Tag Archive | walking

Manchester and The Morning After… (Stories From Forgotten Space)

This is a spoken word/video version of notes and mapmaking from earlier in October this year, over the weekend the Tory Conference was held in Manchester

It is part of a series that has thus far have largely centred around times/spaces where gatherings/events have felt like ample territory for my thoughts on the past (my past), present, and longings for a future decisively different from the present.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/150320900″>Manchester and The Morning After (Stories From Forgotten Space)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user18137640″>john Ledger</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The Big Smoke (And Mirrors): Stories From Forgotten Space

This is a spoken word/video version of notes and mapmaking from earlier in September this year, over the weekend the Labour election leadership was decided.

It is part in a series of map-making’s of meanderings and musings that coincided with decisive events for the wider society in 2015. My thoughts on the past (my past), present, and longings for a future decisively different from the present loosely congregating around these events. This part covers Manchester, Barnsley and London.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/146577387″>The Big Smoke (and Mirrors): Stories From Forgotten Space</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user18137640″>john Ledger</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

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Lost Bus Routes and Pre-Election Rambles (May 2015)

Here is a spoken word version of my May blog, Lost Bus Routes and Pre-Election Rambles.

An account of myself and Michael Hill, walking around old haunts (Around South/West Yorkshire), conjuring memories, and futures of the past, on the eve of the 2015 UK General Election. Taking routes where long gone bus routes used to take us.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/144591777″>Lost Bus Routes and Pre-Election Rambles</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user18137640″>john Ledger</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Stories From Forgotten Space (March/April)

Stories From Forgotten Space builds on 2014 Mapmaking with the aim of taking the most prominent features of the project a little further.

The previous section of Stories from Forgotten Space can be found here:

https://johnledger.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/stories-from-forgotten-space-january/

https://johnledger.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/stories-from-forgotten-space-march/

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28 March 2015

65“2 miles north of Wakefield centre. Cutting under a bridge. There is a Large Yorkshire flag planted in somebody’s garden as close to the mainline railway track as possible. The railway represents the gaze of the world passing by. I see more patriotically-placed flags close to railway tracks than anywhere else.”

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“The future, now drab. Stare out onto the M62 motorway from the bridge. I’m listening to Autobahn by Kraftwerk, with an hyper-realist album cover (always in mind, when listening to the album), and a Utopianist outlook on the still-then-new motorway systems. In this world we now have , when motorways are supersaturated into the netting of everyday life, their beauty is there still, yet it is inaccessible – whilst trapped in a series of systems that are threatening to destroy us.”

66 67 68“A view of central Leeds from inside the large housing estate of Middleton. The Blade-Runner-made-real-by-Dubai effect of Bridgewater Place (specifically) juxtaposed with the style of redbrick houses council houses my grandparents, and their contemporaries, both raised our parents and dragged their parents into from the Victorian slums, creates two opposing worlds. A world of superclass and underclass, of sci-fi dog-eat-dog-dystopia actualised, contrasting with the post war working class life of mild frustration, old religious ornaments (clinging on in a Brave New World), soggy crackers and hard bread. Still inhabited houses, occupied by proud owners seem to jolt into a reality that they have been told they don’t belong in. The popular music from the 60’s/70’s/80’s still seems to echo off the buildings constituting these estates, but nothing post 2000.”

69“In Quality Save in the Merrion Centre, Leeds, now a low-budget shopping centre, pushed as far from the train station as possible. The stress is always far more tangible in these shops, the children cry with a harshness and duration not witnessed in the shops further down towards the upmarket end. It is too much for my dehydrated, weekend-discontented self to deal with, and I have to drop my intended purchases and swap this ‘contained’ noise for the open-air noise of the roads outside.”

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“Two men and a woman, in low-budget clothing, and drenched from the afternoon downpour (the poor never manage to evade the rain), walk down the road that divides the older working class part of central Leeds, the open air market and bus station, with the newer promotional images of glamour, posted up on the boards circumventing the construction of an high-end-consumer complex, which aims to be an appendage to the bastion-of-arrogance The Victoria Quarter – an enclave of very high end consumables, just across the road. I feel a violence from being sandwiched between a life of poverty that nobody desires, and 6 foot photographs of ‘chiselled’ and vibrant representatives of a world that shows no empathy to a hard life that wears away the such ‘modelling’ looks.”

69a 70“I walk up a side street towards Westgate in Wakefield centre, containing Mexican/Latin-themed bars/eateries. Whenever I see enclaves made for social occasions, my body throws out an instantly-vapourising excitement. It is a perpetually-frustrated excitement, borne out of factors (such as the promises, and a loneliness) specific to our times, due to a potential for social space that I neither ever tap into, or lacks the ability to be tapped into due to being nothing other than an image of socialising.”
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April 4 2015

71“Walking down Smyth Street, Wakefield city centre. There is a poster on the side of a club for an upcoming Heaven 17 gig – a group known for their ‘Temptation’ track. But that was well over 30 years ago. Something so distant, made near again through comeback tours. But it still feels distant, like it doesn’t belong here now, but is here nonetheless due to the void in genuine cultural production.”

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“On Ings Road dual carriageway. Under a railway bridge that looks older than everything else on the road, a Sainsburys delivery van drives past me. I can just about make out that somebody has appropriated a phrase made popular after the terrorist killing of the French cartoonist/satirist Charlie Hebdo, (earlier this year) to write ‘Je Suis Clarkson’ in the dirt on the back of the van, seemingly in support of the plight of recently sacked BBC presenter/bully Jeremy Clarkson. The irony in using the words for Jeremy Clarkson, however, is possibly lost on the writer. As both are/were indeed alike in respect of their (arguably) one-dimensional idea of freedom of speech. It is arguable that both had aimed their “I-can-say-what-I-want/Attack-who-I want” jibes at those in weaker, less powerful positions than themselves.”

