Being entombed in your own self-centeredness is not at all pleasurable, believe me. It’s a lonely prison cell, where the pass-code for exit is constantly altered, vapourising escape plans.
But the likelihood is, if you’re a decade or so younger than I, you know exactly what I mean already. I can’t be sure I’m right here, but scrolling the Tumblr and Pinterest profiles, it seems that society has produced a 18-24 age group, who a large proportion of seem locked in these aspiration-cum-desperation cells. Poor bastards – that’s how I feel about most of those ten year younger than me.
The cell is like a snow-globe, settled, shook up, settled, and shook up again; as the rebounded echoes of one’s hopes and desires are energised in a tightly sealed space, only for inevitable exhaustion by the inability for this energy to escape and materialise into anything (except art – “everyone’s an artist nowadays!”), and everything settles down into the same inert, cold, dead space; enducing the wasteland of depression.
But I feel wrong even ascribing a wider-social context to this condition. Maybe it feels wrong because at the times I find myself aware of my self-entombment, I am usually feeling at my most alone, alienated, and possessing a freakish, weirdo mind, and thus feeling immense shame. “What a fool I am thinking others are like this – I’m such a screwed up weirdo” (and then the lyrics from Just, by Radiohead, “you do it to yourself, you and no-one else” start pouring into my mind; chit chattering as a fluid of fatalist failure ferments all thought).
Why is shame felt? Why when ‘the downer’ catches you out in the middle of the day, in the middle of town, why is it shame that seems to hang from the flesh, making you feel as exposed as if you were naked?” It may sound ironic but when you’re entombed in self-centeredness you can’t actually locate a self. I don’t mean here, or believe in, the idea of a core person-hood that stays unaltered from birth to death; but I do mean at least a core security construction within a person that they can rely on.
For those entombed in self-centeredness there is nothing to rely on, no place of safety to rest in, when one’s person is attacked or thrown into a disorientating situation. Such a sense of self actually comes from interacting with and feeling part of the world; a secure self comes from that self being able to be porous to all that surrounds it – saturated by it at times.
The entombed self-centered person is envious when they see people touching, hugging, interacting, doing, and building things, seemingly without thought. He/she’s thoughts are always over-thoughts, unnecessarily rebounded contemplations of things that he/she is sure others don’t even contemplate. He/she retreats into depressive-pleasure-seeking every day instead, and the nihilist-pleasure compound of late capitalism yet again seems like the only world, and one he/she increasingly depends on when the external world looks more fucked up by the day. The only solution seems to be to share the burden – but the cell walls seem to respond like vinamold around attempts to escape them. He/she wished they could build something, join hands and build something. But art is the only thing the entombed self-centered person can produce; cave paintings, mere images of the world, painted within the cell.
Is this a externally-enduced condition that has then freed itself from it’s causation, only leaving the atomised self to answer for problems that arise? Well, surely under a dominant belief system that negates society for the individual when it comes down to success, achievement, wealth, well surely the opposite (perceived shortcomings) cannot help but becoming the individual’s burden?
Personally speaking, I have found myself caught between academia and personal experience, and find myself merely hoping my personalised analysis is somehow spotted and incorporated by one of the professionals into their own theoretical discourse – X Factor society or what?! (see here). I have found myself within a constructed reality that is way beyond comprehension for me (just hoping the theorists I quote can pick my unseen blogging-batton up). It is certainly a political issue, but explaining this to friends/family (to anyone) when the shit hits the fan (mentally) – as it is clearly doing right now – has proven unsuccesful so far. Where do I go from here?
Globalsapiens: an introduction to Parallel Paranoia, Humans In Cages and Silently Chained – the respective alternate names for artistic collective Mikk Murray, John Ledger and Jade Morris. Each artist has, at some point in life, stumbled across these titles and found them poetically fitting descriptions of their own predicament as young adults in the 21st century: tied to lifestyles that they know are destructive to the planet and most often self-destructive; struggling forwards from this, trying to find cracks in a hegemonic social landscape that drags humans toward an ultimate battle with nature that we are certain to lose.
