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Manifesto For The just-about-managing

Manifesto For The just-about-managing

The Manifesto for The Just-about-managing (2017, mixed media on paper)

The Manifesto for The just-about-managing is explicitly propaganda; it is propaganda for a kind of future that is worth living in for humankind. Surely this is not a disingenuous aim?

This is the final work I’ll finish before I begin studying a Masters part-time. Most of my most recent works have attempted to make my jaded idealism manifest itself, finding a way of expressing a conviction that the darkest of times can conversely be the times when the brightest of futures are galvanized. This is because over the past few years I’ve begun to feel that the only route possible except for oblivion borne of war and ecological collapse is one that harnesses the wealth of knowledge we have accumulated for a common purpose – no matter how long and painful that road is. It’s what I’ve been calling The Hope of The Nihilized.

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It’s hard to remind yourself of this when the nihilism finally demolishes your spirit when the day in hand has done you . The goal I’ve set myself for this MA is the goal I’ve realised everything has to lead to: to fight through pessimism and depressive solitary pleasure seeking borne from burnout, to ignore the demons of the spirit so to work more with others, and to use whatever tools I may have as part of a constructive collective project I can’t even see yet.

And to be honest it’s a big ask, and towards the completion of the work the negativity from the exhaustion of workaday anxieties has crept over my spirit, and I was propping up its completion with cans of cider, a story readers familiar with this blog will know too well.

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The Manifesto For The just-about-managing is the manifesto of depression. The sense you get when you turn on the news and text scrolls past you stoking fear of Other, whilst eclipsing Otherness – an ability to think beyond the norm. Its the sense you get when the sparks of political optimism in the spring of a new year disappear under the white noise of consumerist commands in the deadness of mid-seasons.

The Manifesto For The just-about-managing argues against all naive goodwill; promotes the pursuit of happiness only in loneliness. It screams at us to enjoy but yet creates a structure to cope with the scattered fallout of depressive-pleasure-seeking, or (as I prefer), dead-end pleasure-seeking.

It’s what makes you cynical of everything; cynical of climate change, cynical of good-will to others.

It is all that makes you reach for your drug of choice, because ‘there’s nowt you can do’.

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Yet, the drawing is an argument that a miserable status quo is becoming harder and harder to maintain. The toxicity of the manner in which we are pumped up like battery farm chickens on information isn’t just making us into the consumer addicts of the 20th century, but soundbite addicts, super-aware of just how disagreeable the status-quo of things is. We know too much to be content. We have seen too much for our well-being. We are becoming deeply unwell as the structures built to make reassuring sense of life dissolve. We don’t need another Hiroshima, because it is happening in our heads. The interior landscape is being forced to recompose itself, and its craving for a new horizon is being suppressed by the Manifesto For the Just-about-managing. But below the crust the earth is moving.

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The Manifesto For the Just -about-managing is being bombarded by more and more proof of its stupidity and folly. This piece of work is like no other I have made before, and I have used as many of the most telling quotes as I could find. Due to this, it is also like an essay, which means I have had to list my reference points. Which are below:

The Coming ’17, Franco (Bifo) Berardi

Art and Revolution, John Berger

The Soul and The Operator, Expressen, John Berger

Pascalian Revelations, Pierre Bourdieu

Culture Design Labs – Evolving the Future, Joe Brewer

The Look and Feel of 21st Century Science – Joe Brewer

Injustice, Danny Dorling

Humans are Most Atrocious When We Live under The Weight of Great Inequalities, Darling Dorling

Is Inequality Bad For The Environment?, Danny Dorling

Abandon Hope (Summer is Coming), Mark Fisher

Good For Nothing, Mark Fisher

What We are Fighting For, A Radical Collective Manifesto, Mark Fisher

Four Futures – Life after Capitalism, Peter Frase

We Already Grow Enough Food to Feed 10 Billion People – And Still Can’t End Hunger, Eric Holt Gimenez

The End of The American Experiment – Bad Words – Umar Haque

The Likely Cause of Addiction has been Discovered, and it’s not What You Think, Johann Hari

A Storm is Brewing in Paradise, Dalarna University lecture, Dougald Hine

David Graeber interview: ‘So many people spend their working lives doing jobs they think are unnecessary’, Stuart Jeffries

London, Patrick Keiller, BFI

This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs Climate Change, Naomi Klein

The Robots are Coming, John Lanchester

The Case For Despair is Made. Now Let’s Try To Get out The Mess We’re in, George Monbiot

Neoliberalism is Creating Loneliness, That’s What’s Wrenching Society apart, George Monbiot.