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“A gang of young people have a air of brashness with the entrance into Wakefield bus station – the lurching search for amusement. I walk past them with the intention of exiting the bus station, but turn back on myself in usual Saturday afternoon indecisiveness. Shouts come from behind me. I notice a young male, who turns out to be some sort of ring-leader of the group, who’s hybrid style of urban/street with indie-boy surprises me, still surprised, as I am, by such hybrids in our super-saturated times. He keeps advancing towards a dishevelled-looking man, who looks to have a mixture of alcohol addiction, financial, and learning problems; 3 issues that act as weakness in a bullying culture that this young, confident man, seems happy to exploit in order to amuse his gang. The dishevelled man responds exactly how the gang wishes him to respond by lashing out manically at the young man, in the process exposing the distress that the situation is causing him. The young man capitalises on every sign of vulnerability-viewed-as-weakness to escalate the spectacle. Everybody in the bus station is staring, including myself. I look around to see if any security or police are knocking around – on the few times you wish they were every where – but there are none to be seen. And surely the police would see me as wasting their time? After all no ‘real’ harm is being done, is it? The bullies win – as they always do when the vulnerable are no longer seen as vulnerable, but as losers. And bullying is so saturated into our society, via an emphasis on competition that oozes from screens, and creeps into work places.”

72 73“How can you feel anything but loss walking through the tree-lined suburbs (St John’s area of Wakefield)? ‘We’re all middle class now’ – more faded than any sun-bleached abandoned billboard can ever be. Of course these undead desires of a leafy, suburban, fresh-veg-eating lifestyle still appeal to me; I was at the ripe age in the 1990’s to be saturated with them, believing that it was both totally desirable, to the point where a 2.4 children, ‘happy ending’ seemed inevitable. Not any more. And I feel ashamed it still clings to me.”

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“A gymnasium offering 24 hour access on the corner of Trinity Walk. Work never ends now. The allure of (the appearance of) productivity, of an enviable, toned, professional and industrious subjectivity is very strong, stronger by the day. But where is the room for life anymore? For happenings, chance encounters?”

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“Michael speaks of how the non-place nature of the private/public space of Trinity Walk doesn’t quite work for him, due to its usage of previously-existing streets that he remembers from childhood, making for an odd experience where the zero-gravity effect of pure simulacrum-consumption suddenly becomes grounded in a very specific space.”

74 758 April 2015

76After traveling on this road for the first time in 3 weeks (that’s a long time for me not to be in Barnsley) the ‘old girls’ school’, now a compound of mildly-desirable apartments, strikes me as a stand out feature on this very leafy, suburban entrance into a town that still conjures images of ugly, northern grittiness in the minds of the rest of the country. But this leafy avenue is to nowhere, as the town in anticipates is somewhat absent. And it is to the frustration of a ‘native’ of the scattered former coal mining empire that clusters around Barnsley centre. A constant hope for a town centre that offers something. But momentum always fades, and it now seems to have died back more than any time in living memory. To the extent that the suburbs may have lost their entire purpose to Leeds/Sheffield commuter settlements. This entrance is one of those that suggests something that seems to be forever displaced.”

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“Sat in chain cafe talking to Dave, 6pm/post-work, only non-alcohol-orientated place open at this time. We are in agreement, that out-and-out revolution just wouldn’t work right now, and we need to get back to a building a socially-progressive structure that can look to a future again. We are sat behind a group of teenage girls. I become aware of the inherently-pretentious-sounding nature of such a conversation, especially within a chain cafe. But their repetitive glances away from their friends are fortunately (or unfortunately) towards their phone screens and my presumed accusation of “trying to sound all clever” is proven to be false. But there again I’ve only ever had such an accusation from older generations. I begin thinking of how the possibly-intentional misconception of what it means to be ‘grown up’ in our culture usually means to become more conservative and to move away from once-held ideals. We mock straight-outta-college young people for acclaiming that “the revolution is coming”, aware of the relentless tide of disappointments awaiting them that will wear this out. But the problem is in our possibly-intentional conflation of idealism with naivety. Older people can still remain true to their ideals for a better world, a long time after their naïve expectations of the immanence of revolution are worn away. They can do this without becoming resigned to ‘the way of the world’ once they accumulate a few small comforts they don’t want to part with.”

77“Post 6pm Peel Square/Peel Street. Never seen so many semi-destitute/semi-destroyed lives anaesthetised by drink. On the corner of Peel Square and Market Hill two men crouch over an electricity box, seemingly impatiently trying to see what’s revealed on a scratch-card. As we walk up Peel Street two men struggle to walk, so ‘out of it’ that I mistake their growling expressions as the beginnings of potential hostilities towards me and Dave. I look to my right, up the walkway ‘Dog Lane’, to see a drunken man set on the steps with his head in his hands. Yeah, it’s been a rare sunny week (to the which the UK seems to always respond by drinking), but this is a dead end getting closer and closer. It can’t go on.”

78“The tragedy of ‘Che Bar’. A night club, with that typical semi-derelict look during day time, which means you can never tell whether it has ceased trading or not, offering dead-end night-time pleasure-seeking on a street that (due to the premature cut off caused by the ring road) embodies a dead end. A smashed window with a Cuban flag behind it; but it’s the can of Stella that somebody has somehow managed to lob onto the lettering for ‘Che’ that strikes me and Dave as most tragically symbolic. Che Guevara, a left wing revolutionary. No one image embodies that which stands in the way of revolution/social change in contemporary times that a crate of Stella Artois.”