Thus this show cannot be a means to an end for Globalsapiens: it has to be the start not the end; one of many ‘atoms for peace’, clustering together, always growing never standing still, until their shout is big enough to make one final stand against a world ruled by money. This exhibition aims to resonate with all those who care but feel trapped and helpless to make a change, and possibly then inspire them to believe that they need not feel trapped and helpless.
As a society, our actions, our expressions, our reactions, all show signs that we are aware of living in end times. Make no bones about it; no matter how much we talk about getting married, getting a house, settling down, we reek of a dying civilisation.
This exhaustion of everything in our merry-go-round swap between being the exploiter to the exploited has to end. Nobody can predict what ‘end’ we can expect, but we can guess what the prolongation of this current manmade nightmare will lead to. But we can also guess and hope; to hope that “surely this can’t be the end of the human story just yet…!” Grim resignation is dangerous; hope generates possibilities – but hope is sometimes hard for one to maintain.
Globalsapiens are artist’s who are desperately trying to find a way forward into a future worth living in. Our instinct is to express – we may not be the most pragmatic/practical people, but our contribution is a desperate attempt to realise a new way of living for the sake of the human race (sound self righteous? No: all species battle to maintain their existence). The time is right. Artists have no future in this old world, they must end their post idealist malaise/capitulation to the business mentality and join the cause to act now to make a future worth living in.
We felt aligned by a feeling that our artwork seems too driven, and too realmerely to be for exhibitions only – which often seem to just castrate it and make it nothing but mere consumer spectacle. This is a pressing concern that is played out within the show: we know that this is all our works may be, but we are still often driven by a powerful dream-boat of blind optimism that refers to the opposite, and seems to be generated by the ideological coding of the very system we are trying to help unwire. We want to help pave a way out of this bleak place our species (and the planet it has dragged down with it) has stumbled into, but we too often get too trapped in our minds to be/or do anything but what the system would happily have us be/doing – what keeps it thriving off human day-dreams and desires.
Nobody is in any place to preach. To resonate with others to generate in others. To alienate is to disintegrate. Let’s take the No Them, Only Us belief seriously again.
Human beings offer fundamentally special qualities to life on planet earth, and wherever else life may flourish. However, we are not better than the rest of life; if we were better we wouldn’t need it; but strip the life away from under our feet and we’d be dead before you could say the words ‘Easter Island’. Nevertheless, this is what out species is currently doing. But to say that we are a species of existential contradictions is to give up without even trying, and to let the idea of perpetual profiteering drag our eyes to the grey floor, where we watch our feet take one step at a time, in a potentially lethal small-world view. This exhibition wishes to contribute to the voices of reason in this time of collective insanity.
Inside Humans In Cages’ isolated cell
“Humans In Cages is feeling a little trapped, and without a vision of the future at present.”“The weekly ASDA shop likes this”
“The capitalist system still advances across the face of the planet, destroying the world that we depend on to survive, and pressing the boot further and further into our faces, as freedom/democracy become obstacles stood in the way which must also be destroyed. But here I languish; informed but passive; not knowing which foot to put in front of the other; so letting faint hopes of something better do the walking for me.
Here in my cell there will constantly remain the doubt that my artworks/artist shows may end up as nothing more than self-profiling within the capitalist dictatorship of individualism; the fetishisation of the self in the forced-competition of status advancement, based on the ultimatum of prosperity and a terror of failure. Thus, everything I have done within my isolated little world sometimes feels so counterproductive: that the truth may be that I am simply bolstering the realism of a system my work fundamentally opposes in its messages, by seeking recognition, and respect from it, for my individual endeavours.
I’ll do my best, but it’s hard trying to stop an exhibition become a means to an end from whereworking towards one final goal, (as anyone who as put on a major show will resonate with) leads to anti-climax, depression and a defeated-slump straight back into the realism of capitalism – to start right back at the beginning, but with less time than before.”
Achieving And Getting Things Done (installation)
Inside Silently Chained’s isolated cell
They all smiled gingerly and meekly.
