I know a young man from my town who is also an artist, aspiring to make something out of it, but I find myself in dislike of him and, most annoyingly of all, I find myself envious of him. No matter what I base my principles on, I am envious of him because he is ‘going places’, in terms of success in an industrialised society; he is getting more publicity and recognition, far more than I.
First of all, perhaps it is best to explain him, and his situation, and then me, and my situation. This young man is an artist who adores the situation of the celebrity artist; he adores that presence, culture and the act of making bold attention-seeking art – which often seems to be more about gaining reaction and exposure than of the expression of something that one feels passionate/concerned about. He also supports the Tories (The UK conservative party) a vote that is in favour of all that is Capitalist – individualism gained through materialism and free market policies, which always lead to gaping divides in a society and, in late capitalism, a guilt-free idolisation of the celebrity figure.
I, on the other hand, make art as a result of a feeling of misplacement due to the late capitalist society, and as an epxression for a want of a change in society and the world. I am verging on having Marxist principles directly because of the negative affects late capitalism has had on me and, especially, on the planet.
Logically I want rid of the culture of Celebrity, yet I crave the attention that he (the other artist) is getting – all be it, only in a local newspaper of late. Why is this so? why do I crave to acquire the same things as a person who has arrogant and rude personality traits which I associate with a person who aims to achieve the wider recognition, which equates to fame? I believe the answer is: the desire to be famous is endemic and inescapable in the modern world.
Hundreds of years ago, before we had experienced industrialisation, most of us would have lived in small communities, which would have been largely separate and independent of other places. In these ‘smaller communities’, there would have been limited access and knowledge of the rest of the world’ our interactions with people (our piers) would have been solely based within the community – a relatively small number of people. We would have still had the desire to be recognised, respected, and possibly adored, but only by the small number of people in our horizons. In view of this; recognition on a larger scale would have been seldom desired.
The industrial world of today is very different from this world of past times. In Walter Benjamin’s ‘The work of art in the age of Mechanical reproduction’ he writes “When Marx set out to analyse the Capitalist mode of production, that mode of production was in its infancy”. I believe that Walter Benjamin was possibly urgently referring to the time he was writing in, the 1930’s, as a point at which the “mode of production” had much more fully realised itself; a lot of “The work of art in the age of Mechanical reproduction” focus’s on the recent technology of Film with sound. Although I found the ‘gist’ of the book very hard to explain in a linear fashion, I am starting believe that I am realising one of main points made, whilst writing this essay: the consequence’s of the completion of the capitalist-industrial-machine’s take-over of our lives – which when Benjamin wrote his essay, was through the mass projection of film with sound – were that we all, in industrialised nations, became imprisoned subjects to the desire to be recognised and respected by the entire population of the industrialised peoples; we all now had the desire to become what is now known as a celebrity, and many had no choice but to become the artist in the ‘looking glass’.
It is inescapable. In fact I believe that a strong resistance to it results in only a distorted version of the desire to be recognised – through the same ‘looking glass’ but trying to be rejection of it. These people, who become Marxists solely by their resistance to this Capitalist machine, are doomed to fail in their resistance, and are destined to be swallowed up by the machine and become, what we now call, a commodity themselves. I – even if I never reach this kind of recognition – am one of these people, and for this reason maybe I am a fool for proceeding with this resistance, and the artist whom I opposed in this essay, maybe he is the one with the intelligent approach?
None of us can escape the desire to be in the ‘looking glass’. No matter how hard we try to shut our eyes to the protruding celebrityism, there will always be at least one celebrity figure whom we desire to be in position of – for each and every one of us.
Presently, we are all now ‘enveloped’ into the latest process of the capitalist industrial machine: The Worldwide-web. I have tried to explain before how I believe that the industrialisation process, through what it forces the individual human being to sacrifice to become part of, is equal to Totalitarianism (I do not think that this parallel is overblown, as none of us are free or completely happy in an industrialised society unless we have adapted our minds and body’s to the ethos of industrial Capitalism, which, in effect, de-humanises, therefore making one into nothing more than a number, and this transformation into mere numbers is what typifies a totalitarian society) In this new advancement (the worldwide-web), resistance is, yet again, futile in the long term. On the Worldwide-web the real transformation has been through the creation of social networking sites. On these sites our inescapable desire to have to be recognised, is as close as t can be to being fully realised.