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9, 10 April 2015

79“ #I get so lonely, lonely, lonely. Got to be some good times ahead# – the Freddy Mercury dance song from yesteryear becomes haunting, and fitting, in this post-6pm, empty shopping mall [The Ridings, Wakefield]. A moment that acts as a metaphor for the wider feeling of being ‘stuck’. Aged 9, at the beginning of my life, this was one a few songs to be etched into my thinking that seemed to represent a perceived-ending of something. I become captive the song’s memory-reprising as I frantically root through my rucksack in vain for the camera I thought I’d packed. 9 years old, travelling between Cornish holiday destinations. With recently improved standard of living for the family, Cornwall looked so different from previous holiday destinations; it looked more like they did on the TV. 1993 – a new world seemed to beckon. But what else would I feel in the early 90’s? I caught the wave of cultural optimism telling me that poverty, war and misery had been eradicated by those good people from the century we were close to leav

.ing. This song: it felt like a closure of all of that – a waving goodbye. But it never went away, it just got stronger.”
“Unlike Barnsley (in fact, unlike any other town I can think of), Wakefield seems to have an active night-life throughout the week, as if it has been permitted to stay in the 90’s/early 00’s indefinitely. The bars are sometimes lacking any revellers, but even then they remain open, playing 90’s House music to nobody. It’s as if the night scene is like an old clock in an unoccupied building that chimes to itself right on time, every day, regardless.”

P1030299“The Tickets Officer approaches me as I enter Kirkgate station’s platforms. Their increasing presence closing in on those fluke times when you get a free ride – those little bits of luck that do much to take some of the weight of everything off your day. Not unfriendly, just non-friendly transactions – as they must always assume that we’re trying to ‘pull a fast one’ at such stations. Notice PMT/SML/PST (? – some abbreviating anyway) above Northern Rail on his staff name tag. A security firm subcontract, or joint venture – whatever it is it makes me queasy. But it’s not the officer’s fault. He hums a tune whilst we wait for the machine to print my ticket. Just like me, he’s trying to make ends meet. The relationship between vendor and customer may be constitutive of false bonds, but maybe they’re the only bonds now holding the entire social structure together, after 40-years-hate-your-neighbour has been drilled into us. I think how futile calls for immediate insurrection, anarchic alternatives are after 40 years of Thatcherism. “We’d tear each other apart – we’ve been bred to hate each other”. Any change surely has to begin with slow social transformation, before any high-end idealism could work – to help us not see each other purely as competitors for diminishing returns.”

80

“A long queue begins to form in the Poundland shop in Wakefield centre, as the cashier is way behind our contemporary demands for Internet-speed purchasing in the physical world. Nobody who has been emotionally hijacked in futility to prove themselves of worth in an entrepreneurial society can endure being in Poundland for too long. “Why can’t the cashier be faster/better? Why can’t I be faster/better?” What an harsh world we’ve made.”

“Approaching Darton railway station. This railway line (from Sheffield up to Leeds) could stand in for my entire adult life. And I increasingly have this feeling that it at least owes me something.”

81 82 (2)10 April 2015

“I pass 30 pence to an homeless woman on the road leading northwards from The Headrow towards the Universities. Homeless on street corners of UK cities so normal now it almost becomes assimilated into the simulcra of ‘city scene’. Not quite entirely though; the exhaustive sense of responsibility and potential vulnerability to homelessness it provokes in me cuts through all the Simulcra City that often eases us into our desire to shirk responsibility.”

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“Millennium Square [Leeds] empty of fun fares/winter festivals, open space freed up again. Breathable. The only real breathing space in the city – maybe there is down by the canal, but down there the constant barrage of kitted-up joggers provokes too much anxiety over one’s own ‘biopolitical value’. The paving stones of Millennium Square stretch into the horizon of seating areas constituting workers gearing up for their UKWeekend (the macho football-fan-like chanting erupting from one of the tables is too far way to bother me). A young girl takes advantage of the open space to ride her scooter up and down, in a simplistic manner that could momentarily strike you as a shard from our post-war past, in our current securitised, paranoid, surveillance state. Whilst I become mildly incensed over my inability to tell myself just what it is I find so wrong about the big screen replays of the highly skilled performers involved in the ‘Grande Departe 2014’ (the ranter within internally shouts “Jesters for Dystopia!), an homeless man, too honest for me to dispute any of his story, very politely asks me for money for food. But having given change to the homeless woman, and worrying over my own financial-capabilities to stand as tall as I can in this world, I refrain from giving him any change. I feel bad. What could I do? This isn’t breathing space at all. Breathing space doesn’t exist. I move on.”

8485“Walking past the high rise blocks of ‘luxury apartments’ along the canal-side. Man looks pleased with himself; enjoying the sun. Who can blame him? I want to. I want to blame something. Bad feelings building like nausea. So much choice, no fruition. Always barred entry. It isn’t choice though – always the same stale taste. A group of lads all suited-up. Maybe they work in the city. But all together. In unison. The lads away from home.”

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“Under the footbridge crossing the canal are the ragged remnants of somebody’s sleeping place. Still used or not – it’s hard to tell. It seems an odd place to choose, but if one is constantly moved on within the city streets, what choice is there? Like the ever-increasing visibility of homelessness on the streets, this again highlights the severity of it.”

8687 “Walking down the side of the canal (where the old Leeds/Liverpool canal ends). Sometimes everybody seems 6 foot; neoliberal perfection achieved in body-form. Jogging, laughing, they make me look like the 1980’s flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shore of the ‘Brave New 90’s’. Of course, this is just the gentrified city landscape, but this acknowledgement just makes it so much worse.”