Had they simply forgotten, or had they never known anyway? I guess it is neither.
They’re neither alive nor gone.
Not until the hour of the moon crosses the path of the sun.
Then they will know, and they will realise, what they had known all along.
But for now, it is too late. Too late. Too late?
Inside Parallel Paranoia’s isolated cell
This painting (above) is from a series of works called Where have all the bees gone? Where a parallel universe was created to highlight the importance of bees to the ecosystem and our food supply. Without the bees that pollinate roughly a third of our food crops there would be less food around. The chain reaction could be devastating to the human race and all life on Earth. The disappearance and death of bees or Colony Collapse Dissorder (CCD) as it is somethimes known is puzzling scientists and researchers still with mites and pesticides being the main concerns.
In the parallel universe the bees have been lured into a lab by a mad scientist and experiments have taken place. For some reason the scientist becomes psychically connect to the bees and finds they will do as he wishes. The scientist sets about creating his own Utopian vision. Using the soldier bees to hold the planet under siege and turn things around. Food, shelter and equality for all. Harmony with all living creatures and the landscape the ultimate goal. Organic produce, waste reduction, ocean cleanups, knowledge and wisdom passed on to all. The trouble was the scientist did such a great job that he became some sort of a celebrity. A leader and ultimately was devoured by power and greed. Alan is a dog and he spends most of his time walking around in his horse suit. Alan is the mad scientist’s best friend. The horse suit is an extension of Alan and his status/power and also the scientist’s eccentricity. The portrait of Alan was painted by Mikk for the Scientist in 2027. “I didn’t have a choice!” he said.
Many of our endeavours are maintained by reliance on oil. Many of our endeavours are purely narcissistic – taught by the system to be so. Reflecting on this can sometimes make one see their own ‘achievements’ in a very different light. And is it really that precious? (this piece was once used in a Seawhite Of Brighton arts suppliers brochure, not black gooey paint, with a look of oil about it, drips down it).
Parallel Paranioa is in the process of filling up a paddling pool with needless consumer plastic waste. In another water filled area (The Pacific Ocean) a floating island of plastic trash twice the size of Texas is currently existing.
Pandemic-Sheffield! Plague breaks out!!!
Note from self outside the cell to self inside the cell…
In the summer of 1944 delegates from 44 countries met in the midst of World War 2 to reshape the world’s financial system. The location of the meeting – in rural Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA – was designed to ensure that the delegates would have no distractions, and no pressure from lobbyists or congressmen, as they worked on their plans for post-war reconstruction. The New Hampshire Bretton Woods is part of a land grant made in 1772 by royal governor John Wentworth, which he named after his ancestral home (West) Bretton, in Yorkshire, England.
In the summer of 2011, Globalsapiens met in the midst of a global meltdown (financially, environmentally and socially) to throw around their own ideas of making a better world, with changes being needed now more than ever – A HUGE ALTERATION IS NEEDED. The location of the meeting – In rural Bretton woods in West Bretton, Yorkshire, England – is a symbolic gesture: the USA Bretton woods conference reshaped the world after the war, to prevent the problems (financial crisis’s for example) which led to the war; shaping the world for the past 60+ years, and beginning global capitalism as we know it today.
We need a Bretton woods conference now! Not to reinstate capitalism but to figure out how we can move beyond it. The sources of power whom we would usually assign these tasks to have gone insane; a systemic press-ganging on anything which tries to halt the forces of big business – which leaves this conference to people assumed-powerless like us (Globalsapiens). In this mock-version of an all-important conference, we will speak about, and demand a better world; suggesting, through the thoughts and words they never speak, both what these all-important meetings should really be about, and also emphasising what is more important; assigning the decision making to the assumed-powerless.
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.
A two artist tribute to the parallel worlds of the troubled human species and the natural world, through a series of anniversaries marked in the current year; 2009
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
End of the wall
conclusion for my current ‘Looking For Truth’ book
I have realised that my own walls will never crumble until under extreme personal circumstances, be it a physical injury to slow my manic escapism, or from the more desirable outcome; somebody else wedges themselves between me and my fears. The obsession with one’s self is incubated by these perpetual walls too, and maintains the different compartments of hot and cold rooms, for the constant swing between self love and self hate – as this book shows.
