Friday

Maria Nordin at Galleri Magnus Karlsson (& Pipe arrives in Stockholm)

 

Exterior Shot of Galleri Magnus KarlssonExterior Shot of Galleri Magnus Karlsson, Stockholm

On arriving in Stockholm one pleasant day in late August, I stumbled upon an appealing gallery called Galleri Magnus Karlsson. New to me, if not my Swedish colleagues at Pipe, this space certainly has all the signs of an art space which appeals to our sensibilities – particularly with regards the use of space & light, curation, selection of artists/works, location, amiable staff etc. The second worthwhile discovery here was getting to see their most recent exhibition and the work of Swedish painter Maria Nordin (b. 1980). This artist, whom in her show Landformer / Landform, displays both a delicate visual physicality within her painting, beside subtle empathetic emotional resonances. Fasad / Facade (a collaboration with Kristina Bength) (2014), is deceptively beautiful. On first glance, like a lot of the paintings in this show, the piece seems almost fading under its own subtle tonal formulations. However, when one studies the picture at greater length, the scene and artist’s approach to painting it, holds your attention and becomes particularly strong on the retina; almost staying ingrained there after the looking procedure is over. The cerebral effect of this gives the paintings the feeling of stills or small vignettes, which could belong to dreams or emotionally charged visions. Their sombre, reflective nature is encapsulated in a way that encourages you to look at them diligently, but never overly scrutinise their forms – it’s as though the viewer allows the nature of the paintings to dictate and reproduce the process of looking itself. One looks and in turn simultaneously internalises the scene presented. Landskap / Landscape (triptych ii) (2014), is a part-landscape, semi abstract composition that is ‘familiar’ in many respects, but similarly otherworldly. Almost sci-fi-esque in appearance, it again like the previous example, gives the sensation that it is the construction of a cognitive vision and one that appears to invite and even embrace your observations.

 

Fasad_NordinFasad / Facade (a collaboration with Kristina Bength), 2014

 

Landskap_NordinLandskap / Landscape (triptych ii), 2014

 

Moreover, I see echoes of other artists in this series by Nordin. This in no way detracts from the work or is at all unsettling in its similarities, but is indeed worth commenting on I feel. Perhaps the names which sprung to mind the most vehemently were Peter Doig (b. 1959) and Karin Mama Andersson (b. 1962) (whom is incidentally also represented by Galleri Magnus Karlsson). Their melancholic static situations, particularly those of Doig, which intrigue and frustrate in equal measure, I consider are both formally and thematically comparable to some of the work displayed in Landformer / Landform. Rightly or otherwise - or perhaps this is merely lazy journalism -nonetheless I think that these artists, in their own different ways, are attempting to communicate something inherent about the human form and it’s psychology - and crucial, how this is intrinsically attached to the landscape or interior environments one finds themselves in. As is conveyed in the show’s press release, “we encounter landscapes that have been dislocated into new environments and colour schemes, bodily settings that have become depopulated and a process that depicts itself”. The contemplation of ideas around absence, fantasy and reality, we are told have too played a central role in Nordin’s study of displacement and transposition - subjects and treatments, which could equally be attributed to both the work of Andersson and Doig. However, unique to Nordin within this company, there is a mixed media dimension to this show also, as she utilises audio to add a further dimension to this overall “synergised” experience.

 

1st sited comparison: Artist Peter Doig speaks about his work, as seen in the exhibition Peter Doig ‘No Foreign Lands’ at the Scottish National Gallery, November 2013

 

2nd sited comparison: Artist Karin Mamma Andersson describes working at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, 2009

 

Clearly though, partly because of the times we now live in, there are virtually always going to be comparisons made between artists. When attempting to initially decipher the work of an artist, this can often be helpful and misleading in equal measure – but always informative I find. Nevertheless, whether you agree with these perceived associations or not, all of these artists are unquestionably more than a little indebted to Matisse (1869 – 1954) (as most artist are I’m afraid), even if unconsciously so. Which I suspect is worth recognising in this regard.

A gallery and an artist that have been a pleasing discovery for us - both of which we plan to look out for again in the future. I am sure now that Pipe in based in Stockholm for the foreseeable future, we will be making many more visits to this Gallery. Something we look forward to doing.

Do look out for more posts and articles in the coming weeks. We intend for the next period in the ‘life of Pipe’ to be a busy one with many more events and exhibitions coming up soon…

 

- Maria Nordin Landformer / Landform runs until the 5th of October 2014 at the Galleri Magnus Karlsson - Fredsgatan 12, 111 52 Stockholm, Sweden

Tuesday

Tania Kovats – Oceans, At The Fruitmarket Gallery

 

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Only Blue, 2013 (Antarctica); Courtesy of the artist

 

“I have a sense that people ignore elemental forces at their own risk. Nature is not benign. My sense is that we need to pay more attention to what our relationship is with the land. As an artist I have a very small voice on the planet, but I do feel if I could get someone to notice something, that feels like a small start.” [1]

The artist Tania Kovats has for a long time been creating work, which explores our relationship with, and understanding of, the landscapes that surround us. Many of Kovats’ sculptural forms and drawings are pre-occupied with the earth's changing geology. The work presented in Oceans – her current exhibition at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh – is no exception to this. Here, Kovats’ work is primarily concerned with our relationship to seascapes and coastlines.

To some extent it feels like Kovats is using the sea as a tool, in order to map a certain perception of the world. In many of the pieces displayed in Oceans, the coastlines, together with their maritime borders, play a central part in the exhibition’s formation. Kovats invites the viewer to observe the world by contemplating ‘what the sea is’. She does this by letting different kinds of media and approaches to her practice, such as installations made from atlases, drawings and sculptural formations – play with our perceptions of what a sea consists of, feels and looks like.

The exhibition’s centerpiece: All the Sea, displays water taken from oceans all over the world. The water has been collected with the help of a global network of people and organisations, who have shipped seawater from across the globe to the artist. This process has involved Kovats documenting, labelling, measuring and transferring the seawater into glass bottles - creating a comprehensively ordered library of glass containers. There are 365 bottles in the work and these bottles contain water from 97 different seas. Kovats was given a total of 250 donations. Amongst the water filled bottles, stand 37 empty ones, representing the seas that she didn’t manage to collect. These absent seas play an important role in the work; as Kovats explains, these seas ended up “mapping where your connections are – the seas off the northern coast of Russia have been difficult. It also shows up places where there are difficult circumstances. There are a lot of seas around the Philippines, but their infrastructure is still being affected by the typhoon.” [2]

On her website, Tania describes how “All the Sea […] represents an archive of moments in time, recordings of 250 human experiences with – and most probably in – the sea, capturing in bottles a substance that otherwise slips through our fingers.”