Social networking sites force us to feel that we have prove ourselves to a global community by notifying others on our existence, and the importance of it, through the application of updating our daily thoughts and the constant ‘badgering’ to acquire more friends to our community; The social networking site rapidly speeds up or inescapable need to be famously recognised. The current dominant networking site Facebook – through its mechanical thirst for growth – understands that resistance to the position from were we have to fight for the right to be recognised is completely futile, which is why it constantly ‘badgers’ active members to get their non-line friends to sign up, or ones already sign up to ‘be active’; this is evident currently, as on my account Facebook is constantly telling me to encourage my ‘least active’ network friends to ‘be more active’ – It will win in the end.
Anybody who currently isn’t on the dominant networking sites DON’T WORRY – one day soon you will be; just in the way that we are all subjected to constant television screens now, but we weren’t 70 years ago. The process in inevitable, unless something, such as climate change sticks a spanner in the works of it.
So, although my principles are of ‘Non publicity, non-celebrityism’, the reality of living in the industrialised society means that I crave the opposite; and I cannot escape this craving because it is a natural human want, to be acknowledged and respected by one’s surrounding community; it’s just that this community has now gone global. In a way, my beliefs/my principles prevent me from getting what I cannot help but crave, which is why I feel so envious and resentful when I see this other young artist – who’s beliefs and principles run fluidly along with this machine – get more recognition than I do.
AS PART OF OUR ‘TUNNEL VISION TO COPENHAGEN EXHIBITION’ WE ARE COMBINING OUR PRIVATE VIEWING EVENING WITH A MUCH LARGER AND GLOBAL EVENT. WWW.350.ORG HAS ORGANIZED A GLOBAL CANDLE LIT VIGIL, WHERE PEOPLE ACROSS THE WORLD UNITE TO BRING TOGETHER THEIR DEMANDS FOR RAPID AND DRASTIC ACTION ON CUTTING EMISSIONS AND SLOWING CLIMATE CHANGE.
350.ORG is named after the Parts Per Million of Carbon dioxide which we need to get down to to aim for safety – 350ppm. We are currently at 389ppm and rising into the wrong direction.
THIS EVENT WILL BE CLOSE TO CHRISTMAS, SO WE EXPECT TOWN TO QUITE BUSY. WE HOPE PEOPLE WILL DROP IN. EVEN IF YOU DO NOT LIKE OUR ART WORK, I HOPE YOU APPRECIATE THAT WE ARE TRYING TO BRING IMPORTANT ISSUES TO OUR HOME TOWN.
INFORMATION BELOW IS TAKEN FROM WWW.350.ORG – THE CLIMATE ACTION WEBSITE THAT IS COORDINATING THE GLOBAL VIGIL.
Here’s our sense of what will be happening at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, and why we’re hoping some of you will start or join a candlelight vigil at a strategic or iconic location in your community on Dec. 11th or 12th.
The weekend for these vigils falls smack in the middle of the two-week Copenhagen talks. President Obama just announced that he will visit Copenhagen on December 9th–and there’s no doubt that he’ll deliver a rousing and eloquent speech. The following day, December 10th, he’ll go on from Copenhagen to Norway to collect his Nobel prize.
We need to send a signal to say that speeches and prizes are good, but action is what’s really required–enough action to head us back towards 350 parts per million.
Obama will bring an emissions target to the table in Copenhagen, a bittersweet development in this political drama. Sweet because having any sort of commitment from the U.S. increases the chances of global collaboration on a climate deal, bitter because US emissions target represents a paltry 3% reductions below 1990 levels*–far from the ambitious cuts scientists say are necessary to get back to 350.
The United States now holds a big key to unlock this process, and we need Obama and the U.S. Congress to turn that key–which is why many of the candlelight vigils will take place at U.S. senate offices, and at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
The timing here is crucial: the vigils are part of a huge mobilization on the weekend of December 12th, mid-way through the negotiations. The climate talks will build to a head a few days later, as our allies and champions–people like President Nasheed of the Maldives–struggle to get a document that represents “a survival pact, not a suicide pact.” They have said repeatedly that their survival depends on getting back to 350, and it will help them immensely if delegates from other nations know that back home people are keeping up the pressure and demanding a real deal. I’ll be in Copenhagen on the weekend of December 12th to help organize a vigil with the 350.org team–and my hope is that you can join this effort by organizing a vigil locally.
