Tag Archive | end of the year

Upcoming exhibition: A eulogy for a ‘lost’ decade.

A eulogy for a ‘lost’ decade. The New Fringe, Doncaster. 11th January 2020.


Hope of The Nihilized (2016)

Through a series of carefully chosen works produced over the past ten years by the artist John Ledger, we are asked to reflect on the decade we have just passed through

What was it? Did it even occur? Do I even recall? Was I really living?

Over the past ten years John Ledger’s work has largely taken the form of large-scale drawings, that through their merging of ecological, social, personal distress, shout out for an exit.

But an exit from what?

Maybe some answer lies in the central feature in ‘A eulogy for a ‘lost’ decade’, as we get a chance to see a screening of John’s most recent project, a film about the life of the ‘millennial’ ‘Wall, i’, as he comes of age in a post-industrial world.


‘Wall, i’ brings it all home, the ‘too close to home’. Scripted to pop songs, that enframe his emotional states like the alienating tendencies of contemporary life, we observe just one coming-of-age in a new age of individualism and new technologies.

In a life trapped in an identity of loneliness, purposelessness, and failed expectations, there is a consequential spiral into self-medication, self hatred and hatred towards others. ‘Wall, i’ becomes a car-crash life, from where there is ultimately only a plea for forgiveness, to be given another chance.

For we are ultimately asked to meditate on how we look after ourselves in the coming decade. A new start based on self-empathy, thus empathy for others, maybe?. The starting point for a new decade, despite all odds stacked against so many, others more than others.

Above and beyond there is a desire to live.

The exhibition opens Saturday 11th January 2020 at 5pm, with screening 1 of ‘Wall, i’ held at 6pm.

The second opening is Saturday 18th January, with screening 2 also at 6pm.

2014 mapmaking (part 9) – End of Year Haunting

This is the 9th and the final post of 2014 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 wider socio-political mood, and the psychological impacts of it. This project has been ongoing since 2013 and has largely been an artistic response to Frederic Jameson’s 1990 essay, and call to action, Cognitive Mapping, which is posited as a means of class consciousness in our contemporary social landscape. Arguing that the “mental map of a city [I’d say the wider human-made landscape] can be extrapolated to that of the social and global totality [one that we] we carry around in our heads in various garbled forms”. Also, due to often residing in places deemed culturally ‘insignificant’ I feel that my work is justified by the words of social Geographer Doreen Massey in that  “…spatially, the local place is utterly implicated in the production of the global and the globalisation that we so often find ourselves wanting to confront”. Although some of these maps aren’t made in places I live in, whilst traveling through them I am implicated and involved in that locality and the myriad of circumstances and incidents that constitute it.

The project has also allowed me to bring my love of maps into my art.


The 1st post can be found here.

The 2nd here    The 3rd here      The 4th here      The 5th here    The 6th here   The 7th here    The 8th here

A collection of the 2014 maps can be found here.


16 December 2014

“Always surprises me when I suddenly come across steep inclines in London. Like rivers (excluding the Thames), they are features that just don’t seem ‘natural’ in London as it stands. The place is such a concrete+metallic machine in its own right, that you don’t expect rivers and hills to start forming until you’re beyond the M25.”

“A fashion store on Kingsland Road, that looks [to be] webbed into some local scene. A single trainer shoe is on a plinth in the window. An area that presents itself as ‘against the grain’ [is] evidently as slavishly obedient to the consumerist reality, as anywhere else that is deemed less ‘edgy’.”

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22 December 2014

“An unavoidable sight amidst the emotional chaos of the Xmas/New Year period: people, half drunk, coming very near to fist fighting, in Peel Square [Barnsley]. A young man VS the rest of the group, [he then] drunkenly storms up Peel Street, before leaning, with his head held low, against the window of the Iceland store. Next time I look he’s disappeared again.”

“Lots of teenagers stand amidst the now-empty market stalls, almost in complete darkness (I’m sure the streets lights are being dimmed or being switched off completely) [in Peel Square]. They look like they’re waiting for something to happen. But isn’t this more likely to be [the usual] sign of the state of [existential] boredom?”

