When? Where? How Much Do You Want For It?

Ben Okri, Lines In Potentis

I guess this speaks for itself. The lines from Potentis have the essence of everything I try to draw from myself. They are words that inspire visions of a future world of harmony, out of the chaos that we are.

Kevin Cyr

 This week I have been searching the art world for something that is a little bit different from the recent “street art” influenced works that I seem to keep stumbling over. I happend across the work of Brooklyn based artist, Kevin Cyr, and while his art is definately street influenced it was a refreshing change to see an artist with a skillful brush……I hesitate to compare the two but Norman Rockwell came to mind at times.

The Battle of The Fourth State ‘v’ Googlezon.

While the demise of the Fourth State as we have known it seems ever approaching, the ‘newspaper’ seemed to be making one last desperate attempt to change its appeal from ‘Junk’ to something a little more collectable.

 

The Manual, is the brainchild of a variety of printers and illustrators and one time editor of the Daily Express, Richard Addis – who in 2006 launched his media company, Shakeup Media, the company behind this limited edition four page “Berliner”.

 

Printed at The Print Club in Dalston, the silk screened four page publication was created entirely by hand.

 

We also want to demonstrate the power of print as a medium by using ink and paper in a manner that emphasises their unique touch, smell and texture.”

 

One hundred and fifty copies, each numbered to create even more exclusivity, went to print and on the morning of October 13 they were distributed at “select central London locations” to a handful of lucky commuters and city dwellers.

 

I like a little bit of the personal touch and wish I could have got one for myself, but who knows, this has the start of a new hip media explosion written all over it. No doubt soon – I hope – we will see similar publications being produced around our towns and cities. A little bit of something different to brighten up our mornings – Metro? Spitz? Podcast?

 

For some of us the idea of the newspaper fading out of existence is a ridiculous idea; these people remember the strikes of the 70’s and still blame Thatcher for everything bad that ever happened to them. For others, the newspaper is already dead; for the algorithm kids of our time technology already killed the newspaper.

 

This short film by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson, created in 2004, offers a very realistic look at the possible future of media as we know it and as it is happening to us today.

 

A thought provoking piece of media to watch anytime but even more so at a time when we find the great Google Cloud looming over us.

 

At the end of the clip it asks the question “Is there another way?”

 

 

 

Adbusters – Black Flag Journalism at Its Best

“We are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century” Abusters magazine, 2008.

 

Above is the “About” statement issued by Adbusters magazine on their website.

 

The whole tone of Adbusters reminds me of a young Anarchist friend who was hell bent on standing on what he saw as being the front line, facing the cops, everyone masked, fighting the system, chasing down the “G8”, foiling the capitalist carnival . He was an unworldly chap yet chock full with drive to question everything. I wondered where his ambition would get him. He now DJ’s in the clubs of Newcastle (UK) spinning dirty hardcore rave, chewing on cheap, low grade disco biscuits, a hip star amongst his peers, Ritchie Vicious, oh what did they do to you, out there on that frontline?.

 

It would never be fair to chastise the good folk of Adbusters for anything they do here. Their black flag journalism has its heart in the right place. Bringing awareness to global issues and rising solutions from its readers is an applaudable step in the right direction.

 

I become cautious though when I get the slight scent of patchouli in the air. I am reminded of a mix of tumbling resolution and the naïve dreams of a lay about generation that sold its beliefs for a fist full of Lebanese Hash. The fight was never in the fields it was always at the heart of our societies, in the council buildings of our towns and the parliaments of our cities and there it remains, effervescing, waiting for us to arrive.

 

I read an article (Strike, Collapse, Rethink) on Adbusters, a call for a “Consumption Strike”.

 

“To join the General Consumption Strike is easy: spend less, live more. Consider doing without your high-speed internet, cell phone service, beer or wine, restaurants, gasoline, new clothes, fancy electronics and tourism. Think of the money you will save, the fewer hours you’ll need to work, and the more time you’ll have to live.”

 

This is what the article encourages.

 

I am dumbfounded by what this article is trying to inspire in its readers. This call to strike can do nothing more than harm. Our society is not a rolling shopping trolley that you can simply push into the aisle before storming away in a huff to go sit in the grass, dressed in tattered cloth, hungry, without connection to reality. No, no, no, let us not go back there. This is a foolish idea.

 

I find it hard to take an article like this serious when the author opts to use Helvetica font, one of the few fonts that are not offered free of charge, a font relished by the advertising world, one that has, by some, been considered the “Capitalist” font of our time.

