Pandemic – Sheffield
adjective – (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.
noun – an outbreak of a pandemic disease.
Origin: -mid 17th century: from Greek pandēmos (from pan ‘all’ + dēmos ‘people’) + -ic
We are organising an event in Sheffield starting on the 5th of November this year – going on for 1 week (but will go on for longer if you wish). It is a socially inclusive art event based on the Situationist International and it’s political ethos. Particularly “The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord, and the ideas of reclaiming space, reappropriating images and the concept that in an advanced capitalist society we experience life through a representation of reality in the form of advertising, prescribed gender and social roles via media manipulation which leads to the population living in a substitute for reality instead of living reality itself. Via television documentaries we have armchair tourism, via royal spectacles we have emotional tourism (see funeral of Princess Diana), via soap operas we have drama and intrigue, via reality T.V we are given “reality”.
PANDEMIC incorporates a continuous programme of visual art – along with events every evening for 2 weeks which consist of a combination of experimental music, film, lectures, talks, workshops, readings and performance. We have several spaces already including gallery spaces, lecture rooms and less conventional spaces – we are going about it in a very D.I.Y way with no money changing hands There are significant gaps between performances for discussion/socialisation/screeching as well as a bar/cafe to lubricate this. We also have a 1 day warm up event on Saturday, October the 1st.
The purpose of the event is to inspire as many people as possible, to advertise the project in some unique ways to bring in a crowd who are not just the usual “converted” art types (we have some interesting advertising/marketing ideas). We want the project to continue in Sheffield as a continued and evolving social and creative platform once we have finished the residency (we are currently approaching other like-minded spaces to spread into and continue our work.) It is a political event in so much as it is designed to go against the prescribed nature of the artworld as well as outside the government funded stuff (which is often only commissioned because it ticks the right agenda boxes) – so truly independent.
It is in direct reaction to the artworld, in that it is incredibly elitist, and is often a series of cliquey institutionalised in-jokes, and fundamentally it’s controlled by rich buyers and investors. As well as this see how the media (particularly the tabloid media – or bluntly the media aimed at the lower or “working” classes) constantly dumbs down art, or mocks it with a “my 5 year old could do that” mentality. and so art is kept this way a) to make said elite feel culturally superior and b) to disenfranchise the “working” classes from culture and thus developing critical thinking and broader ideas – to maintain the status quo by suppressing the ability to question authority. This is particularly important right now with all of the unrest over cuts, the rich/corporations getting tax breaks, censorship of Social Networking sites, banning legitimate protest, the cutting of benefits – we wish to maintain the momentum of the recent political unrest, university occupations and protests, but via a cultural and creative shift – and include as many people as we can in doing so.
As each performance/musical event/lecture happens it will be recorded and put on a continuous showreel in one of the gallery spaces, which will grow as each evening’s performances are added every day. Any members of the public who come along and who are inspired to do something can also be written into the programme, be it music, performance, visual art etc.
We already have many visual artists, writers, activists, lecturers, dancers/performers and musicians involved – and there is room for more.
It is getting to be a big, excessively immersive – as we will be there everyday and night for 2 weeks. I understand that this is pretty all over the place, if you have any questions then do ask.
I guess from you we are looking for support, promotional help, for you and your friends to get involved too – and any other groups that you know of being made aware. Particularly we are looking for spaces to utilise during and after the event itself as well as people to take part in whatever form.
We need as many people involved as possible – we need momentum as the main aim if for the idea to start something more permanent in Sheffield, PANDEMIC, like the great plagues that inspired it, will spread like a disease that does not discriminate. It can and will affect anyone, no matter what superficially constructed group they may identify with, no matter what class, gender, race, sexuality and income level. It is an ever changing vehicle for discussion, ideas and dissent.