 

clip_image002[6]

Reef 1, Glazed ceramic tiles on board; Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Pipe

 

Both the development and the outcome of All the Sea, embodies certain human relationships with nature and its contained elements. The missing seas remind us, not only of the difficult terrains, but also of the power of the oceans. The Philippines for example, has many seas but the area suffers from poor infrastructure due to the typhoon that hit the region in November 2013. This has made it difficult to access these areas, and subsequently collect the water.

 

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All the Sea; Kovats aim here is to assemble the world’s sea water in one place, resulting in a seawater library; Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Pipe

 

The power of the earth is also evident in Kovats’ piece, Mountain. This artwork is made up of machinery imitating the formation of mountains. Kovats used the same kind of machinery to make her 2001 series of sculptures: Schist, which also represented the forces and the activity of the sea.

 

clip_image005[6]Mountain, a piece which utilises parts of machinery in its formation; Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Art Fund

 

Together the pieces exhibited in Oceans form a reminiscent exhibition that showcases the impact of the sea upon humans and the landmass on which we live.

 

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Oceans runs until the 25th of May 2014 at the Frutimarket Gallery in Edinburgh.

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[1] http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/arts/visual-arts/preview-tania-kovats-oceans-exhibition-edinburgh-1-3325854

[2] ibid

Friday

Considering the artist Alan Davie


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Fig 1: A young Alan Davie, photographed with dog (Belinda, apparently) – a man clearly in tune with the natural world

 

I first recall encountering Alan Davie’s (1920 – 2014) work at first hand, in the early 1990’s when visiting the Kelvingrove Art Gallery in Glasgow. A child at the time, I remember the effect these awesome paintings had on my young mind. The sheer scale, depth of feeling, use of rich colours and ethereal forms were like nothing I had experienced, prior to this important moment. Important because, I am quite certain now, that this event was when I first became fascinated with painting and more specifically abstraction within the medium. Davie’s death, just over a fortnight ago on the 5th of April, is the sad event which has prompted this unexpected deliberation, and my subsequent conclusions of his work, to be drawn. I find when thinking of Alan’s work, the fact I was a child when I first saw his paintings and that these objects were able to affect my observations in such a meaningful way, an interesting and correlated point. After reflecting on these events alongside the content of Davie’s work – both visually and thematically – I am inclined to think, the reason I was so drawn to this imagery as a child, was because my senses and judgements were far more innate and instinctive then, and as a result the appeal of this artist’s creations and his visual approach held my attention in a way that I could neither explain nor feel the need or obligation to do so. This is not to say that all children are necessarily more inclined to find an appeal in abstraction; however I do suspect that in this instance that I was able to, unknowingly, accept what I was viewing as being both new and simultaneously totally familiar, in a manner that I could find an unexplained comfort in. My awareness of this new intrigue, then as it is now, has an extensive appeal, which much like Davie’s work is precisely indefinable, yet considerations of, joyously attempted and therefore one feels inclined to do so again in the ensuing text.

 

clip_image003  Fig 2: Davie the artist and ‘shaman’ working in his studio, utilising his own ‘dip technique’, which is evident in much of his early work

 

clip_image005Fig 3: The Saint (1948) is an early painting of Davie’s, which has shades of Picasso coupled with the expressionistic, symbolic style of a Edvard Munch

 

Born in 1920 in Grangemouth, Scotland, Alan attended Edinburgh College of Art from 1938 to 40. After which he conscripted in the army and served in the Artillery during the Second War. However, during this period he never experienced front line battle. Instead his time was spent in training at an aircraft base in rural Warwickshire, surrounded by fields, trees and rural nature; which is now said to have played a crucial part in his eventual creative focus and direction. His interest in poetry, both as a writer and student of were pursued at this time and much of the artistic principles gained from this creative pursuit subsequently led into his painting. An awareness of the poetry of Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) & T.S. Eliot (1888 – 1965) subsequently blossomed. In connection with these concerns, a consciousness of nature and a human being’s fundamental connections with this ensued and became an ever-present aspect of Davie’s practice. The realisation of these factors was settled upon during these experiences and studies.

 

clip_image007Fig 4: Jingling Space (1950) is a particular favourite of mine. A young artist, just getting by at the time, the painting is comparable to a fine improvisational jazz performance - an activity and discipline Davie was honing and adapting both as a musician and a painter, during this decade.

 

Davie’s approach to his work is primarily, deeply rooted in the improvisational nature of jazz music. A jazz musician of some standing himself, his concentration on the subconscious, embryonic state of the human mind and its capacity for extemporaneous creative development, is at the centre of his practice. During the 50’s Davie, like many other noted writers and artists utilising various disciplines, discovered and began adapting Eastern philosophies as part of their approach to their practices – the Beat writers being a noted example of this. The idea that art is a spiritual force that is in a sense, channelled through the physicality’s of the human body, was an ethos present in most of Davie’s paintings – particularly his earlier work of the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s – of which much of these ideas and principles had come from Eastern cultural and religious beliefs. The surrendering of oneself to a type of ‘native state’, where controlled impulses are allocated time and space in order to create different, unimagined forms of visual expression, was the central concern of Davie’s practice during this time. Davie appropriately described his approach to painting in this way:

a manifestation of spirit felt by a creative genius and passed to us through its conducting medium of form, as a wire can conduct electrical energy from one matter to another.[1]

 

clip_image009Fig 5: Farmer's Wife No. 2 (Jazz Musician and Lady) (1957) is a highly erotic, spontaneous, pulsating and texture work; both physically – by adding grit to the paint – and visually through the sheer expressive freedom of its formation. This is a work that displays various hallmarks of the artist’s interest in eroticism and improvisational techniques.

 

clip_image011Fig 6: Image of the Fish God (1956) is one of a series of 7 works of the same title. These images are informed by his interest in the primordial, shamanistic forms of ancient civilisations and beliefs.