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“As I walk this city alone, with every instance collapsing my efforts to be at ease into a now-default gritting of teeth/poker-face, I know in my heart of hearts that my loneliness is a political issue, bigger than me whom it is inflicted upon. Yet in words it will forever provoke its response of violin-strings-mimcry-mockery. My decision to buy a soft drink when I reach the pub, and finally managed to quench my thirst, lapses into a determined desire for an alcoholic drink.”

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11 April 2015

88“Barnsley central. I always like my home town at this time, within a 11:30AM – 1:30PM period; a short, vibrant energy that vanishes into fear-inducing zombie-pleasure-addiction (like all UK towns?) as the day descends into night. Unfortunately I was more of a captive participator in the latter – one of the reasons I felt It was wise to temporarily leave here, even if such instilled behavioural patterns follow me.”

89 90“As I walk toward the exit in a charity shop on Division Street (Sheffield), the Power Ballad CD playing in the shop sticks, repeating a one second point on the song over and over. It always takes us a moment to realise what has occurred. And why do we all smirk when we realise? Is it because such technical faults momentarily reveal the truth? That the ‘stuck record’ is the truth.”

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“As I look down the hill from West Street I notice a huge banner draped down the side of (what I thought still were) the BT offices. But such a banner surely states that they’re now being converted into student accommodation. The aspirationalism of it all (a word that would sound bizarre in association with student life even a decade ago) is an underlying given due to the “book now/don’t miss out” promise/warning. I would’ve never imagine that such an dominating block of offices within this city would eventually become student accommodation and once-again reminds me of what is big business now in this city. I would’ve never imagined myself thinking negatively of the expansion if universities/colleges within our towns/cities, but maybe I should have been careful of what I wished for. Education purely as business, driven by profit-making, with perpetual expansion is (dare I say it, as a Post-Grad?) beginning to have a parasitical impact on towns and cities rather than a positively-transformative force. It’s depressing, and needn’t be like this.”

91 91(a) 92

“I initially mistake a poster draped on the Winter Gardens “calling all city centre businesses” to use their postal ballot for a poster encouraging the local electorate to vote for the Green Party in the upcoming General Election. This is due to the largest words “Vote Yes” being incorporated into a large green circle. If my initial misreading is anything to go by, I hope many more passers-by do the same, and the poster becomes an accidental booster for Green Party support.”
“I exit a side street, to walk across the tram-lined road, down to the former-Castle Market area. As I gaze more at the city than ‘blindfully’ minding my own business, I am accosted by a beggar asking for loose change. I genuinely don’t have anything until I reach a cash machine further down. But I begin to wonder if a city laden with undisputed desperate denizens disables any attempt to experience it as a place to learn, and forces it to be an urban gauntlet where ‘blindfully’ minding one’s own business becomes a default measure that is hard to divert from.”

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“As I walk down towards Sheffield train station I begin to hear one of my least-liked sounds. Is the football-fan-like chanting/jeering the most indicative noise of the experiential-enclosure-affect of towns/cities over the UKWeekend? The potential of passive aggression , and the avoidance and discomfort of places, is largely absent during weekdays. Their search for a jeer-target lands on two young women, who look to have had their weekend’s fun already turned sour, with the men aiming the slur “plastic fantastic” at one of the women due to the dress she is wearing.”

3 Days of Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record in London

Reflections gathered from performance in the Anti-Gallery Show, weekend 16,17,18, January 2015

P1020888This text is a reflection on the performing of Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record – inspired by Ivor Southwood’s book Non-Stop Inertia. Part of a wider collaborative project between myself and Leeds-based artist/curator John Wright, Non-Stop Inertia was played intermittently over a 3 day period as part of the Anti-Gallery Show, at The Espacio Gallery in Shoreditch, London. As this text deals purely with reflections during and after these 3 days, the explanation for the motives behind this ongoing work can be found here: https://johnledger.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/non-stop-inertia-a-stuck-record-the-anti-gallery-show/ . However, the writing uses other points within the 3 day period in London to talk about a larger project, in which Non-Stop Inertia is just one part.

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A Psychological Experiment…

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That I am in a well-and-truly-spent state the day after our Non-Stop-Inertia piece means that if it was as much a psychological experiment as it was a piece of artwork then the experiment was successful. The carefully-chosen texts we chose to read out were so fitting, but fitting within the eternal-now, ‘in the loop’ of the performance. Because the gravity of their content could as easily fall from mind as it could be put back there once there performance resumed. The content itself became looped; there was no further level of understanding. It was the poetry of a ghost trapped in the machine.

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No Evolution

And ghosts trapped in the machine we became. Neuro-psychically electrocuted by the randomly occurring door-alarm signal, I for one can testify to the physical effect (in my manic body movements) that such internalising of the constant expectation of random interruptions can have. Certain lines read out from our texts would land in unison on the pulse-line of the subjectivation, at which point we’d look to each other as if to confer “yes, that’s what this is, exactly!”, but cognitively building on what was being said/read felt impossible due to this anticipation of interruptions. How can you build on things if you are in a perpetual state of siege?

The door alarm noise signaling our ‘calling’ to disseminate emotionally-laboured welcoming-spiel (language absent of life aimed at an absent customer) was, of course, implemented in a random-fashion by our own design. But the intention was to show how this unending anticipation of unpredictable interruptions of our thoughts is a constitutive part of contemporary life, which (we believe) is intrinsic to the inability of individuals and societies alike formulate, or even imagine, a way out of the current global cultural situation that consumes the hopes, desires and visions of alternatives with the same level of ferocity that it consumes the people and resources needed to constitute a future world full stop.

We came away from this performance with no answers to this, but this was the intention: to give poetic form to the very structures preventing us from finding the answers to the current situation. We believe that if the structures permeating contemporary life are dismissed as irrelevant to the task of building towards an alternative, then any kind of positive alternative is impossible.