As we leave the first decade of the 21st century behind us, what is the century beginning to shape into?; what is the story beginning to look like? The story of the 20th century possibly started in 1914, with the first world war, will this century’s changing moment happen so soon in its early teens? Perhaps this century is going to be our most turbulent ever.
My, originally rather large amount, of hope and sentiment, carried from my youth, has been all but erased in this first decade of the new millennium. As a relatively unheard of artist, my concerns about the planet and my future upon it, much outweigh my opportunities to share and discuss them, and because I am disinterested in ‘careers’ this is likely to remain unchanged.
When I am not making art or writing my ideas, my life, from the perspective of others, possibly seems utterly pointless. I go places on trains and buses, walk quite long distances to places, to do little, in regards of reasons to why people usually do go places. People see me walking and later ask “where the hell were you going!??” or if they see me in a city “what are you doing here?!?”. I never have an answer which can be accepted as worthwhile, because I’m not there to shop, see friends, or visit tourist attractions. I’m there, simply because I am there; Aside from my creative pursuits I have no reason to life. The thing is, I don’t believe that occupying ones life with such things as shopping, visiting tourist attractions, going to shows, has any more real purpose either! – at least not in a consumer society as hell bent and advanced as this one, we live in, currently is.
Consumerism has destroyed all real purpose because it has destroyed all values except that of money, so nothing else but spending and making money has a point to it. The thing is this is also destroying the planet – and our chances of survival. This is a double hammer blow, and I probably would have been a solitary meanderer without both, but now I am an eternal meanderer; looking for a way out, an exit.
‘Northern Young Artists present ‘Boom!’ their first group exhibition previously seen at the Coterie Gallery, Sheffield. The exhibition consists of an eclectic range of contemporary art from 8 artists; new drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, digital work and installation will all be on show at the Oriental Cafe from 25th – 27 November. Northern Young Artists are a group of emerging contemporary artists working together to support each other through dialogue and collaboration. Artists exhibiting in this exhibition are Sophie Littlewood, John Ledger, Fiona Helen Halliday, Joanne Kilner, Sam Hardacre, Joanne Kilner, Sadie Mansell, Christabel Mitchell and Clinton Kirkpatrick.’
I will be showing these works:
The Hole in My Stomach is Making The Hole in The Sky
TRUTH AND TRIBUTE – CURRENTLY STILL SHOWING AT HIVE GALLERY, ELSECAR HERITAGE CENTRE, BARNSLEY. 19TH NOVEMBER TO 13TH DECEMBER. OPEN 12-4PM THURSDAY TO SUNDAY
Works by John Ledger – the exhibition’s ‘man made’ representative.
Wall inspired work. (10 years since construction of own perpetual walls, 20 years since fall of Berlin Wall, 30 years since the release of ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd, 60 years since the Release of ‘1984’ by George Orwell)
The pre-planned, routine based nature to John’s work reflecting some of the underlying faults within the human condition.
Works by Bradley Sharp – the exhibition’s ‘nature’ representative
Darwin/evolution inspired work. (200 years since the Birth of Charles Darwin)
the intricate and automatic nature of Bradleys work reflecting the patterns of evolution, as nature changes shape to fit the environment it finds itself in
Anniversaries including the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 30th anniversary of the release of ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd
John Ledger is the representative of the ManmadeBradley sharp is the representative of The natural
“When man saw himself as separate to nature he began to build walls.
“All Walls must and will eventually fall. Nature, unlike man will always find a way to carry on”
HIVE Gallery, Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road
Near Elsecar train station – between Sheffield and Barnsley.
12-4pm, Open Thursday to Sunday
19th November until 13th December
private view: Thursday 19th November 7-9pm
For any further information please contact
I am in the Yorkshire Metropolis -Leeds- again. This place has become the beating heart of Yorkshire, whether we like it or not. Looking down from a footbridge in the city, at all the cars and work vans hurrying in and out of the centre, one realises how little choice people have in succumbing to the emerging urban organism, caused by industrialisation.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Someone I know, who was a teenager when The The were releasing their material, now only to become one of what I would class as ‘one of Thatchers children’ – endemically business and materialist minded, with liberal views which have no depth and are quite phoney (though I still do like this person) – said of The The “H’mmm it was certainly ‘angry young man’ music!”