 

At this time, this inevitably led to associations being made between his paintings and those of the new American Abstract Expressionists – and particularly the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock (1912 - 1956). This wholly simplistic comparison was one that Davie unsurprisingly rejected. Declaring himself, very much a “Scottish artist”; seeing himself in the Celtic and Pictish traditions and not in the Modernist cannon (although, this revisiting of ancient art and cultures of course, put his work very much within that particularly ‘Modern’ category). Whether consciously so or not, Davie’s art and the personality of the artist himself, became depicted as sort of shamanistic and a ‘man of nature’. A Super-8 film made by him and his wife Bili in 1960, of him working on various paintings in his London flat, stripped to the waist, with his legendary chest length beard, throwing dust and other debris onto the canvases, helped enforce this view of Davie ‘the artist’. The amalgamation of improvisational jazz, Zen Buddhist, Byzantine, Romanesque, pagan and early/pre-Christian cultures, became significant subjects and considerations within his work. His intrigue in exoticism and eroticism, which was evident in much of the visual imagery and other stimulated sensory accounts, found in the works Davie became immersive in, fused in his work with the spiritual intensity of his own deeply held Celtic roots.

The manner in which this artist is able to depict the inner instinctive spontaneity of the human perceptual state through the use of abstracted, archaic forms and seemingly primordially subject matter, I find singularly individual and visually arresting. In fact, Davie is now often regarded as one of the first British artists’, post Second War to have developed a form of abstraction within his painting. Not until latterly, and his work of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s & 00’s, where figuration, symbolism, formalism and text within his paintings become more the predominate theme, does his work begin to alter some of its immediate attentions. These images contain far less of the overt dynamism and fervour, which Davie exudes in this earlier artistic phase(s). These paintings in my view, feel much more illustrative of the human sensory/spiritual development – even of the histories relating to some of these crucial historical episodes, in various respects – than they are of an actual occurrence of an emotive response to ‘being’. This work is still often captivating aesthetically and the colours exquisitely vibrant, however it’s far more visually descriptive qualities and controlled arrangements have a less evocative and lasting resonance for me, than previously was the case.

 

clip_image013Fig 7: An example of the controlled pictorial symbolism that featured heavily in his later career. The Studio No. 28 (1975) is far more representational as an image than the paintings of previous decades.

 

As Davie’s work is often allied to the Jungian position relating to psychoanalysis, as opposed to the Freudian notions of the unconscious and its emphasis on repressed drives (mainly sexual) originating from childhood and adolescent experiences - therefore his use of symbols, reducible objects and forms, have been considered in conjunction with a mutual, ‘collective’ thought process and a shared or comparable human psychological awareness. These signs do unquestionably become transferable or substituted for various meanings and explanations; however the artist himself is always wary not to allow any fixed definitions to take precedent understandably, due to his own overriding concerns with the singular, intrinsic creative act and the unearthing of a certain truth behind a human experience. These observations connect with the commonly received association, of the artist’s work with 20th century European Surrealism and his focus on “juxtaposing the sacred and the sacrilegious”[2]. Quite fittingly in this regard, is the inclusion of his paintings in Michelangelo Antonioni’s (1912 - 2007) 1966 film Blow-Up – where a fashion photographer attempts to solve a possible murder by physically analysing one of his photographs, which he believes has captured a moment from this mysterious incident. The film’s subject matter, of scrutinising an object and a creative act in order to reveal a certain truth or mystery, coupled with Antonioni’s own improvisational treatment to his artistic discipline, seems analogous with Davie’s work and his treatment to the creative process.

 

clip_image015Fig 8: Patrick's Delight (1960) is similar to the paintings displayed in Antonioni’s Blow Up. The name of one of the precise paintings used in the film is, Joy Stick Stick Joy; other than that, I have had trouble finding out more information about these works – any information would be greatly received, thanks – Pipe contact:admin@thisispipe.com.

 

When one now considers a comparable artist like Jackson Pollock for instance (a contemporary, a personal associate and a name which regularly crops up when reading texts about Davie), and the esteem in which he is held in by, firstly, in his native America alone and then by the wider art world as a whole, this contrast is startlingly dissimilar to the treatment of Davie. As the critic and writer Robin Greenwood, when discussing Alan’s work of the 1950’s, recently described: “It is the culmination of a decade when Davie was without equal as a painter in the UK, possibly in the world.”[3] This is a judgement that I would concur with fully and would also add that his exceptional standard of paintings and productivity continued well into the next decade. Although in the ensuing decades the works became more ‘work like’ and somewhat formulaic (partly due to his own consummate standards), there was still continually the odd great picture, even in the last two decades of his life. Therefore, I find it incredibly frustrating that even within his native Scotland, an artist whom is regarded by many people inside the art community as being one of the most important painters the country has produced (and I would say the finest of the last century), he has still not received the type of recognition and celebration that many of his contemporaries and also his predecessors have been granted – many of which I also believe to be far inferior to Davie. It is a sad reality if Scotland, and similarly the wider art world, do not begin to recognise the unbridled commitment and talents of this great painter. As a child, on seeing them for the first time on that day in Glasgow, I was completely transfixed by his paintings, a fascination that still shows no sign of abating. Therefore, that chance encounter of mine, on that day, I hope could be reciprocated for others. However, due to the still relativity stark widespread acknowledgment of his work, even within his own native country, such a meeting is sadly expected to pass many people by. As a result, I judge if there was ever a big summer retrospective to be had at the Scottish National Gallery, it would be Alan Davie, and at this time, particularly appropriate and poignant I feel, in the year following his death.

 

clip_image017Fig 9: Painted in 1997, The Alchemist's Mirror No. 1 [Opus 1357], is a fine painting from Alan’s later career. The richness and texture of the paint is coupled with an intriguing composition; his interest in African art is also clear to see here.

 

clip_image019Fig 10: Alan in later life, an artist to the core and in every sense – the trademark beard was a constant throughout.

 


[1] Alan Davie, In the Quest of a Philosophy of Beauty: A Journal (1948), p. unpaginated.

[2] Robert Melville, Contemporary British Painters: Alan Davie(Gimpel Fils: London, 1961), p. 1.

[3] Robin Greenwood, Alan Davie and Albert Irvin at Gimpel Fils, (for abstract critical, 14th May 2013)

Sunday

Our friends Human Blues – “A Creator & Distributor of Images”

 

HB Banner

A new and dynamic artistic duo, that have been creating their own brand of dark, visually intriguing work for some time, have just started making a selection of their artworks available to buy. Human Blues have produced an overall appearance within their initial catalogue of images that encapsulates a distinctive foreboding nature and demonstrates a monochromatic flair. They create work in a variety of ways and use a range of media such as inks, painting, drawing, illustration, photography and print making. Their subjects appear to be inspired and are unpredictably different – putting an emphasis on the aesthetic and coupling it with layers of possible meanings and various connotations, which entice one to look further at, and deeper into the origins of their imagery. The eccentricity evident in these images and the overall look of their brand, I feel sets them apart from other image makers working within this vast industry of commercial print making and art reprographics.