No Desire to Converse

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Whilst in London, myself and John Wright frequently discussed the difference between desire and drive: that, in an ‘always on’, no-future, hyper-competitive, hyper-capitalist world, desire is both short-circuited and disemboweled from drive. This leaves us trapped in a ‘nothing-left-but…’  state, where we often feel a zombie-like-entrapment to the motions of tasks, duties and habits and especially the end-game pursuit of sugary, narcotic, or sexual stimulus; that can often feel like being in a state of seizure due to inconceivability of there being anything else we can do “but pursue pleasure”. (an overly referenced section of Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism book, which I attempted to read out as part of the performance).

As well as the resulting post-performance-state leaving us in a state of incomprehension of what we could possibly do except going and getting alcoholically intoxicated in the city, the performance itself also functioned through pure signal-actioned drive. The words were spoken out of drive, rather than desire. This is why others who attempted to engage in the dialogue, and who weren’t used to the nature of the represented job-type to an extent that they could ‘go through the motions’ like we could, very quickly became frustrated (as was partly the intention). One of the participating artists in the Anti Gallery Show said he couldn’t see the point in trying to make conversation. What was the point of him trying to gain something from a conversation if he was to be constantly sent back to square one by the interruptions?

If we are correct in viewing this predicament as endemic in contemporary life, could it not be said that the breaking down of thought and communication to a sound bite-form isn’t merely the result of a reduction of our attention-spans caused by our immersion in cyberspace, but is actually caused by the lack of desire to engage in conversation due to the anticipation of interruptions slicing through it? We also argued that the increasingly competitive nature of contemporary life further reduces the room for conversation, because the constant sense of the self-under-siege within such a competitive world makes it seem an immediate necessity to get our point heard rather than allow the time for other points to be heard (I, for one, am very guilty of this). Indeed, what was left of our broken up conversations was used to discuss the breaking up of dialogue intrinsic to one of the largest social media platforms: Twitter.

All in all Non-Stop Inertia: A Stuck Record was successful – too successful perhaps; afterwards, the necessary walk (climb) back to Kings Cross station seemed almost daunting.

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The (Un)realised Project

This inability to transcend, to get beyond the “this is so relevant!” point whilst we were reading the texts/debating perhaps makes Non-Stop Inertia:A Stuck Record pivotal to a wider sensation myself and John Wright are investigating. That, as numerically-measured time pushes onwards, and one’s skin slowly sags downwards, somehow one hasn’t merely become ‘stuck in a moment’, but that the moment has terraformed, re-landscaped the horizon so that the next step beyond this ‘stuck moment’ seems to have never even existed, and that the places that proclaim to have movement are merely just full of frenetic ghost-like actions, speeding up but going nowhere. The unending nature of the sentence I have just written embodies a unending struggle to put to sleep the ghosts that haunt me. After countless debates around this matter, myself and John Wright began an investigation, of intertwined stories (personal to me) and wider post-millennial cultural moments, that we aim to turn into a solid body of work under the umbrella title The (Un)realised Project.

Thus far it has been agreed on that one specific work, The Mary Celeste Project (The Scene of The Crash), will take centre stage within this body of work. The Mary Celeste Project (The Scene of The crash), completed in 2014, uses my own turf (post industrial areas stretching along the foothills of the Yorkshire Pennines) to examine near pasts, lost futures and dead dreams to understand the wider contemporary social condition. Focusing on two lost futures and the un-locatable present, the condition of which is largely caused by the loss of the previous, and their haunting presence. The first lost future is that of popular modernism, which died in the latter quarter of the 20th century. The second lost future being the naively optimistic early to mid-1990’s, and its utopian gaze toward the coming new millennium. The un-locatable present here refers to a specific intensification of life under digital capitalism, looking at a severe disconnection to the passing of time since the 2008 financial crisis. The Mary Celeste Project (The Scene of The Crash) is crucially inspired by my sense of a loss of narrative and of being out of time, amidst a feverishly neoliberal reality. But certain locations I spent time in prior to the beginnings of this project were crucial to reasons behind making of it.

Ground-Zero Greenwich

lllllllIt is clear then that specific geographical spaces are very important to this whole investigation. Thus, with the rarity of two people from northern England planning to embark on the south at the same point, it was essential we had to go another very symbolically important location: Greenwich.

So what makes Greenwich so important? We’d arrived in darkness, and the specifically-threatening-looking silver Met police cars guarding the gates put us off trying to find a way in, so we circumvented Greenwich Park wall right down to the river. One point of agreement on that walk was pivotal to the whole text I’ll write thereon after: my ‘stuck in a moment’ fixation with a 3 month (yet 3 year-long-feeling) time spent in London, unsuccessfully trying to complete an MA in Cultural Studies just down the road in New Cross, prompted John Wright to say to me (in a supportive manner, of course) that I really ought to have done the MA in Leeds (I had considered doing the MA at the University of Leeds, the institution John had recently been awarded an MA qualification at), but we both instantaneously and almost simultaneously responded by agreeing that I had to go to London; that there was something much larger and important at play.

P1020901I’ve written way too much already about the mental state I found myself in down London that forced me to leave, and the time leading up going and the time afterwards is far more crucial to the project and the reasons for the usage of my experiences within Greenwich. However, there is one crucial line explaining my state down there that activated this entire project: I believed I’d reached a total dead end, that there was nothing beyond this spell in London.

