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





Monday, 6 March 2017

Auto-destruction. Who or what are the Deadends?

The Deadends are perhaps a view of ourselves through the cosmic microwaves of time via a post-apocalyptic primordial telescope. We live in a state of self-hypnosis to permit our disavowal to frame our lives with perfectly engineered precision. We are all akin to the footballer who inhabits a Caravaggio painted mask of pleading sincerity to indicate that he played the ball despite having been pulling his opponents shirt for ten seconds. He believes he is correct in pleading to the referee’s sense of reason. This is clearly an evolutionary glitch that has us in its grip. This separation is what keeps us estranged from the very part of us that would reconnect us to the immediate embodied responsibility to each other. Each and every other.

Now here we will remain until more idiots claim to have a soul. This is Ginsberg saying something similar in the TLS in 1964

"The individual soul is under attack and for that reason a “beat” generation existed and will continue to exist under whatever name Rosey generation lost or as Kerouac once prophecied Found until it is found. The soul that is. And a social place for the soul to exist manifested in this world. By soul I mean, that which differs man from thing, i.e. person,—not mere mental consciousness—but feeling bodily consciousness."

The language of the soul is what will reconnect us but even the artists persist in speaking in the strangulated adenoidal mewl of the systematic mind. The systematic mind that insists on its right to disavowal and moral righteousness fuelled by charity donations and truthful communications on social media. As long as we know right from wrong we can go on maintaining this system of separation perfected.


Gustav Metzger makes art that addresses our separation and consequent lemming like movement towards self-destruction but this conceptualising as moving in a state of progress is part of the problem. More art needs to be speechlessly thunderstruck rather than reasonably ordered in such a way that we can carry on living in disavowal albeit with a feeling of self-satisfied detachment. Its a thought and we can speculate all we like at the Deadendings event on 12th March from 2-5pm at Studio One Gallery Wandsworth Plain SW18


Why should I care about the role played by the imagination in shaping reality? Such is our faith in the systematic convergence of data via the senses that we insist upon the illusion factor when confronted by the falsehoods the senses can muster at any time. Instead we might realise that actually it is collective imagination that shapes the world and consequently a sense of communality. We don’t trust the idea that the imagination is central to reality and having jettisoned it we are left instead with disavowal and self-deception, which we soothe with fantasy – the surrogate version of the imagination. Fantasy is an adjunct we see as being an escape from the harsh reality of black and white data. This is a trick we have played on ourselves in order to forget the idea that our imaginations could shape utopia. Yes utopia is nowhere but so is the universe without the imagination of the beholder.