 

Ad_still life A recognisable product shot from Human Blues

 

I do concede that a certain level of bias exists, in respect of this venture. As the title here explains, Human Blues are our friends and associates. However, these judgments – which are sincerely made – will simply have to be taken on their merits. Of course all those reading this will individually decide for themselves as to the quality and appeal of this duo’s work. In order to assist with these deliberations however (and because the work ‘visually enriches’ Pipe), we have included some of Human Bluesimages and products here for you to look through and come to your own conclusions about.

 

 

dark days_print

The image for Fine Art Print‘Dark Days’

 

postcard setTheir 3 Postcards from the pack, together

 

the outsider_still lifeThe Gift Card ‘The Outsider’, in ‘situ’

 

Their work can currently be bought in three new, different creations. These groups of artworks are available as gifts cards, packs of postcards and as fine art prints. All products, pricing and shipping details are available on their website & in their Etsy shop.

 

a faint afterglowOne of their photographic works, available as a Fine Art Print

 

In addition, there is also information about how you can contact them on the site. I have been reliably informed that they intend to add more artworks and possibly further products too, in the coming months. If you do have any requests or questions about their work, I am certain them would welcome these inquiries.

.P

 

Tuesday

Pipe’s album recommendations for 2013 (of the popular music variety – whatever that means nowadays?)

 

As the title suggests these are our popular music album recommendations from those released last year. Having been a while since we last wrote, and during December having read a lot of ‘the best albums of 2013’ lists too, we felt we should use this opportunity to let readers know what music we have had on and liked during last year. Our list is not really ‘a best of’ list in that way though (as it is very difficult to judge art I feel). It is simply what we have appreciated hearing, but has no rating attached. We just hope you enjoy reading Pipe’s thoughts on this subject and listening to some of our ‘plugs’. We have included a song from each entry on our list too for you to enjoy – and as ever, all other thoughts, views and comments are thoroughly encouraged.

 

· White FenceCyclops Reaps

white-fence-cyclops reaps

After what was a remarkably busy 2012 – bringing out 3 albums in that calendar year; one of which: Hair, a collaboration with his long time touring mate Ty Segall – 2013 was a more sedate affair, with only the single record released this time around. Nonetheless, in the immortal words of one Rab C. Nesbit: It’s quality that counts though, eh? And this album is positively brimming with these positive attributes. Former Darker My Love co-front man and main writer Tim Presley (Mr White Fence himself) has now unquestionably surpassed all the artistic achievements of his former band – if not the commercial ones. Having seemingly been building up to this record, in the creative sense at least, since his debut self-titled White Fence record was released back in 2010; he has clearly been honing his craft and unbridled talent for writing and producing ‘lo-fi’, psyche, nuggets of pop, which always seem to result in one wanting more. And as a consequence, one invariably returns seeking further, similar punk rock fulfilments. If there is someone making better records, of this ‘variety’, I haven’t heard them and would also love to know who they are. Just for the record too (no pun intended), if there was an order to this, Cyclops Reaps would be my first pick of last year – so there may be a little rating going on here after all. There really is not a bad track on either side. Nonetheless, do check out Chairs in the Dark & New Edinburgh – my particular favourites here.

 

 

· Steve MasonMonkey Minds in Devils Time’s

stevemason-monkeyminds

So, apparently no one is writing protest songs anymore. Well they are. Steve Mason has just written a whole ‘concept’ album, which has protest and anti-war/pro-humanity at its very core. Not only at the centre either, this is an album positively packed with anxieties over our political system and those who govern us. However his angst here is not in the slightest bit morose. No, Monkey Minds in Devil’s Times is plainly a joyous, uplifting record – even if it does contain plenty of anger and reflective moments as well. In my experience most great ‘politically’ originated records invariably do this. In the vein of other classic records with a social message, such as PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake (2011), Lou Reed’s Berlin (1973) or even Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On (1971) (and make no mistake, I absolutely think he has created a work wholly comparable to these other great albums); Mason also takes you on a ‘wee’ emotional journey here. This is a trip that allows you to confront some societal truths, through real human emotions. After 2010’s Boys Outside album, another truly superb work, Mason has now, with these last two works proved himself to be without doubt one of the UK’s best songwriters working today – I’m sure not many folk could have written songs such as Oh My Lord or Fire. They already appear to have all the hallmarks of classics from the modern pop song category for me. Subsequently, when the Mercury Music Prize was announced for 2013, I was bemused to see that not only had Monkey Minds in Devil’s Times not won, it hadn’t even been nominated, a very odd decision. In my view no one wrote a better British based album last year, and in turn, this would have been our choice for the prize.

 

 

· Mark Kozelek & Desertshore – (self titled)

Mark Kozelek & Desertshore

An incredibly emotional record, if any one album in our list is going to make you a bit misty eyed then surely it’s this one. The delivery of the lyrics, as is often Kozelek’s style, are made in a sort of stream of consciousness; as if they have come straight off the pages of a journal and expertly crafted together with melodies and musical enunciations, which are in themselves both simultaneously familiar and deceptively ‘other worldly’. These are ‘soundscapes’ that explore the ‘inner’ as well as the exteriority of our human environments. The best allegory I can think of for Mark Kozelek & Desertshore would be that this is kind of, music as cinema. It contains such specifically vivid descriptions, which for me create a strong sense of understanding for these highly personal accounts – he manages to tell us how he “hates Nels Cline” after all, that’s pretty personal. I feel that this is a sort of musical experience equivalent of a John Cassavetes’ film; in its emotional authenticity and expression of raw human feelings. Hey You Bastard I’m Still Here is a track which is incredibly moving and if you hear nothing else from the record (but I definitely recommend listening to the whole thing), hear this. In it Kozelek enables you to imagine every sentiment he articulates – a timeless American musical document.