During this 3-year-disguised-as-3-month-spell, I found myself at Greenwich quite a few times (even ending up with a part time job there, just a week before finding myself back in bed in the north), finding the momentary ease under the autumnal ‘avenues all lined with trees’ an embodier of the wish for a granting of indefinite residence in a place I never really wanted to leave – “I like it here can I stay?” as the lyrics from The Smiths’ Half A Person that weaved through all other thoughts within my room in nearby New Cross.

95Something had occurred here to a degree that I was finding it incredibly hard to get out of bed in morning after 15 years of habitually getting up at 7am. The years preceding had seen a building up of both foreboding and understanding of the global cultural situation, to which 2011 felt like the zenith; a clicking into place of a new reality from which we couldn’t go back. And now I was here, in the last 3rd of 2012, and it truly felt like the eye of the storm; the “that’s exactly it!” masters course (that I wanted to last forever, not 1 year of pressurised performance); the financial epicentres seen from my windows; the potential of meeting the world in a world-city; THE HEART OF DARKNESS – as it really did feel like I’d finally found it in as if in an inversion of Joseph Conrad’s novel – because, as comical as it sounds, the plentiful Megabus trips down there looking for a home were symbolic of a wider feeling of being worn right right right down into a man in search of a resting place. And, after the year 2011, there appeared to be no way of going back. And at that initial point before it all went wrong it didn’t matter that there was no way forward.

But as the London-endeavour lead on it became unavoidably clear that there was a dead end rapidly approaching. Throughout the preceding years there had been so much effort to show how entangled my inability to perceive a future for myself was with the dead end that was the endgame of the course the world was taking, to the point where I was exhausted just as it all seemed to come to a head. But as I walked around Greenwich, a place arguably unsurpassed in symbolic importance to creation of the world as we know it, to the extent that it often feels like the meridian was the first line ever laid, it became very clear to me for the first time how our ‘always on’ global capitalist culture was trapped by the past.

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Greenwich is a place symbolically laden with traces of ghosts from other eras that refuse to die; a fusion of what-might-have-been’s (lost futures) and unshifting-has-been’s’ (archaic tombs that won’t close up). One that caught my attention was the Queen Elizabeth Oak, an important tree for the Tudor dynasty (a crucial period in the formation of Imperial expansion and modernity). Yet the tree is 100+ years-dead, and has laid on the floor like a wooden carcass for some years now too. Trapped under the weight of the past, with no future to speak of, the speed of life/the ‘always on’ endless labouring within the infinitely accelarating capitalist technosphere, traps us in a frenetic eternal-now epitomised by the Non Stop Inertia project. But in such a Stuck Record state, the present is also a void without a perceivable future in its wake, meaning the past, especially the near past, seeps into the void left by the unlocatable present (think of how traces of the optimistic 1990’s seem to cling to everything); impounding the pressure between the new reality demanded in the wake of 2011 and the lack of ability to be able to even think beyond the current moment. This is well and truly an hauntological state, and through my endeavouring after abandoning London to engage on a cognitive level with the South/West Yorkshire landscape I lapsed back into, these past 2 two years have been profoundly hauntological; all that has followed as felt unrealised…undead.

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Connections….Always Looking for Connections…

Of course if we didn’t deem all this crucial to some wider situation we wouldn’t have embarked on the (un)realised projects investigation, nor would we have bothered taking the bus to Greenwich on a cold, dark night. The very fact that I also ‘sound like a stuck record’ on this blog now is more to do with my emotional energies smashing against 4 walls, looking for a way out, than the indulgences of dwelling in the past. Or at least this is what I tell myself. I have to tell myself this, because I am profoundly sick with the way things are, and the conviction that I am not alone means that the current direction of my work is as much as political act as the works I made in my early 20’s that dealt specifically with the threat of climate change.

The closed brackets around the ‘un’ in unrealised, was John Wright’s idea, positing it as the hope that all that is hanging around in a ghostly form will one day be realised. Using Jacques Derrida’s differentiation between an Ending of something and a Closure of something, John and I discussed how this dead-end feeling doesn’t have to be (or at least shouldn’t have to be) the end in itself, but a closure of something that allows the beginnings of another. Of course, our usage of specific geographical locations was a way of simultaneously commenting on this as both a deeply personal and deeply global cultural state. Perhaps using landscape is one of the strongest methods or articulating the fusion of two issues that would appear very distinct on a surface level?

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The Utopian Never Truly Dies

As much as we felt it necessary to travel to Greenwich after our performance on the Saturday, after our final, most exhaustive, performance on the Sunday, we deemed it necessary to spend time in the Barbican complex before we set off back for the train.

There is something truly special about this place, which gets beyond the facts of why it remained like this whilst other Brutalist utopian residential schemes failed drastically; that this estate was designed for the well off, the cultural elite, and thus corners weren’t cut in its construction (nor was it fucked up socially by mass job losses), is a seperate matter to to truth of the place which is that it exists as a realisation of the utopianist society that truly could have been.  This place doesn’t even seem to have been bothered by the onslaught of Thatcherism; neoliberalism seems to have been kept at the gates of this fort-like-structure, and you can imagine the same being true in long night of fascistic, repressive governance if we don’t find a way of changing the course we are on. It may be a place of the communal/the shared for those who already have their fair share, but in that it actualises elements of the ideal, it shows that they could, and should exist elsewhere.

What I like about this place is what makes me realise that as undead as I often feel, as emotionally-turned-to-stone as I regularly feel, I am still deeply utopian. Utopian is different from a Utopia; arguably Utopia can never exist, but to be Utopian is to be an idealist in life, not to accept any given reality as ‘the way it is’ – such fatalism is dangerous, and has arguably made the situation we are in profoundly worse to deal with.

