DUTY NOW FOR THE FUTURE

 

This is a revised version of Duty Now for the Future an article commissioned by Collecteurs NY to help launch its SUBSTANCE 100 initiative . The original article was written before the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the UK , Europe and the USA. Duty Now for the Future 2.0 is a call for everyone in the art world to finally wake up to our responsibilities in a world there can be no going back to the crass inequity of our lives before Corona virus.

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Street art is an essential part of the Creative Class narrative. Every city has ‘up-and-coming’ areas clad from shop shutters to back alleys, sides of dilapidated buildings to shifty-looking subways, in what has become known as street art. This article argues that the now almost globally ubiquitous street art ‘movement’ has evolved from its roots in class and race conflict and anti-gentrification activism to become a perfect foil for neoliberal capitalism, forming a ‘gritty’ yet colourful backdrop to the Creative City ‘New Bohemias’ that seem to pop-up in every city, everywhere on the planet: a perfect tool in gentrifiers’ artwashing arsenals.READ MORE

I had a conversation with fellow artist Martin Daws back in 2016. He had a great idea. imagine if artists were employed, full-time to work in communities? We worked on it. Martin then wrote a guest blog here in 2017.

This article sets out how we could easily and relatively cheaply employ artists in everyday community and how such a simple, yet radical system would create just the sort of transformative cultural change that is at the heart of Arts Council England’s new 10-year strategy, Let’s Create.READ MORE

This article is my response to the shocking “artist brief” recently published by Wiltshire Council asking for a “volunteer community artist” to do what is clearly a paid piece of work. It’s an example of the increasingly commonplace substitution of properly paid work for artists with free labour dressed up as volunteering.READ MORE

This is my attempt to explain the horror I feel witnessing the crass appropriation of a boat on which over 800 people (lumped together under the universally belittling term “migrants”) died when it sank in 2015 as an art object at this year’s Venice Biennale. I’m REALLY angry!

“OUR BOAT”: ZOMBIE ART BIENNALE TURNS VENICE INTO THE ISAND OF THE LIVING DEAD


Barca-Nostra-Christoph-Buchel-Brings-a-Shipwreck-to-Venice-1200x675.jpg Barca-Nostra-Christoph-Buchel-Brings-a-Shipwreck-to-Venice-1200x675.jpg

“Barca Nostra” was installed at the Arsenale for this year’s Venice Art Biennale a few days ago.… READ MORE

This is the text from my workshop “Caught doing social work?” which was part of Manifesta 12’s M12 Education Club conference in Palermo on 19th October 2018. The workshop was held in the community centre in the ZEN social housing project. The text was used as mini provocations which led to a really interesting discussion about instrumentalism of the arts and artists, gentrification and artwashing.READ MORE

I presented this paper at Art and the Urban symposium at Senate House last week. It reflects some of my PhD research.


Screenshot from 'Birdhouse in Your Soul' (Official video) by They Might Be Giants. Screenshot from 'Birdhouse in Your Soul' (Official video) by They Might Be Giants.

Screenshot from ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul’ (Official video) by They Might Be Giants.

ARTWASHING SOCIAL SPACE

Fifty years ago, Henri Lefebvre wrote that ‘Everyday life, the social territory and place of controlled consumption, of terror enforced passivity, is established and programmed … [so that] as a social territory it is easily identified, and under analysis it reveals its latent irrationality beneath an apparent rationality, incoherence beneath an ideology of coherence, and sub-systems, or disconnected territories linked together only by speech’ (1968).… READ MORE

This is a transcript of my paper I presented at the Edge | Situated Practice conference at Here East on Saturday 7th October 2017.  The conference was organised by the UCL Urban Laboratory and the Folkestone Triennial, with additional support from the Bartlett School of Architecture and Slade School of Fine Art. READ MORE

ABSTRACT  

This article seeks to reveal the limitations of state-initiated arts and cultural projects as well as spurious notions of ‘empowerment’ by examining them in terms of homogeneity, universality and technocracy.  It focuses on issues of instrumentalism with the arts and explores how state-initiated ‘community engagement’ programmes like Creative People and Places may effectively reproduce state agendas linked to social capital theory and thereby to neoliberalism. … READ MORE