 

 

· Cate Le BonMug Museum

cate_le_bon_mug_museum

Having recently heard Le Bon singing a quite beautiful cover version of White Fence’s Chairs in The Dark (from the previously sited Cyclops Reaps), I was encouraged to seek out some of her own music. This clearly led me to Mug Museum. Her vocal it seems has certain similar nuanced traits to previous folk and rock ‘alternative’ artists like Nico (the most obvious one) and at times I also hear echoes of Sandy Denny – her of Fairport Convention fame, of which Duke, one of the standout tracks on the album for me, has certain, updated suggestions of Denny’s vocal style. It is very pleasant to hear a songwriter and singer seemingly as influenced by those origins of the British and European folk traditions, as they are from those westward orientated sounds, which as we know are always far more readily heard. A Welsh girl (who writes & performs in Welsh too), Le Bon lets her accent shine through, a feature of her songs that make them even more endearing for me and consequently this allows the listener to invest more faith in the personal descriptions she recites in her songs. Mug Museum is an album written in the aftermath of the artist losing a close family relative and depicts her process of dealing with this lose. The notion of objects as memories – as the title too suggests – and the individual connotations they retain for the owner of them, is a noteworthy aspect of the record. The re-telling of stories and events creates an intrigue I feel, which is supported and enhanced by the beautiful, almost archaic sensations that the songs instil in the listener – Mirror Me is the most profound example of this. This tune is as reminiscent of medieval or classical music sounds as anything post 20th century. An impeccable fusion of psychedelia, the ‘ancient’, European folk and dotted with a little west coast jangling garage rock, all for good measure; Mug Museum is a record subtly delivered but is clearly layered in its conception and creation.

 

 

· PhosphorescentMuchacho De Lujo

Phosphorescent Muchacho 

If the union of the musical genres country/gospel and electronic seems unlikely or even absurd as I’m sure it does to some, then Muchacho is a masterful record that goes a long way (and I would remark, all the way) in refuting this claim. Matthew Houck (the man responsible for Phosphorescent) has generally in the past made what have now come to be known as alt country albums, a popular music genre that one can certainly get blissfully lost in, as I did for many years. On this album however he has expanded his musical range and created a work that includes processed beats, samples, loops, orchestral arrangements, Mexican brass and as much reverb as you can shake a cow bell at; to add to his already accomplished audio artistic range. And this has also all occurred, without any massive break from what he was already doing very successfully on his previous records. This understated, yet often widely undervalued sense of adventure has not affected his core principles for writing and performing great songs; the bedrock of Phosphorescent’s creative past. This chorus filled, uplifting, harmony drenched album – A Charm/A Blade is a fitting example of this – also has many melancholy moments on it – Song for Zulu being one – yet it still has a swagger too – Ride On/Right On – that is in keep with his country roots. Simply, Muchacho De Lujo is a superb amalgamation of ‘the traditional’, merged with various new future sounds of ‘Americana’ – synths and cowboy boots.

 

 

· Bill CallahanDream River

Bill Callahan dreamriver

Callahan, the former protagonist in the musical vehicle Smog, has been quietly going about this business under his own name for many years now. Having already made around 13 records under the Smog title – since reverting to ‘self’, he has since 2006/7, amassed a back catalogue of the most stunning and distinctively delivered music which, if it isn’t already, I believe it will be regarded as one of the key contributions to American popular music over the last 20 to 30 years. I do personally feel though, that even by his own lofty standards, Callahan has reached a sort of zenith in his career, thus far, with last year’s Dream River. Of course just an opinion, as Callahan has created many soul shattering pieces in his now 20 or so years as a recording artist, I just generally get the sense that on this latest release, his slightly more optimistic tone (at times) has led to a further expansion of his well trodden artistic, thematic sources and treatment of subjects. The delicate 70’s flute and percussive influences (reminiscent of Van the man’s Astral Weeks) is again heavily featured. Making the album feel a little like a partner piece to 2011’s Apocalypse – another great work. However the lesser moments on that particular release have been eradicated on Dream River, as Callahan clearly appears to have grown both as a lyrists and even more crucially, a writer and arranger of the most vivid and atmospheric songs. A song like Small Plane, as good a song as I have heard from him, is tantamount to the majesty of his art and the purpose of his creative vision. Is it now safe to say that although very different, and evidently not as commercial/well known, that Callahan is perhaps a kind of modern day equivalent to say, Leonard Cohen for instance? I am not sure if I would be thanked for this comparison or if it is indeed fairly simplistic, but I guess the point I attempt to make is that like a Cohen or Morrison figure in music, why does Callahan not have an audience similar in scale to the likes of the aforementioned? I am sure the reasons are many and complex. However, I hope that this recommendation might go a very small way towards redressing that balance – you can but hope.

 

 

· Nick Cave & The Bad SeedsPush The Sky Away

Nick-Cave-and-the-Bad-Seeds push the sky away

With two recent Grinderman albums behind them, the first one good and the second one not so; the exit of Mick Harvey has now resulted in the current Bad Seeds formation of members mirroring that of their ‘side project’. However this incident hasn’t produced a radical change in the Bad Seeds sound, if their current album is an indication of their musical direction. This is still very much an album which is in keeping with their musical oeuvre and doesn’t now resonant more with the punky, scuzzy, avant-garde(ish) rock made under the ‘banner’ of Grinderman. However there are moments which do have some of the traits of a Cave & Ellis composition (being Warren Ellis of Seeds, Grinder & The Dirty Three); but this album is far more reminiscent of the music they put together for the film scores on The Proposition and The Assassination of Jesse James – for me still two of Cave’s most impressive works to date – than it is of any of their other ventures. The song Water’s Edge is an adequate case in point here I feel. Although a little limited in terms of the overall sound and vocal delivery (a frequent issue for me with much of the Bad Seeds music), Push the Sky Away has an apparent individual, contemporary relevance (heard especially on Finishing Jubilee Street), and a social agenda – this may be unintentional of course – but it still draws one in and produces a greater level of attention. Like most of Cave’s records, I always feel I want to hear how they age. Of course his songs are not in the slightest bit unique here. However, as was the case with their last record Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, an album which I was totally under whelmed by when it was initially released, it has in someway aged well with me over time and become a record I now appreciate listening to a lot. As to how this current album rates in Cave’s overall career, it is too soon to say for me. Nevertheless, Push the Sky Away is certainly a strong record and one we have enjoyed hearing since its release. 