I believe that medication is not intended for people who think like I do. No medication, which is there – for any citizens to take – to keep the country’s work force up and running, is meant for me, I am no long tern use for the country’s work force. This brings me to my immediate future, if I cannot escape my walls I must use all of my knowledge of them, and the fears that reside within them, to protest, as much as I can, that a humanity that builds walls is a humanity that is doomed to extinction, because anything that tries to to hide and deny the truth will always eventually succumb the rules of entropy. And all walls, between races, tribes, nations and the ones which ‘jail’ nature and imprison it in ever smaller and ‘unsustainable areas, need to be taken down if humanity is going to survive the 21st century, and live on after.
The World, under Capitalism, is supposed to be the ‘free world’ yet nothing else has built so many walls, implanted so many fears and created so much oppression – in the first world, perpetually, and in the 3rd world, physically. I would not dare to claim that the world would be perfect, or indeed that I would be free if it wasn’t for this system, but the villain in this movie it is!
These walls, and the general fear of where all this manmade expansion is taking us, laid out the blue print for my own walls in the first place – hammered home by the conformity of High school – and I’ll be damned if I do not not fight these ‘greater’ walls for the rest of my days, until one day when they may ‘no longer be’. Until then I will not rest, not physically or mentally.
As for my art, I do not think it will ever cease, it is the outcome of my dissatisfaction, and why should I not feel satisfied!? A ‘lie in?’ ‘an afternoon watching television?’ when people are dying for standing and residing upon the oil, which supports the comfort of this nation? This is just an example of the routes ‘guilt’ takes me down, but they most certainly ensure that my art work will proceed.
There is other notable outcomes created by this guilt however. Anorexia is a notable outcome of this guilt, but this guilt comes in many different forms, it is a bombardment, which for a sensitive person, is hard to escape from. Here are some of the contributors to my 10 year old perpetual walls, and especially my eating disorders; Advertisement/celebrity culture (and that includes all musical genres!), Orthodoxy/conformity that smacked one in the face at High School, the ever present un-realised fears about the environment, plus a hereditary tendency for ultra-sensitivity. The modern world is so fast and complex, one feels out of control, the only way they can find control is by enforcing a strict regime upon themselves, my regime began in 1999 (10 years ago).
Art, as an outlet for protest, runs parallel to these kinds of disorders, both dig their claws into one’s conscious as soon as one even considers ‘taking the day easy’. Even now, my brain is searching for new artwork’s, new routines -to make the day a success – even in protest, the fear of failure embedded in a Consumer society is all conquering.
So, until the walls, humanity builds, remain, the walls within me will also. For the time-being, the wall is me, I am looking for truth, whilst, at the same time, I know I will not find it anywhere, but right here, the place in which I am so fearful of looking into. I know this, yet I will keep ‘looking for truth’ in places in which it isn’t, and by saying this I have openly declared that I am way too fearful to let go of my walls. My logic knew this back in late December/early January, but the hope, which resides in one’s will, ensures that one spends his life going round in a circle.
What is the disease and what is me?
What is the ivy and what is the tree?
where does the sky begin
and where does the see?
Where are these barriers
that stop me being free?
I’ve done it again. I’ve let myself slip into such an obsessional production-line of “things I have to do” that I have lost the joy and pride for what I have even made, whilst living in these endless shifts.
Even the music I listen to has been used as a motivational tool for ‘getting stuff done’, and at this moment I can’t even find any music that can satisfy this empty feeling. Also, the books I read are becoming the ‘spectres’ of my obsessive personality, just like when I started collecting retro computer games, aged 19, in a desperate attempt to attempt to un-earth some sense of enjoyment from my childhood at a time when I was rapidly slipping into an anorexic state – only for it to become part of my obsessive patterns.
Why does a glimmer of hope always end up turning into a concrete slab weighing down on me further?