Sick of this market-driven world? You should be, George Monbiot

The Age of Loneliness is Killing us, George Monbiot

Philosophy and Human Values, lectures, Rick Roderick

Capital’s Hunger in Abundance, Andrew Smolksi

Island Story: Journeys Around Unfamiliar Britain, JD Taylor

Super-intelligence and eternal life: transhumanism’s faithful follow it blindly into a future for the elite, Alexander Thomas

We are all very anxious , We Are Plan C

The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Do Better, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Inventing The Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek

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Century P.T.S.D

Century P.T.S.D. (2016, A3, mixed media on paper)

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£$[We]€$[Can’t]$£[Take]£€[Any]$€[More!!]$£ (2016, mixed media on paper)

£$[We]€$[Can’t]$£[Take]£€[Any]$€[More!!]$£ (2016, mixed media on paper)

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Reflections of 2015 works so far

After doing a couple of exhibitions, and with it being the beginnings of autumn, before the assault of Christmas, I felt it appropriate to reflect on the works I’ve made in the 2015 so far.  For whatever reason, I have always been obsessed with dates, and the passing of time, so I’m always looking at what I’ve done during a year. Some of the works I have made this year have been on a smaller scale to what I am used to working on, but I’m wondering if this is helping my work to be more succinct, in an age when most exposure is sought amidst the endless noise of social media sites. Here is a link to less visually instantaneous works, my book ‘Stories from Forgotten Space’, and the continuation of this project on my blog. So here they are from the first to the most recent.

Not Humanly Possible (A4, ink on paper)

Not Humanly Possible

A Cognitive Austerity (A4, ink on paper)

A Cognitive Austerity (2015)

Five MORE Years… (A4, ink on paper)

Five MORE Years... (2015)

THE LONG NIGHT OF A NEEDLESS STORM (90x115CM, mixed media on paper)

The Long Night of a Needless Storm

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“Hard Working Taxpayers, inconvenienced” (A4, ink on paper)

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Pain is Barred an Outlet (a4, ink on paper)

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Everybody’s Fracking (95X130cm, mixed media on paper)

Everybody's Fracking

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“Sad, LONELY, Frightened” (ink on paper, A4)

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The Self [ie] Under Siege (A4, mixed media on paper)

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“Can We Stop Now, Please?” (a4, mixed media on paper)

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‘Bells From The Deep’, The Hundred Years Gallery

I will be showing my more smallish drawings ‘Hyper-Malaise’, ‘A Cognitive Austerity’ and ‘Five MORE Years…’ in ‘Bells From The Deep’ at The Hundred Years gallery, Pearson Street, Hoxton, London, E2 8JD

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The ‘Bells from the Deep’ exhibition is the outcome of our latest Open Call for Drawing and Hand Made Prints. Hundred Years Gallery opens its space to over sixty artists of all ages, those who may have never had the opportunity of exhibiting their work, those who perhaps never dare to show them in public, and those who just want to feel free of judgement from arts panels. As well as practicing artists and print makers we have encouraged all of our neighbours from the York Row Council Estate to participate as part of our arts community

Thursday 2nd July 7:30-10:00pm


The Exhibition runs from 2nd to 22nd of July 2015

Wednesday to Friday, 10am-6pm.
Saturday, 4-11pm.
Sunday, 12-7pm.

Surfaces of an (Un)realised World

‘The past is another world’. Indeed it is, full of lost what-might-have-beens. I cannot even begin to estimate how many calories and hours were put into making these works that were heading in a more-painterly/sculptural direction, nor the lost might-have-beens that may have constituted an alternative usage of that time. Dating from the bright-eyed-dawn of the perceived-shirking-of-tangled-up-teenage-trials of my very early 20’s in 2004, to works made in the infancy of the long night that proceeded from the 2008 crash, these works now seem to me like surfaces of an (un)realised planet.