The Barbican reveals traces of the utopian in the past that was left behind when neoliberal economic theory and postmodernism galvanised the TINA (there is no alternative to capitalism) reality. We sat in the canteen (the only place I know of in contemporary life where the word canteen isn’t associated undesirable eateries), and just sat, without the need for more pleasure-seeking, drink, etc – just sat.  As we moved on toward the station, making a closure on this situation still felt as far off as it did before the performance, in the Barbican we did at least get a glimpse of elements of a place that could exist beyond this stuck point. This point has to be moved on from; personally speaking, I cannot stay here any longer.

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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139 140 1411427 November 2014

“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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Recent Mapmaking (2014 so far) part 5

This is the 5th 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

A collection of the 2014 maps can be found here.

3 October 2014

London St Pancras to Westferry on foot, DLR to Greenwich, Bus to Deptford, on foot to New Cross Gate, Train/tube to Willesden Green.

Maps got destroyed. Little clear memory that remains.

“Find my mood caught out by the city this time around. Not tall enough today to stand up to city of tall asks. Strangely comforted by Greenwich. Always destined to head to once-to-be-familiar pubs in Deptford/New Cross. Hauntological hysteria intensified by 1990’s dance music. Lost in an intoxicated mood. Listen to slowed-down dance track in New Cross Sainsbury’s  – it doesn’t feel real, I feel like the ghost this time. Too far gone.”

100 100 (1) 102 1034 October 2014

Willesden Green to Southbank on foot, then on to London Bridge. Tube to Moorgate. On foot to St Pancras via Barbican.

“Come to realise why I could have never lived here. All thought liquidated by city. Round in circles in City zone. No reason to communicate anymore. A Meloncholic walking drone – no desire to be anything else. Just keep Walking, Walking, Walking.”

104 (1)104105 10621 October 2014

“Arriving in Calder Grove, The Red Kite car park. The Red kite is pure simulcra, before it is anything [else]. Built to look like an ‘Olde Worlde’ pub. Even though it is no more than 12 years old, the self-advertised ‘vintage’ look fooled a friend into thinking it was much older. Yet it isn’t even a locally-orientated simulation [of an old building]. These pubs (like the one at the Dodworth junction) evoke a style of  building that historically belonged [only in] South and Eastern England [not Northern England].”

“[Driving from the east into Leeds] The landscape changes abruptly from the early 20th century suburbia dream to the mid-20th century social housing reality. The dark red brick houses, typical of Northern England, tower-blocks appearing as we get closer to the centre. Yet [this] tower-block skyline is almost hidden from view [from within] the seemingly unbroken consumer/business-man landscape pf the centre. In many ways such [a] blotting of the central landscape brings to mind the ‘cleansing out’ of undesirable features in the 18th century designing of country estates”.

107 . 21.10.201410810911024 October 2014

“Something strangely reassuring about the [reasonably[ tightly-packed sprawl of Manchester proper. A would-be [more desirable] capital city? Quintessential red brick [housing] blocks, overlooked by supermodern complexes – like a safe metropolis compound? As if I could momentarily imagine this (that almost feels like a parallel world to Yorkshire over the Pennines) is free of the anxieties dealt by neoliberalism. Imaginary, yes. The reassuring feeling can only be felt in urban spaces I don’t spend much time in. I wish to be a citizen, a true city person; not a peasant or consumer (which, in reality, I am a mix of).”

“As the taxi approaches the chain pub complex at the roundabout (Redbrook/Barugh Green) the taxi driver says he’ll be voting UKIP at the next general election. I think we got to this point of topic due to talking about trying to survive on low-pay. He [tells me] UKIP have announced they [would] bring in an £8 per hour minimum wage. I find it hard to imagine how a party of right wing (largely well-off) reactionaries would ever truly action such a policy. yet, harder still is trying to explain to people how [I believe] UKIP aren’t really in their interest. Yet they’ve [UKIP] seeped into many peoples’ fears and desires. I exit the day with a sense of foreboding for the near future, feeling there’s very little I can do to alter this path”.

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Recent Mapmaking (2014 so far) part 4

This is the 4th 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

A collection of the 2014 maps can be found here.

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17 September 2014

“[The] train now grinds to an halt of the middle of nowhere [between Sheffield and Meadowhall]. Just sits. Cramped, and overpriced. Old, rickety, late trains – and the ticket conductor has the cheek to ask to inspect everyone’s tickets. Cheated is the feeling; for living outside London; for living in the UK; for living in a privatised world. One thing I do hope is that Scotland vote for independence, and show us how a rail system should be run.”

83. 17.09.2014.

20 September 2014

Wakefield to Leeds to Bradford to Halifax to Huddersfield to Leeds to Wakefield

Too tired to make notes…..

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24 September 2014

“Sat outside the flimsy, skeletal, Mary Celeste [as in, never-completed] structure. Talking about the gangsterism prevalent in a lot of small (and large) businesses, [makes] this entire area, much of it urban wasteland, take on an incredibly sinister feel. Bleak, dark, ominous – often a reflection on how the world feels on a whole right now. Men parked in flash cars, [dressed] in suits, suddenly [feel] threatening; like wraiths – guards of this injustice-drenched landscape.”

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29 September 2014“ [In London] Approaching the Brutalist success story ‘The Barbican’. New development (aiming at being incorporated under the Barbican success logo) has hoardings covered in grass imagery. As I look at the Brutalist skyscrapers, perhaps due to this age of incoming third world [level] poverty they conjure that that ‘deep Asian dystopia’ of dark towers hitting a smog-filled sky. The hoarding writing says [“creating Britain’s future”]. Yet this (the Barbican) was another era’s future! It feels stolen now – a future only for a very few.”

“Navigating the ‘tributary roads’, hoping they’ll take me to the torrent, over-capacitated, coastal river …The Old Kent Road (the new River Thames, making its way to Dover’s Europort).”