Dead Cat Bounce – The Sins of Our Fathers

 

The economy of a capitalist system is like a schizophrenic dog, tame for a moment but will always at some point become wild, true to its nature, love you one moment then bite you in your face. It is about making winners and making losers.

 

As bankers around the world have grabbed for their dummy, turning to their big Daddy, in the form of their relevant nations “reserves”, to come bail them out of the shit they managed to get themselves in, all we can do is sit and wait for this tsunami, for this wave of economic turd to rise to our necks, once again. Bankers will still get their huge bonuses, they will still drive their gas guzzling sports cars and live in oversized homes which will remain heated through out the winter months so that their pet shark, pickled in formaldehyde, doesn’t get cold, all this while they escape the turbulent winter season and financial crisis to holiday off the coast of Corfu on their big yachts with brethren filthy rich. If these bankers were of any other profession they would have been chastised for malpractice.

 

Gordon Brown, England’s Prime minister, ex-Chancellor of the exchequer, must be finger-tipping the sweat from off his brow with the fortunate circumstance that this situation is one that allows him to have a shot at looking good for once. Talk about “Brownie” points. Headlines cheered him from his corner like some regenerated superman with his economic recovery plan that will save the world from depression.

Gordon Browns plan ‘B’ is a simple, let’s try plan ‘A’ again. The government will be selling yet more bonds (IOU’s), raising our national debt to an even greater record high, to raise capital to re invest in our commercial banks so as to keep up the momentum of the capitalist wheel.

 

This is all fine. No one wants to see an economical world wide crash. Let’s keep bailing out the water but at the same time let us all remember that there is indeed a hole in our boat and it will sink.

 

Our financial system is built on credit and debt. We are swimming on a sea of speculations. Ten years ago the UK national debt stood at approximately £380 billion. Private and commercial debt in the UK stood at £780 billion. Combined, this left the total debt of the UK cruising around the £1160 billion mark. When you consider the total money stock of the time at £640 billion you can see the extent of the UK’s negative equity. And that was ten years ago. Right now, with this credit crunch and economic situation, I dread to think what the figures may be. I doubt there is any point in quoting figures for our present situation while they are still soaring.

 

The majority of us are not financiers, bankers, the heads of big business, economists or even politicians and therefore we are in no position to truly understand the workings of the financial world. There is such spin that we would indeed become dizzy from the outset and this is no accidental shroud that covers this sector of our society. It is a sinister world of deceit where the greed of man is the driving force.

 

The whole affair is tempered by the fact that the people involved wear suits and carry smart phones but we should never be fooled into believing that the world of finance is not a world of murder and violence of greed and selfish requisition. When it comes to money, men, in every sense of the matter, have lost their heads. What we have to realize here is that while these men are in control of our finances, while they have a foot in our economy, the flow of money and the benefits for us all that could come from such economic investment will remain with the minority. The unfortunate reality is that we all pay a price, not only financially; we pay with our standard of living and in the end the quality of life our children can expect.

 

 

 “I am half inclined to think we are all ghosts, Mr. Manders. It is not only what we have inherited from our fathers and mothers that exists again in us, but all sorts of old dead ideas and all kinds of old dead beliefs and things of that kind. They are not actually alive in us; but there they are dormant, all the same, and we can never be rid of them. Whenever I take up a newspaper and read it, I fancy I see ghosts creeping between the lines. There must be ghosts all over the world. They must be as countless as the grains of the sands, it seems to me. And we are so miserably afraid of the light, all of us.”

                                   

An excerpt from Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen

Cardboardshelter.org

 

Cardboardshelter.org is an exhibition that will be held at The Art Works Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) from the 27th of November. The exhibition will be open to the public during the run up to Christmas.

 

Organized by Ric & Lindsay Bown, the exhibition invites an interesting line up of UK artists to take part in this non profit event which aims to bring greater awareness to the homeless community living around our towns and cities.  The exhibition will also help promote The Big Issue foundation, a long running, award winning magazine, one of the UK’s leading social businesses, which has worked over the past 18 years to help members of the homeless community to regain control of their lives by tackling the issues behind their personal situation and offering them an opportunity to earn a legitimate income.

 

The exhibition comes at a time of year when an estimated 380,000 people are living homeless.  If even 1% of the estimated figures are unlucky enough to be living rough, an unacceptable 3800 people will be living on the streets during the coldest, wettest and most hostile of seasons the island has to offer.

 

Thirty artists have been invited to produce an A4 sized piece of art work using only recycled cardboard, a “nod towards the material which provides shelter to many homeless.” The work will be sold for £40 a piece with an aim to raise one £1,000 for The Big Issue Foundation.

 

For more information about Cardboardshelter.org and The Big Issue Foundation go here and here.