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Due to this they just don’t fit anymore, like architecture that has lost its aesthetic function within the light of a new kind of world, the demolishing of them was the last necessary act. Reality has changed, and they are worth more to me now as documentation of an excavation of that past reality that I cannot go back to (all a poetics perhaps [?] devised to acclimatize myself to the truth: that I had no longer have storage space for works that were becoming increasingly smashed to pieces in narrower and narrower confines).

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However, perhaps what surprised me the most, and possibly came close to preventing me smashing up any more of the works, was that the paint was still wet on the inside of one of the pieces from 2007. The smell of gloss and oils momentarily taking me back to 2007…even the music I listen to from such times seems lost as if submerged under a mudslide.

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My 2014

…the most valued stuff that I spent my life on during the months from January to December. I’d love to be able to announce an ambiguity to the numbers that dominate our society,  but I am a self-confessed walking hourglass of a human, who watches the passing of years with sad eagle eyes. Anyway, what makes me feel more brighter is looking at what I’ve done from within this socially-constructed perception of time… I don’t even want to think about 2015 right now.

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Artworks:

Progress… (100X150cm, ballpoint pen on paper)

Progress... (2013-2014)

Progess… (John Ledger)

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A Privatised Implosion (21X28cm, ink on paper)

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Hyper-Malaise (ink on paper)hyper_mailaise__2014__by_johnledger…Coils Tightening (125X100cm. ballpoint pen and collage on paper)...Coils Tightening (2014) (1280x1034)

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Just The Noise… (exhibition)

Just The Noise... (1425x2000) (730x1024)

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Untitled (ballpoint pen on paper) untitled (2014)Five Years Drowning (exhibition)FLYER with text (862x1280)

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Whilst We Were All In The Eternal Now…. (ballpoint pen and collage on paper, 95X125cm)

Whilst We Were All In The Eternal Now  (1959x3000) (836x1280)

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Untitled (ink on paper)

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The Mary Celeste project (The Scene of The Crash) video-work

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/108876067″>The Mary Celeste Project (The Scene of The Crash)</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user18137640″>john Ledger</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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Feverish (ballpoint pen on paper, 90X140cm)

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Books:

Rebuilding The Flatttened

A Walk Down The Hallam Line: A Personal Account of The West Riding of Yorkshire

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Map-Making:

Thurlstone Moor

2014 Map-making

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Blog-writing:

The Blanket of malaise hanging over 2013. Can it be torn down in 2014?

Out of Time

The Outdoors Has Become The Factory

Songs That Evoke a World Once Imaginable – Animating Ghosts From The Past

Climate Change is NOW

The Parasites of Pessimism

The La’s (album), and The Plight of a Working Class City at The End of History

Pre-2008-Crash Time-Capsules

200 Year old Eyes

The X-Factor Society – Finding Ourselves Unwilling Participants

Moments When I Feel Almost Human

Entombed in Self-Centredness

The Strange Death of Grown-up Britain

Share The Pain

2014 mapmaking (part 7)

This is the 7th post in a series that I still call psychogeographical maps (or cognitive mapping). Quoting certain sections and using a selection of photographs to widen the project, which at its core still has the intention to be a Cognitive Mapping of Now – aiming to be useful for locating the current socio-political mood, and the psychological impacts of it.

The 1st post can be found here.

The 2nd here

The 3rd here

The 4th here

The 5th here

The 6th here

A collection of the 2014 maps can be found here.

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7 Nov 2014

“The Mary Celeste structure [overlooking Barnsley’s inner ring road] is darkened by the downpour. And in turn it seems to be a metaphor for the early dark turn of the conversational subject matter, once I reassert the uneasy truth that this structure has been in this state for over 6 years – yet it is a largely ignored fact. It provokes an intensification in our wrangling conversation over ‘just what the hell is going on?’ “.

” Hemmed in’ plantation woodlands [Flouch roundabout] mark the roadway to the moors. Two bleak landscapes that compliment each other. Both man-made, so to speak., but both important (I believe) to (initially) the Northern Industrial psyche, and (currently) the always-on, hyper-connected psyche. [They act] as a physical reflection of the [empty feeling this speed causes [in us].”

