Here’s a selection of images of the art and exhibitions I did this year, and links to best blogs I’ve written. This year has largely been occupied by a large collective project called ‘Fighting for Crumbs (Art in The Shadow of Neoliberal Britain) – for which you can see our documentary, produced by DEADIDEA on the video section of this website; an intensive exhibition early in the year called ‘Under Digital Rain’, and on-going work for the collective ‘The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe’. I feel there’s enough content within the writing and art itself to save me having to sum up 2016 both on a personal and worldly level.
List of written work, including writings for The Retro Bar at The End of The Universe
I have three works in the open exhibition at The Old Market Gallery in central Rotherham. A town of a 1/4 million people, which has possibly been let down by the powers that be more than my home town Barnsley. I don’t often visit the town, normally spending time in nearby Sheffield when I travel this way. But when I do I feel a massive grievance for a place this size to be given such little, especially in regards to transport infrastructure – which is appalling when you take into consideration how the place now actually makes up a large part of a continuous South Yorkshire urban sprawl of possibly over 700,000 people.
I’m exhibit 3 pieces. ‘Whilst We Were in The Eternal Now…’ from 2014
‘Debtland’ from 2015
And my most recent piece ‘Hope of The Nihilized’
If you are passing, or fancy going out of your way to visit, here are the details:
The open exhibition runs until Saturday 17th December
The gallery opens 11-3, Tuesday to Saturday
Market St, Rotherham S60 1NU
I have 4 works (The Planet’s Mental Illness, Disintegration, Not Humanly Possible, and The Index For Child Wellbeing) in ‘Soul Searching’, an exhibition exploring mental health through art and poetry.
I’ve never shied away from explaining that mental health has had a continual place in the compositions I make; never shied away from telling people about my own history with mental health issues; never shied away from saying it as I see it: that the unrelenting injuries of life under a 21st century capitalism, that sustains itself through disbelief and cynicism, work overtime against our wish for a good happy, meaningful life. Which doesn’t make it impossible – but fucking hard, that’s all.
Instigated by the Degrees of Freedom artist collective, the Anti Gallery Gallery Show is an experiment in finding ways for artists to change their relationship with each other, their artworks and the public within a traditional gallery space so as to subvert its governing ethos- competitive individualism within a consumerist culture.
Alongide 35 other artists and art groups using the space from 8 to 29 January, we will be performing on the dates 16 to 18 January, at select time during those days. Please feel free to come down.
Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record:
Non-Stop Inertia is a performance piece named after Ivor Southwood’s book of the same name. Southwood’s book takes a comprehensive look into the situation of the “deep paralysis of thought and action” caused by the “ideologically constructed” landscape of precarity. This affects mainly the younger generation of workers, but it is increasingly dragging even more people into a role, which economist Guy Standing suggests is the ‘Precariat‘, replacing the older term for the working class, the proletariat.
As much a psychological as a situational inertia, this “deep paralysis of thought” is basically what anthropologist David Graeber is referring to in his argument, “neoliberalism [the ruling economical dogma of the present reality] is a war against the imagination”. The stop, start and (finally) exhaustive effect of what Jodi Dean calls ‘communicative capitalism’, which in the age of cyberspace communication extends into all realms of waking (and sleeping) life, is arguably the neoliberal model par excellence.
The performance attempts to mirror this ‘paralysis’, to illustrate just how the ability to understand the social reality we are amidst is continuously broken up. But the crucial twist is in how this performance aims to bring this issue into the gallery by mapping the subject most present in all galleries: the gallery worker.
Out of all workers, the predicament of gallery workers appeared to us most appropriate. The gallery is an environment that has evolved over time with the aim of being an ideal space for contemplation by allowing the absorption of different ideas. The gallery worker (who remains there all day) is psychologically ambushed by contemplation; chronic (over)thinking is part of the job. Yet he/she is actually employed to be of constant service to the endless stream of visitors. A spoken introduction, an issuing of guidelines is required to be given out to every visitor who enters the often heaving galleries. The environmentally-enforced contemplation is continuously interrupted and sent back to square one. Indeed, visitors subjected to more than one of spiels given out often say “you sound like a stuck record“. Anybody who’s ever worked in a gallery can’t quite state why they felt so exhausted and defeated at the end of the working (“this job is easy isn’t it?”).
Both participating artists work and have worked as gallery invigilators for many years. We are experienced in the fundamental contradictions of both the gallery space, and the predicament of those who work in it, who are often mistakingly seen as volunteers “doing it for a hobby”, rather than doing it to put bread and beer in front of them.
I will be showing 3 of my works The Index of Child Well-being, The Place of Dead Ends, and Whilst We Were all In The Eternal Now… as part of Unity Arts’ Grand Opening Event, which will take place on Saturday 6th Sept 2014 at Unity Works, Wakefield. Please visit if you can.
The exhibition will run for 3 weeks and close on Sunday 28th September.
Opening days Thursday – Sunday, 12-4pm.
Photographs from Ill-Equipped, an exhibition @Access space, Sheffield
A thanks to the people at Access Space for giving me the chance to put this show on. It’s been really good to see these works behind an active environment. Access Space is located on Sidney Street, just a few minutes walk leftwards out of the Sheffield Train Station.
“Access Space is an inclusive environment. As well as working with artists, academics, creative technologists, programmers, other professionals and students, 50% of the participation in Access Space’s activities are from people in danger of exclusion and on the margins of society, including: people with disabilities, homeless people, ex-offenders, asylum seekers, refugees and people with mental health issues. Through Refab Space, Access Space engages with self starters and entrepreneurs as well. One of the strengths of Access Space is that it brings people from different backgrounds together.”
The exhibition was named after the drawing Ill-Equipped, a work that deals with the affect on subjectivities in an world where almost every aspect of life is becoming penetrated/mediated by cyberspace technologies, leaving us ‘always on’. But more crucially what does to our ability to truly develop an understanding of the big issues facing us in the 21st century.