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29 September 2014

“[In New Cross] Feel like if I sat in this once-temporary old haunt for much longer I wouldn’t be able to go up again [as if it was some sort of final resting place – the very strange sensation I got when I temporarily moved down here in the first place]. Trapped in a time bubble like the final episode of Sapphire and Steel.”

[Central London] “Everybody is exercising! [Everybody jogging!] Super Professionals – wired-up to capital. In these places capital has achieved its utopia. Bike shops (designer of course). [Even] exercise shops; toned bodies parading [like window mannequins].”

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Let the Lyrics Talk (new book)

http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/5262007-let-the-lyrics-talk

This image and text book is about the phenomenological impact lyrics have on you; where they ‘philosophise’ for you, whether you want them to do so or not, by emerging in your stream of thoughts, articulating your unconscious, at least a long time before you find any other means of articulating it

The lyrics aren’t always from favourite songs; they’re just ones that can somehow identify with your life, and tell you things about your life, that would otherwise unlikely be recognised. Personally, pop music lyrics often haunt me as warnings of things going off in the world I am only half-aware of (half asleep to) or they reveal something I had thus far been unable to put into sentence.

Often the lyrics heard cut themselves from the rest of the songs lyrics and become specific to your own life, and your relationship to them bears no meaning to the lyrics of the song as a whole.

Regarding the images, there is no intention for them to be picturesque. They are more to do with the mundanity and psychological grind of much of life. The existential frustrations and longings such mundanity prises out of our souls is largely a response to the very opposite of that: the exciting, apsirational imagery of a capitalist culture, beaming from every poster and screen, that makes us feel that something is wrong if our lives are not always dynamic and exciting.

The songs are part of this culture and possibly evoke the dreams laden within it, even whilst they are often critical of the inconsistencies and injustices of this culture.

The Outdoors Has Become The Factory

ImageThe outdoors has become the factory. It has become that inhospitable environment that people were once relieved to clock off from. A few straggling pedestrians are battered by the production-line-motion of road transport noise, violent to the senses; repetitive noises once the preserve of the heavy industries and 20 century-style wars; floodlights that obliterate all vision on poorly lit streets; a ‘get-out-my-way’ speed that keeps the pedestrians obediently on their toes; and warning signs/CCTV cameras (that may or may not have human eyes behind them) instilling into them a need for even more obedience –  “don’t loiter; get on with what you should be doing”(usually consuming).

People, mainly in cars, or zoned out from others on express train commutes with all sensory organs focusing on screens/plugged into machines. The social/The outdoors: a gauntlet, a place to spend minimal possible time in. People so inconvenienced, anxious, exhausted and alone, from living in what Will Self calls ‘the Man-machine Matrix’ (which  requires increasingly more energy, enthusiasm, commitment from them) react to such circumstances by attempting to build private spaces of maximum available satisfaction. Private bunkers proliferate as hasty attempts to close the door of the outdoors in order to cling onto spaces of lonely enjoyment abandon the outdoors to the human waste of noise pollution, light pollution and the frustration from unsatisfactory private bunker moments that overspills into threats of violence on the streets.

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Headphones, that damage the ear drums with ‘chosen’ noise, block out the otherwise inescapable noise of traffic. But the pedestrian can’t escape the horizontal-shower of blinding lights in a wintertime rush hour. Watching a road at rush hour is like a process in a production-line or automated factory. All of us, frustratingly one at a time, in an urge to get to the master private bunker; our home. Everybody is out and moving; moving alone. An army of ants who have all been coaxed and conditioned by the religion of self.

People increasingly stressed and short of time, are constantly fighting against the rising tide of ‘inconveniences’; they are constantly thinking “don’t take away my valued private space for enjoyment; don’t infringe on my little moment of leisure time” and you witness adults kick up a child-like fuss when their private moment “to do what they wish” is subjected to a gate-crashing. (but yet a child-like response is expected from a people who have no collective/or social space, but only their private bunkers).

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The pedestrian’s experience of this noisy and thankless environment is probably more specific to the outer-city road networks and the sprawling sleeping suburbs that bleed off them, than the central zones of the country’s largest city sprawls. Few spaces outside our front doors in the sprawling suburbs are places you’d want to remain static in; constantly experiencing the hasty gust of traffic, whispering “come on, move on, hurry up!” in your ear.

Social space becomes more arid and desert-like under this prevailing viral logic. The seed of ‘market individualism’ planted by ideas under the umbrella of Thatcherism and Reaganism, grew like a tree seed between the bricks of socially-progressive modernism, shattering the old ideas of a better world; it’s branches extending and its roots sinking into more and more aspects of life. But here I wish only to think about one aspect: how the factory-like environment of harsh and relentless noises and sounds, and the violence of disciplinary impositions dealt through surveillance (historically situated in workplaces and prisons) have filled the streets. That they have filled the streets due to our only use for them in the past quarter of a century being ‘rat-runs’ to and from our private bunkers.

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However, there is now a net hemorrhaging of people from the comfort blankets that the private bunker provides, and it just cannot be ignored; the comfort blankets posses people with a sense that it is safer and surer to stay tucked inside this dominant ideological model (as if it was a spaceship promising us safe landing if we stay on board). Without this blanket maybe there will be a changing use of the outdoors again. But it is too soon to say if this will occur, or whether those decreasing few who still feel they have an investment in this system will increasingly make the outdoors look more ghetto-like, as they make fortresses out of their homes and cars, protected by state mechanisms increasingly hostile to the outdoors as the state itself falls deeper into crisis. But this particular blog isn’t the place to discuss this in detail; I’ve already said what I needed to say right now.