18624 December 2014

“Despite it being the most depressing of signs of our (collective) inability to look after the environment (and the moronic nature of the act), there is something visually appealing about about sites of fly-tipping. After all, the entire UK landscape is shape humans have made it into – this just adds another historical layer”.

“Make the mistake of trying to take a shortcut through the woods at the bottom of Litherop Lane, in order to get to path leading to Bretton Park. I realise something isn’t quite right when all the footpaths begin to fold back in on one another, almost like a race track course. A man stands looking at me. I [then] realise that the rumours that this is site where people meet up for outdoor sex are well founded. As I turn and head in the other direction from the man and notice the floor is littered with the left-overs of things used for sexual intercourse, I notice another man. As I find a path heading out of the woods in the right direction, I notice that he has been staring at me for a long period of time. It initially intimidates me, as it does when a stranger is staring at you in a bleak winter woodland, but afterwards I see it in a tragic light. Not that I am one for tradition, but to be stood there in a cold, muddy wood on Christmas eve, desperately waiting for sex, is a sign of the impoverishment of life’s larger wealth. These people are [more than anything] victims, addicts to a nihilist landscape. prisoners to the pleasure-pursuit.”

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“All the talk: that something big/a seismic shift from the current state of affairs is bound to happen soon, takes on an ominous feel within this eerie-looking early evening, which doesn’t settle easy with the [East Leeds] landscape through which we are witnessing it.”

“In the Dark Arches, walking above the river [which is at its] winter torrent levels. something awe-inspiring, specifically due to how if you were to fall in you wouldn’t stand a chance. These rivers are almost the hidden powerhouse, both past and present, of cities. I say ‘hidden’ because the common image of the river in the contemporary city landscape is as an appendage for pleasure for urban professionals – as if the river itself had stopped flowing in the ‘post industrial times’.”

192 194 19527 December 2014

“I flare up inside at gawping [at me] passengers going around junction 38 [of the M1]. I realise that my year has been stained by bubbling anger. A deep frustrations with things that I cannot deny, but worry what will become of it as time moves on. Something must change. And maybe I’m not the only one harbouring this deep frustration with things?”

“A sharp turn in the road at the top of Woolley Edge serves as an analogy for a desperate need to change course in life – after a dead-end-style unenjoyable binge-drinking night in Barnsley, and my 31st on the horizon. But,as with every year, the question still remains “but to where?”.”

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Nothing There…


The point at which I put my pen(s) down and decide to take a break from my artwork production and information accumulation is the point at which I start to crack up.

The fact is, when I’m forced to ‘live’, when I’m not running the conveyor belt of my routine, I don’t actually like being alive – a matter that no kind of therapy or drug can make better. I am empty of the qualities that have kept humanity going, and I doubt anything can re-fill this emptiness.

I fear that the real me died long ago. I ruin all social occasions for myself, because I do not know how to act, enjoy, and I don’t know how to communicate with other people in the warm type of way I see others doing so often – so I end up grossly overstepping the mark in someway or another.

It is apparent that 10 years ago, when I began to build my perpetual walls, that I chose to turn myself into an automaton. Whilst others were learning – through trial and error – how to be human, I was walling in all my emotions so that I could be a more efficient ‘better’ person. All my misery in life is tied up in this decision I made in 1999 – voluntarily or involuntarily made.

It is a waste of time looking to get mental help, because there is no inner core left; just an illusion which keeps me dreaming of an happy past in which I loved fossiling, computer games and eating without the guilt of it – the illusion was proven when I tried to re-gain my old 8-bit computer games in 2003, in an attempt to re-gain old happiness and stem my drop in anorexia, and all that happened was that they too became part of my routine based disorder, and it became an obsessive task to search for them on market stalls.

