Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Where are you? I mean, what is your 'scene', whatever it is, doing to seek out its fascists? Strange that we were in any way surprised that a gallery in Dalston had been hosting fascists - self professed "alt right" fascists. I mean, its been going that way for a very long time. Ever since I can remember most contemporary art galleries have been white rooms where the objects in them - sculptures, paintings, installations are given the special privilege of centrality - where there is no interruption. No colour, no social reality with which to compete or respond to. In short, the object is put not into a neutral space but into a completely false one. One that is situated in the past. One that you are asked to approach in a certain way. Again, we should not be surprised. When did this start happening? Where were the people who would immediately understand what that might start to do? Why weren't they actively disrupting and dismantling those spaces? It makes me feel lucky in a way. There are lots of problems with the poetry scene my stuff gets circulated in, but Christ, when someone does something that leans towards reactionary thought it is dealt with, or at least an attempt is made. As far as I can see even the "Vanguardists" have not yet opened their doors to the alt right (though they do favour white rooms and commissions - must keep a fucking eye on them) and if they do... Well. I don't know. That thought felt as if it had a resolution - a closing - but suddenly I'm beginning to feel quite afraid. Going back to those white rooms though, have you noticed how people alter their entire bodies to them? That's not a consensus. It's a regime. Regimes emerge through a deliberately reactionary moment which is then at once ignored and allowed to continue. What happens next is we go and tell the contemporary visual art world that there are fascists amongst them. But really, what the hell is a scene that circulates things like Frieze ever going to say about it? Visual Breitbart. I was walking along the Thames near the Tate Britain with my friend Will a couple of years ago, We were talking about the Anish Kapur sculptures they have around there. They are sort of monuments to what an artist in the city can do. They stand in their posts as things to be attained. They don't actually do anything in a public way except to inform a pacified public about how things should really be. They put you in your place and then they're done with you. I've spoken about this before but I feel it bares repeating. The unwritten of mainstream contemporary visual art over the last twenty years or so has been to remove the place of agony and of alienation from the alienated individual. That's why you use the corpses of animals rather than people. I mean, imagine if Damien Hirst had something at stake in those corpses. They would surely be his corpse. He would have demonstrated with his own flesh the catastrophic subject alienation through a form of, well, not sacrifice or horror, but something I can't actually name. And as a piece of art that might actually be okay even if it were just a hand or a shin or something, and there he is with no shin, or rather he has one, but it's in a tank and you can see him there and see the bit of life that's been extracted from him. In fact, that's what he did, but the bit of life he laid claim to was a shark. I mean, come on. He really "nailed it" there didn't he? Abstraction. The wide open door for fascists. "Great, these people haven't got a clue", they say, and then they come in and start their hunting. That's now. They are hunting. Really perniciously. They've disguised their moralism and they're attacking us with our own weapons. White rooms. Seriously. Terrifying.
Thursday, 2 February 2017
What a crumpled fucking month that was.
I have news. First of all here's some music. Karl M. V. Waugh and myself get together every now and again to make radio show / podcast things. We have a few drinks and press the record button on the recording device (see below) and play one another music. The beginning (and many other bits of it) are scrappy and un-profesh. Woops. Here's a link: BBC RADIO BINNSCLAGG
In other news, my new book of poems is coming out VERY SOON. It is being printed as we speak. It's a long suite of poems. Some of them are very short. Some are longer. Some prose too. It has acted as a kind of journal documenting my work life over the last two years. It will be released by Contraband Books very shortly, and my thanks go to David Ashford for putting in a lot of hard work on what is really quite an unreasonable book. I will add links for purchase and links to launch event info as soon as everything is solidified and then melted and then split again. Will Rowe has written a note on the text. Here it is:
'The writer is a carer in an institution where the normativity function of world, its disposition of space, occurs as a containment of death. Human empathy in this environment is an irruption of uncontainable disorder. To look at this place produces deep disorder inside: how can one live there? How long is it possible to live at an extreme edge, this kind of edge? The answer relates to truth, sheer insistence on truth, without any resolution by hope. That means pain, without emollients of world.'