 

 

· Kurt VileWakin on a Pretty Daze

Kurt Vile Wakin

Of all the records in Pipe’s list I can safely say that this one has by quite a long way been played the most. This of course doesn’t mean that it is the favoured one (I think I have already revealed this anyway), however it does probably indicate that it is the most ‘versatile’ lets say, in terms of how a record can best assimilate with one’s mood. I can’t help thinking that if musicians could still sell ‘x’ millions of an album without the advertising industry telling consumers to ‘buy it’, as was the case pre- the era of digital distribution, then Wakin on a Pretty Daze would almost certainly have been such a musical commodity. This album is quite plainly a bona fide classic and comfortably fits within the cannon of the classic American rock and roll album. Literally everything is faultlessly in place; from the first few bars of the sprawling opening track Wakin on a Pretty Day (not ‘Daze’) that unapologetically oozes Americanicity, through the dreamy swaggering Girl Called Alex and culminating in Goldtone, a track which if you don’t get a few Goosebumps out of perhaps your heart has stopped, and with many more glorious moments in-between. Vile has definitely surpassed himself again here – 2010’s Smoke Ring for my Halo his last full album and is another true gem. A great aspect of Vile – exemplified here and matched by many of his contemporaries too I should add – is that he makes a big nod to the past but doesn’t just copy his rock forefathers. No, he manages to put his own ‘modern’ stamp on what is a well travelled musical terrain. This is fittingly demonstrated on songs like Was All Talk, with its electronic foundations, creative vernacular and novel delivery. An album which I believe is for a huge audience to hear and enjoy, Wakin on a Pretty Daze certainly proves when “they” thought Vile was “all talk”, clearly he wasn’t.

 

 

· My Bloody Valentinembv

my-bloody-valentine-mbv

Whether any album could ever live up to the anticipation of a 22 year wait is likely, particularly when the predecessor was as epic, and subsequently as influential, as Loveless has proved to be for many. Nonetheless mbv is clearly a valiant attempt at satisfying the soaring expectations, which greeted its rather staged release. Its as though the wait was so lengthy that their sound has come back round again in the intervening years and mbv, without this necessarily being a criticism of it, sounds precisely as you’d have expected it to when comparing it to The Valentines’ other historical releases. The 22 years haven’t really changed the output much. For me it is unquestionably the sister (or brother piece) to 1991’s Loveless. Kevin Shield’s still has the distortion, reverb and other hissing guitar effects ‘front of stage’ and as can be heard particularly on the songs Only Tomorrow and Who Sees You he hasn’t bored of creating that distinct cacophony of walled, pedal boarded sound. They do however give your ears a rest on tracks like New You; a pop infused, indie ditty, which is very pleasant indeed and does help break through some of the record’s ‘noise’. I do think that if anything though, they are more ambitious on mbv than before. In Another Way is still quintessentially them, but with a more varied approach. On this track what we have is the formations of something that is much more clinical and which feels as though it is far more ‘progressive’ in nature – there are also perhaps echoes of the ‘Math Rock’ sound, particularly heard on the latter part of the album. Largely what we hoped for and expected. Shields et al. may not be prolific, but what they lack in urgency, they certainly make up for in efficiency.

 

 

· Richard ThompsonElectric

richard-thompson-electric

When talk of the great guitarists is heard, a core group of names generally including Beck, Clapton, Page, Hendrix, Townsend etc. etc., are often heralded as being the frontrunners. However in this category the name of Richard Thompson is generally omitted. For me this chap is as good as all the names that mainly make up such a list, and better than most. The difference with Thompson and a lot of these more virtuoso type players is that his primary concern is always with the song and any notion of musical posturing then comes thereafter. As a result of this approach he has over many years been responsible for some great songs and pretty timeless albums. Last years Electric is, I feel as good as any release of his and is one that best showcases Thompson’s characteristic blend of British traditional folk, blues, rock and roll and country-esque style of musical arrangements. The music, much like the man himself, always seems to have a subtly and even a slight melancholic atmosphere to it. Salford Sunday is a track which best highlights this sort of ambiance and which features harmonises from Alison Krauss, a choice which certainly aids the song’s sober feelings. Although restraint is a facet of the music, within this, anger is still often simmering under the surface and always has been in Thompson’s art. The track My Enemy unquestionably has this angst in abundance. Thompson the travelling mistral continues his journey and Electric is clearly a landmark for him. If this is a sign of things to come, long may he continue.

 

 

This is a very general list of those new records from 2013 that we liked and listened to a fair bit. There were plenty of others too though. Here are another ten that, although we couldn’t write about at length, we still advocate a listen to all the same:

· Thee Oh SeesFloating Coffin

· Primal ScreamMore Light

· Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavelle Perils From the Sea

· Parquet CourtsLight Up Gold

· Laura MarlinOnce I was an Eagle

· Deer TickNegativity

· Psychic Ills – One Track Mind

· Crystal Stilts Nature Noir

· Crocodiles – Crimes of Passion

· Wooden Shjips – Back to Land

 

Finally, please do let us know which of these, or others we haven’t included here, were your particular favourites of 2013. As ever, we always aim to begin a conversation and gain some insight from other views and opinions. Maybe we can do a reader’s list at some point as well? This would be a real privilege, so please do let us know your thoughts on this interesting subject and we can start this conversation.

Regards,

P.

Wednesday

Something akin to Punk: And the Apathetic Generation: An Afterthought – pt. 2

 

I have sited Hegel’s master–slave dialectic as a critical source in this research, as I feel some of the theoretical implications which are contained within this text suitably act as a basis for an awareness concerning – setting out an approach for action which is aimed at bringing about substantial change in the arts and arts focused higher educational practices. The Hegelian notion of, being-for-self contained within the referenced essay and the realisation of this psychosomatic process by the Slave (or as described by Hegel, “the bondsman”); by considering this account I sense a basic, relevant understanding can be established for this case. He describes this revelation of a new empowerment for the Slave through self-determination, in this way:

In the lord, the being-for-self is an ‘other’ for the bondsman, or is only for him [i.e. is not his own]; in fear, the being-for-self is present in the bondsman himself; in fashioning the thing, he becomes aware that being-for-self belongs to him, that he himself exists essentially and actually in his own right. The shape does not become something other than himself through being made external to him; for it is precisely this shape that is his pure being-for-self, which in this externality is seen by him to be the truth. Through this rediscovery of himself by himself, the bondsman realises that it is precisely in his work wherein he seemed to have only an alienated existence that he acquires a mind of his own. [1]

