—Issue 1, November 2017
Editors Letter (i)
The wording of the revised Prevent Duty Guidance for Scotland (2015) specifically refers to “Islamist extremists”, “The white supremacist ideology” and “The threat from terrorism relating to Northern Ireland” - in which there are “several dissident republican groups”. According to the guidelines, “The Government has defined extremism under the Prevent Strategy as: “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”. There is a group operating by assimilations of these values nested in our educational institutions.
You’re feeling like you’ve walked into a trap; Claydon knows what he’s doing; and it’s a very important experiment which needs powerful objects to collide. He says in the museum an object loses “its efficacy or its agency but it’s gained another kind of agency of cultural commodity or mouthpiece”. He says like a “moon rock or a lute from the 15th century”, he does not say ‘but better still my art needs objects charged with exotic energy’. Through his desire to reanimate these appropriated objects his work in fact re-enacts the deadening energy of the museum without disrupting it.
In the case of Deutsche Bank, the synthesis of leisure and labour acquires such an enhanced form, that one can adopt the term ‘playbour’. Coined by video-game theorist Julian Kucklich, this portmanteau initially refers to a form of leisure — mainly video games or social networks —, which is co-opted as a form of labour. The playbour pivots on the willingness of web fans, “who do not necessarily see their input as being directly valuable, or themselves as being exploited as a source of free labour”.
In the photograph, we have taken a step back, with the backs of the jubilant crowds turned to us. Their dark obsession with nuclear energy is revealed; the subject of this image is not the monument, rather mankind revelling in its abilities. Oppenheimer said “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”, and here we see the crowd give him a standing ovation. The monolithic memorial rises above their heads, interfering with the boundless expanse of white sky, and it seems to me to be humanity, putting their hand up to show nature what they can do too.
Art school seems to make a duty out of an ‘art’ way of thinking, allotting time and records and outcomes to prove that Art has been done. Say even in a geographical sense: the school provides a studio space for us to produce and work in to complete our degree in Art, separate to our private dwelling place where we fulfil our lives, this therefore prescribes a dichotomic art production/private life mode of living, the equivalent of the expected office/home system of economy that divides human existence into two separate parts, working and leisure. It’s here that I’ve been struggling to find the singing heart of making art, the poetic life of functionless creation.
Furthermore, the dissemination of these false images has enabled Aung San Suu Kyi to claim that all evidence of state-sponsored systematic ethnic cleansing is ‘fake news’. Consequently, Suu Kyi and the Burmese military leadership can sustain a frankly delusional denial of mass human rights abuses. The destabilisation of evident ‘truth’ pioneered by Postmodernism was initially imbued with emancipatory impetus and inspired many post-colonial movements and gender studies to de-naturalise seemingly universal truths and expose the power structures they sustain. Yet it has now provided politicians with an insidious political tool for legitimising challenges and preserving their own power.
It’s a nerve-racking act, to bare oneself, to bare one’s style. It’s publicising the very specific method of faking that the performer employs, both in their artistic and social life. This doesn’t elevate style over substance, rather it realises that style is substantial. Art, and writing, is perhaps not so much about exhibiting what you know but expressing how you came to know it.