up
So posing for a selfie is a reflex mode. 
We shape our truth and our truth shapes us
Hugging a friend in an instant well drilled repose. 
We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
We live in a realm mapped by the snaps we take. 
We shape our tools and the tools shape us
But what if mobile phones had been really good at testing air pollution as a side product?
We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
Or were easily adapted to being phasers set to stun?
We shape our tools and the tools shape us

Or mind reading devises?
Or instant Voice translators?
Or peace negotiating ambassadors?
Or lie detectors?
Or instant truth deliverers?
Or Ghost revealers?
Or God messengers?
Or parallel dimension portal openers?
We shape our tools and our tools shape us.
Instead we have learned to live with the ever-present photo opportunity
Narcissus what in our wisdom terwit terwoo do to deserve this?
We shape our tools and the tools shape us