If one is to consider today’s young artists as a group which very much require such a moment of realisation, in order to allow themselves an opportunity to operate and be educated in a way that suits them, then the idea of a collective being-for-self seems a fitting allegory to me. A specific thought process that encourages a deeper scrutiny of the system itself and how a shared body might challenge these structures, is at present completely absent. An established and endorsed underlining individualism or self-seeking state of mind, as has been encouraged in our society generally and its presence reinforced further within the contemporary structures of our cultural practices, have consequently enabled the idea that one should only consider ‘bettering’ their own position in the hierarchical structures, as an ever prevalent deliberation. Such structures have become the absolute formation and configuration of our recently globalised, capitalist system. In a purely ideological sense, this all encompassing approach is proving to be a detrimental one in my view, and the arts are no different in this regard. Indeed, as the large scale disintegration of our communities take place, much in the way Edgar Davies describes, what we find is that in a time when real resistance is required and the moment(s) for action present themselves, the divided nature of our social and cultural groupings are preventing this from occurring. This is why – particularly when recommending a restructuring for the arts and higher education, and how best this can begin to serve those predominately young folks who are so crucial to its evolution but whom are currently not benefitting from it as an economic agency of ‘opportunity’ or in many instances, even from the work they put in themselves – as a result of this, it is even more imperative that a solidarity is formed and some much needed ideas for action are recommended.

The subject I have intended to engage with, as I and Edgar Davies previously, have been at lengths to focus on, is concerned with the arts generally. However, I can see no substantial reason why these ideas would not be transferable to other sections of society, where young people and those currently being marginalised by similar economic and social problems, are also acutely being felt – much in the same way as those being inflicted on young people within the ‘creative industries’. Nevertheless, I do feel that in this moment we (Pipe & Mr E. Davies) must focus on what is close to one’s own real lived experiences and suitably expand from this point of departure, when and if such opportunities were to arise.

Allied to my initial idea, adapted from Hegel, that we must form a strong bond with one another and reject this much heralded social concept of ‘the individual’ and the divisions this creates, in order to realise the true potential of ‘the majority’ and what transformative power this collective sense of unification could achieve. In this moment, we should then create a bond of realisation, which recognises that there are no definite ‘rules’ or social restrictions preventing a wide scale rejection of the current state controlled operational models which exist in the arts. If any such section of the state could and should hold the established forces to account, then surely the arts and tertiary educational systems, with their traditions and histories, should be it? I evidently believe this to be so. Therefore, from this ideological stance and in direct reference to Davies’s essays – and as there is no reason which I can discern to prevent this from occurring – a simple message should be communicated by today’s new entrances to the arts and those who want to commence some real changes within the industry, that pronounces:

We will now be working our own way and in our own interests.

In order for us to be able to do this and realise it as a fully formed ideological approach, some initial actions must be taken. The subsequent list of steps that I now present, I deem would begin to build a new cohesion around a set of reformative ideas for the arts and how young people are positioned and regarded by the established structures which configure it as an industry.

 

1.) The first and most important step, because of its wider social implications and contemporary relevance, is the matter of ‘the intern’. Davies devises that “from this point onwards no one works for free”. This is a collective response that could and I deem it should form the basis for our opposition to the current operational model in the arts and arts education. There are absolutely much greater issues for us to attempt to address, however I think this is something that, because of its social and symbolic relevance can and would create a bond between those confronting this system and those whom would likely support and feel a sense of solidarity for the cause and be disgusted by the awful matter of ‘the intern’ generally. In doing this though, as Davies has also explained, it is imperative that it is understood in the industrial sense. This has to be a persuasive argument and that everyone affected by it understands the full implications of this action. As a result, the notion of ‘the Scab’ must be left available to us as part of this cause, in order that everyone truly realises how serious this matter is. In a time when fellow citizens are being forced to work for nothing by our government; while directors, CEO’s and other senior members of financial companies are seeing their salaries rise to obscene levels, it is totally irresponsible and even ignorant to work for a company for free - satisfying a much needed role within that organisation, when you should be getting paid (at the very least, the minimum level) for your work - and doing this just because, economically you can. For these reasons, and many others beside, which I don’t have the time to address here, the first step is to end the culture of unpaid labour within the arts.

 

Sometimes, doing nothing is the most violent thing to do. [2]

2.) Another key factor in this struggle, which I suspect will begin to draw the intended furthest reaching attention to these significant social issues, is a type of, I would describe as – an organised non-participation. A lot has been made recently of the self-defeating nature or irresponsibility of simply not taking part in the present democratic system and its customary rituals. Nonetheless, this much overdue act, if structured and organised in the right manner, I pronounce is precisely what must be done by us in the arts. The lack of proper representation by our elective constitution, particularly for young people today (as Davies has already explained) is imposing this system on us with no crucial action being taken to address our ever intensifying plight. As a consequence, it appears to me that continued participation in this habitual democratic charade is actually the most detrimental of all present options available to us – The Un-represented. This participatory act results in ‘propping up’ an all powerful, yet totally damaging and hugely inadequate ideological system; which is in actuality, continually increasing the type of economic and social disparity young people are now faced with. The arts and present higher educational models are too, essentially part of this worrying trend. And at the same time, much of the issues new entrances to the world of employment, the arts ‘industries’ and higher education have to deal with, were imposed on them by their governments and their generational forces - yet these are not concerns which they themselves had to contend with during their first steps into real ‘adulthood’ decades earlier, but are now simply accepted as a necessary socio-economic requirement. No, these are almost all new social factors that have either been introduced because of the bad decisions made by their administrations/governmental figures or are in support of a system which benefits them, primarily at the expense of the vast majority of its other, far less advantaged citizens. Thus, I judge that an organised and adequately prepared non-participation in the established, state supported arts institutional structures is vital at this time. These governing bodies and legislative hierarchical arrangements are those very same organisations which must be held accountable for the social injustices being felt in our society and this move within the arts will also play a small part in highlighting this. Another key aspect to such a planned action is that of exclusion. In order for this to be truly effective, those established cultural, social and political organisations, that we deem to be working against us as a group or whose actions and rhetoric is seen to be ignorant to our cause or suitably damaging, then the resulting measures are, that they must be excluded and held in contempt. Arts organisations whose reputations are damaged in the eyes of organised young people will, I believe, find it very difficult to succeed in their own economic and business affairs generally.