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“In a charity shop [in Congleton]. The playing of 50-year-old pop songs from the “good times” of popular culture induces in me a nauseating ‘dispiration’ for our ‘stuck record’ present.”

“In the Wetherspoons on West Street [Sheffield]. In the toilets two homeless males clean themselves up and stock up on toilet paper.This is [something I’ve never seen in this city before], highlighting how critical the homeless situation in the city has become.”

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“[Nottingham city centre]. Walking past recruitment centre. People of all ages sat facing computer screens, and people stood outside [the centre] waiting at the bus stop. I feel for them; what an incredibly rigged game it is when you’re at the bottom [and you’re trying to get a break]. I get the lyrics to [Pulp’s] Common People running through my thoughts: “yeah and the chip stains and grease will come out in the bath”, because there’s no way of disguising your poverty, it really does cling to you. Everyone can see it, no matter how you try to hide it. Look over [the road] at massive concrete hotel. Now highly unfashionable. Built in a different era; with a different social reality.”

“Find myself incredibly hungry, with well over 2 hours until I get the train back. [My mind starts running down old and unhelpful psychological warrens, and when it’s irrational thoughts VS illogical thoughts – one has to win over]. I lie to myself, convincing myself that the meandering that follows is for my ‘projects’. The hidden motive being the ‘eating disordered’ mental[ity] that returns when I’m low, lonely, tired and in an urban centre surrounded by (seemingly) infinitesimal choices. My thoughts pace back and forth between getting ‘food involving a drink’ in a pub, but I relapse [ever-so-slightly] into the late teenage me, who spent hours in supermarkets in a decision-making paralysis, due to all the choices on offer. the anorexic control mechanisms still try to get out of their cage from time to time; [the urge to have it back at the reigns is still very seductive].”

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“Large open-cast mining area; [this area is still] generally industrial-looking. A landscape you could mistakenly think was of the past, coming from Yorkshire. Sometimes feels as if Yorkshire has been made into one tourist attraction, as in covering up the truth (as all tourism does); greened over spoil heaps, and severe poverty hidden by lush ravines in Sheffield. As if Derbyshire’s ‘secondary’ position in contrast to Yorkshire’s (increasingly annoying) self-indentit[ification] has kept it more real.”

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“Unused grassland/wasteland area between railway track and disused viaduct [just outside Leeds Centre]. About 10-15 police officers walk together [through the grass] in a line, looking for evidence. A serious crime has obviously been committed here, in [an] area that will no doubt be swept under the glitter of ‘regeneration’ once the south Entrance to Leeds [railway] station is [completed]. But, as it stands, it looks like a ‘ideal crime scene location’ – as if this wasn’t real at all, but actually film set for the crime drama A Touch of Frost, which was actually filmed in this area.”

“As I head for the exit at Darton station I noticed stickers all around where the train doors are: English Defence League and Britain First stickers vowing to ‘protect us’ from ‘muslim pedophiles’. A sickly and medievalstyle to the stickers, and far right party logos. [It] makes my heart sink: “this can only get worse”, it feels to me. ‘The diseased isle’ to [paraphrase] Carl Neville. I wish I knew a solution; as far as I see much anti-fascist protesting isn’t quelling such views. And it’s so bad around here – alienating me from “my own turf”, so-to-speak. Only yesterday I saw a poster on a road sign near Cawthorne saying “Halal Fox”. Stupid/idiotic coupling of presumed ‘lefty’ things, but also dangerously striking subconscious chords – I’m sure.”

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Electric Picture House Open (upcoming exhibition)

I will be exhibiting two of my works in the upcoming exhibition, Electric Open 2014, at the Electric Picture House, Congleton, Cheshire.

The exhibition opening times:

10th October – 1st November

10-5pm, Monday to Saturday

Preview Friday 10th Oct 7PM

I will be Exhibiting these works:

The Planet’s Mental Illness (2012)

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Mind Camp (2013)

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Images of Work from Recent Exhibitions

Over the past 2 week I’ve had my works in two exhibitions:

In Unity Hall Launch exhibition in Wakefield I exhibited The Place of Dead Ends, The Index For Child Well-being and Whilst We Were All In The Eternal Now…

And in Our Corner: Art as Political Expression, at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield, I exhibited …Coils Tightening

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