In the presence of these people, because of their material superiority (which is possibly sub-conscious) I still bow down to them, and accept their opinions as above mine, and I suppose in flat text it is true that The The’s music was angry and written by a young man (Matt Johnson). However, the generalizing music as ‘Angry young man’ music’, a long side the commonly used ‘Teenage Angst music’ shows that perhaps an common ‘adult’ mindset that is certainly patronizing, but more than anything an indication of acceptance of what one has been told to think by a societies ideology.
There is nothing I find more frustrating, than when people generalise passionate forms of art in this way, as if now they are grown up with a house and job, these feelings a merely ‘child’s play’. It is an indication that they are ceased to care about what is happening in the world, now that they have joined the established pathways, such as that of making good money.
They have become Blind. They have forgotten what they may once have felt, as they, whilst networking (thought it is called socialising) ‘Veneer’ over each others’ insecurities, by lying and saying that “everything is great!” and “you look fabulous, you are fabulous!”. The falsity of the liberalism, is very dissolutioning to one who actually wants to see a better world. The way this person labelled The The as ‘angry young man music’ gave the impression that “oh, that was just a phase we all go through when we are young!” I think a lot of people who reach a certain age use this idea of a past youthhood riddled with angsty, to deny the real problems of the earth and themselves, in their now older state.
This seems to be the homogenized world of the 30-50 something’s British middle class. ‘Thatcher’s children’ – as they are rightly named – have a lot to answer for. They have become the thick hedge protecting the system, spouting lush looking but utter tasteless fruits. I don’t think I can ever be part of this class, and I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point when I see The The as ‘angry young man music’: Matt Johnson wrote some brilliantly inciteful lyrics, especially those of ‘Infected’ which was a reaction to the beginning of Thactherism. These lyrics should be taken seriously and not put into a ‘angst’ category, once one feels that them kind of emotions are no longer acceptable within their social circles.
The ‘brother and sister’ music albums ‘Kid A’ and ‘Amnesiac’, by the band Radiohead, sum up these feelings for me. To me, they portray both these scenarios – the intense/claustrophobic work place (Kid A) and the equally troubling, but isolated feeling of being stood outside the place after work (Amnesiac). The intense/claustrophobic work place (the mood produced in Kid A) leaves one screaming for an opening in the doors, whilst the latter (amnesiac and the feeling of outside work) gives a equally unfriendly and unfree feeling, but with the cold/harsh fact that freedom, once taken from one inside the factory, is no longer obtainable outside it.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Nobody – except those who are young, or luckily ignorant of all News stories – can speculate over the truth of global warming anymore; it’s 100% happening and there is 99% chance the climatic problems are going to get worse. Only those with a faith in religion, that is so blind that they cannot see an ounce of reality, could still argue about whether global warming is happening or not.
I have spells when I worry about the affects of global warming less than I would at other times, but I think this is understandable – it isn’t mentally possibly to concern one’s self with something so massive all of the time, without imploding one’s mental make-up.
However, despite what James Lovelock (founder of the Gaia theory) says (and I disagree with barely anything he says, because he is usually unshakably right) – that we are already too late in our actions to stop runaway climate change – we still must try our best!. For what we may learn and gain from this ‘trying’, both socially and scientifically, will help us to co-exist better as a species, and with the planet. Even if our numbers have greatly diminished at this time, and even if few areas of habitable land remaining (as awful as this would be), what we could have learnt, if we tried our best, could help humanity into a ‘re-birth’ with the planet, a time possibly even free of war, hatred and exploitation.
Of course there is still a hope that events so horrible, such as the death of billions of people, will not come true; but this hope is, sadly, very far from being a certainty. However, even if such bad things were to happen, there is still two roads/two choices humanity can chose from in our attempts to keep our species going in a reasonably civilised state: One, as I have mentioned above, a route that would surely lead to the acceptance of each other in what could be a rightful ‘second chance’ for socialism; or route Two – A third world war; as our nations fight for what remains of the earth’s resources and, therefore, we will have learnt absolutely nothing from the whole event that has been the Anthropecene and the outcome of this: disastrous climate change.