 

3.) The utilisation of new forms of digital apparatuses, computerised ‘tools’ and modes of production, and the phenomena which is our current communicative networks and platforms that enable such ideas to be articulated, will understandably, all be integral to building new forms of engagement with these ideas of reform. This new technological phenomena, that we have at our disposal makes what is being planned more realistically achievable than would ever have been the case ‘pre’ digital age and ‘pre’ the internet. This equipment and modes of communication must be exploited and the vast nature of its possibilities adapted, when possible. As has been touched upon by Will Self and Edgar Davies, today’s young generation are the first to have grown up totally immersed, and having generally taken for granted, the type of digital technology we now have such wide scaled access to. When considering the implementation of this digital ‘age’, one could almost suggest that the youth of today, given their nurturing took place during its emergence; it is them who should really hold the majority of control over its operational mechanisms and networks. Now that these unheralded forms of communication have become fundamental to all areas of our society and its development, why is it then that those who largely control the way it is run and whom benefits the most from it, are still from our previous generations; those principally born, at a push, roughly before 1970? I will let those, like Self, attempt to answer this question; I do have my inclinations though. However, as this is unquestionably the case, I deem that what must be done in the coming years, in aid of this task is to put an emphasis on adapting new ways of using this technology for the arts, in a way that is designed to serve us properly. We must not continue to participate in those structures and systems which are already there and are simply further evidence of the sham which is the arts establishment - sponsored by their state controlled educational institutions. These arrangements, as we know, operate in the name of: arts opportunities for young and emerging practitioners, but are just a way of dividing individuals while making good business sense for these schemes and in support of their harmful doctrines, which benefit only a minute number of people - but always those whom hold power.

 

4.) As I have suggested here, a new approach for young people within the arts must be devised, and one which sits outside the arts establishment, its groupings and their conventions. Therefore in order to do this, the matter of finances (more specifically a lack of, and all the implications that this brings) does become an evident issue. For that reason, what must be done, and as history has often taught us, a process of ‘negotiation’ ought to be formulated in someway. My plan here, is to use all the spaces available to us for exhibiting, shows, ‘happenings’, performances and all available methods of showing work and creations. This also connects with the notion of exclusion and could suitably create a defining position – this will reveal those who do and those do not support this action. As we all know space is expensive and the established institutes within the arts are closed to those who don’t subscribe to their state funded, money driven agenda and operate through their ‘proper’ channels. As a consequence, such agents subscribing to these principles must be rejected by us first and then excluded altogether from having any influence or dialogue with this new generation of artists. In turn, we will use all available spaces, of which there are far more available to us than we would likely consider given our circumstances. New ways of showing work both within living space, rented space, free space, online ‘space’ (an emphasis on the adaptability of this new virtual space must be exploited as much as possible), ‘borrowed’ space, unused space, portable space, adaptable space… – the list is far longer than one would expect and the list should and will I suspect, continue to grow. This will empower the cause as one which is doing things alone and unsupported. As previous generations have shown us, the type of identification, brought about by such actions, and the importance this brings, can be immeasurable to a counter cultural movement. Through this process of identification, I envision we will gain both creative and organisational authority over our work and begin to establish new productive systems of exchange for it.

 

5.) Contrary to how work is chosen by the establishment currently within the arts, operating around scenes and certain thematic trends which then shape and plot a very specific direction for the industry, such considerations will now not knowingly be made by those involved in this cause. The only absolute necessity of work being shown through these channels is that they depict a certain reality. That they are authentic to those who created them and do not simply exist in some vein attempt at ‘relevance’. It is important in fact not to say too much here as an articulation may lead to a design or a suggestion and persuasion of the types of works which might fit into this new vision for the arts. This would be at odds with what should be encouraged, which is that of an absolute openness to themes, approaches, techniques, aesthetic and stylistic characteristics etc. In this new realm of creative expression and arts focused resistance, diversity will be absolutely embraced in all areas of practice; with works being judged only around themes of genuine authentic legitimacy, notions of an inherent truth and social relevance. The notion of being ‘out of step’ is currently regarded within the arts and cultural practices generally, as something that is a grave position to be in as an artist. I think not just being part of a ‘scene’, is actually not only a positive feature of an artist’s work, but should be seen as an obligation to the vital development of their practice. I firmly believe that this needs to be addressed and would be if this new direction for young people in the arts is to be effective. ‘Fads and trends’ rarely play a part in true artistic expression and the creation of genuinely important works. In my view, there must be more meaningful origins or source materials to one’s practice than simply trying to equate your work with someone else’s.

[The four terms which I believe will tackle this problem and give us the best chance of making these five steps a success, are: Solidarity; Organisation; Implementation and Restructuring.]

 

These steps, I hope if structured in a coherent way and then put into some sort of action will assist in creating a network of solidarity around a common cause. Although there will undoubtedly be a diverse range of voices and opinions; approaches, techniques and ways of working, in all areas of both practice and within the structural ideological nature of the cause – this however, should be embraced and allowed to flourish. What will bind the group together is this idea of questioning the way things operate, being ‘difficult’ if you like – especially given our current predicament – this is our right, and in order to make some adequate changes, is also our responsibility. Therefore, as I have tried to propose here, a type of exclusion, although on the face of it seems an extreme act and some may even deem it self-defeating; I feel strongly that a wide reaching rejection of the current model must begin to take hold. If a large enough network can be constructed (and I think this idea of a system of arrangements is at the core of what this resistance needs to be and should be built on), then this group will grow and become its own section of, a relevant facilitating system for the arts.

“No one is in a hurry to say goodbye”, to use the Self comment from Pity the Young. So we as a group must say “goodbye” to them, or risk never being given the opportunity for an introduction. We have to realise that ‘help’ from this system is not forth coming; it will never arrive and as a result, exclusion in all its semblances is the most valuable course of action we have available to us. I feel we are led to believe we need their assistance. The reality is we require this far less than we imagine, and there is an even stronger argument to suggest that we as a group are in fact crucial to their system and an exclusion from it could be hugely harmful to their well ‘trotted out’ concept of, ‘a vibrant arts scene’. Therefore, my final retort to this ‘arts establishment’ is: “thank you but we will now do things without you”.

 

Ex nihilo

 

.P


[1] Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, in ‘From Phenomenology of Spirit [The Master-Slave Dialectic]’, in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, General Editor Vincent B. Leitch and others , (USA: W.W. Norton and Company, 2001), p. 635.

[2] Slavoj Zizek, ‘Adagio’, in Violence: Six Sideways Reflections, (London: Profile Books ltd., 2009), p. 183.