However, the initial ‘searching’ to stem the anorexia only began when others around me started telling me I had a problem: In truth, my anorexic spell – when its obsessive routine was in full working order – was by no means my least happy period, in fact I barely experienced unhappiness with it, as I’d become such a brilliant automaton that I avoided all avenues of emotion and human contact at all cost. However, extreme weight loss inevitably brought great barriers to this misery-free routine.

The bad thing is, I sometimes wish that I was back in this routine. It was taking me nowhere, bit I didn’t care because I was so thin and(in my perception of what was good and bad in society) thin meant ‘good, perfect and innocent of all bad things in the world’ – so, in this state, I believed that nobody could pin any blame and weight on my shoulders. All this always eventually crumbled, but it was such a straight forward existence for one who has given themselves over to be an automaton, and misery doesn’t reach the pure automaton.

Being so skinny and ‘sexless’ means that one can hide from the eyes of the world and they too don’t have to look at the horrible world. One is ‘winning’ – being skinny is winning in a consumer society – they have become a prefect nothingness, which is free from the world’s problems. Some of the lyrics from the song ‘4st 7lb’ by The Manic Street Preachers (a song about the anorexia disorder) sum all this up: these lyrics are “I want to walk in the snow and not leave a footprint” and “I am twiggy and I can’t see the horror that surrounds me”
In a sense, though it eventually destroys and kills one, being in an anorexic state makes one feel like an unborn; not being assigned to the living or dead worlds – a place from where nothing can touch and hurt you.

The kind of depression, which on rare occasions brings me to the brink, only started to occur when I began to come out of my main true spell of anorexia, and I started to try being part of the world again. This is a spell which runs from summer 2004 to the present, and at times I almost got where I wanted to be – I almost found my human side again. However, as soon as anything went wrong, my automaton side quickly stepped in the shield my weak emotions, and it took over again. I can never tell which one is in the right – inside of me – and because the automaton is stronger and more of a ‘quickfix’ to safety, I’ve stuck with it, whenever I’ve come into contact with a situation that my emotions aren’t developed enough to tackle.

However, this routine is now beginning to fall apart as I enter my 27th year, as it cannot serve a protruding adult life from which nobody can hide from forever.

I am realising that this obsessive routine based life can no longer be king, because it isn’t equipped to serve an adults’ life, but there is nothing else there, either, to let me be a human again – this has either rotted away inside, or it never grew in the first place.

Over the past 2 months I have felt more discontent and frustration than possibly any other time before this, and it’s now beginning to bubble up to the surface – if it’s either in punching walls and putting my head in my hands in public, or ranting at people, who I should be just talking to, on ‘nights out’. However, the things is; there is something inside of me telling me to be voyeuristic with this anger, maybe due to the fact that it’s the only emotion I seem to know how to express, and sometimes I want people to know just how messed up I am – the thing is, I cannot even explain why I want them to know!.

So, to last night: another night in which I went out and ended up feeling so much guilt and shame that I don’t want to do it again for some time – even though it is apparent that these places are some of the only places where I am going to meet people. I think I still do – well, at times – believe I can still have a human life with things like a relationship in it, but at moments such as this one – and I cannot stop thinking that this has already happened – I feel that there is nothing left inside of me for another human to share; and at these points the continuation of my life, now that my routine looks like it can no longer veneer over its cracks, seems pointless.

However, if you were to read this, you’d see me tomorrow and I’ll look fine – I’ll be speeding around, keeping ‘busy busy busy’ as for now my routine is still working to some degree – but you must remember that that me is not the me who is writing this now; the me who is writing this now, is the me who shows anger and mania as he lets his inhibitions down after 5 pints of cider, and just because he is drunk, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t me; that screwed up, only emotion anger me is the real me, not the automaton one, which you’d probably prefer to think of me as.

So, when somebody says to the real me ‘you need to be more positive’ you now know the reason why I can’t be. All that remains of the real me is anger and unhappiness at the realisation that that is nothing else left inside.
I want out, and I do still hope that one day I might have a woman and a more content existence, but I think I’ve made myself into a machine that has no use, once it can no longer perform its routine based duties. I don’t want this kind of ‘out’ but I do not know how to veer from its pathway.