My apologies to all for dropping off the radar but I’m juggling a couple of things at the moment as well as having to focus on a project route that has a serious deadline so I’ve had to make three of me for the summer months!! I do have one result to share however and that is my recent submission to the “Art in the Making” You Tube channel; an artist collective that I have been part of since early this year. We are a Limerick/Cork based group of artists, collaborating together on projects that are developed outside our ordinary institutional framework in an effort to overcome the usual theory/practice divide. As readers of this blog may know I have spent some time this year supporting and recording the weekly march that the community of Ballyhea in Co. Cork make each week. Together with the support of the Ballyhea community I have combined some of the footage to make a video called “Ballyhea Says No!” for our Art in the Making; The Thin Line Between Documentery & Fiction summer film festival that will be held in Cork sometime mid July and Limerick City later in the summer (I will update the dates on these when I do find out myself). I would also wish to thank Brian Fitzgerald and his friend Matt for the last minute edit job that they did on this for me, much appreciate it.
I recently was given the loan of Bibi Van Derzee’s, The Protester’s Handbook and found myself rolling through the pages with great vigor. Alas, I did have to pinch myself every so often and remember that it is Ireland I live in, a country that uses the police force to beat on students when they arrive in the capital to protest at the government buildings! So their old enough to vote, and old enough to serve our country in war but if you show up on Kildare Street, we’ll use brute force to beat you down. Where is this all going you may ask. Well in The Protesters Handbook there is a section on campaigns, petitions, meetings, rally’s and lots more alike but I was most intrigued by the example that was made of the power of the petition. On a light hearted note, one such example was the withdrawal of the Wispa bar from the shelves of newsagents and sweetie shops all over Britain and Ireland back in 2003, the chocolate bar was simply discontinued! However some guy wrote a blog on it and the sadness of its loss from all the little tuck shops around the country (Britain) and a before you know it an internet campaign started and petitions were distributed. Nobody managed this campaign, it just flourished over the following four years until one evening in a field in Glastonbury one, Iggy Pop called on the crowd to file onto the stage and there amongst the banners and flags of the reveler’s, was the banner that read loud and clear “Bring Back Wispa”! Carbury’s decided to give the campaign a serious thought, as they had numerous other complaints about other products no longer being available but never a continuous campaign such as this and in 2007 the Wispa returned to the market and still sells to this day!
Look at the power we can have as people in numbers. Take our forefathers for instance, it was that power in numbers that won our independence for Ireland. We didn’t have the brute force or the excessive artillery to overcome the neighboring Empire that occupied us so long, it was the nurture and support of the Irish people that overcome our oppressor. What happened to all that, who gave us all this complacency, was it our new oppressor, the E.U.? I recently signed a petition that was brought to my awareness through an add on You Tube believe it or not? It was a petition against the new European THMPD (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Product Directive) which basically means that on the 30th April the E.U. banned the availability of hundreds of natural remedies from the European market. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/01/new-eu-rules-on-herbal-remedies This is on the grounds that the herbal industries cannot account for every ingredient that there is in the remedies, or the side effects that they may have on lets say someone with an already existing heart disease, whereas man made modern medicines can! This is an intention to put the small herbal industries out of business, it is the aggressive corporate machine making sure capitalism survives in Europe for all those big medical companies. That petition I signed didn’t quiet stop the ban but I got an email yesterday saying that it had
“by Wednesday, the 3rd of May 2011, at 12 o’clock GMT:
- 967 909 signatures to our petition in French ;
- 244 606 to our petition in English ;
- 109 116 to our petition in German.”
And that “Avaaz members (World In Action Community U.K.) has already gathered 656 000 signatures, making it a very significant participant to the movement against the THMPD.”
The email continued that the size and strength of such a movement was going to have to be met with some renegotiation by the E.U. “to back down on its outrageous attempt to limit our rights and freedom to choose natural medicine and remedies”.
For goodness sake, the next time you see a petition in your inbox, give five minutes of your day and read it, and while your at it think of the consequences of doing nothing!
Now let’s do something to stop the bailout of the European bondholders in our own Irish banking crisis, lets try and take control of what is rightfully ours, our right to say “NO”.
I was first directed towards the work of The Yes Men through a conversation I had on Skype two weeks ago with Sean Miller from University of Florida. I told him how frustrating it is here in Ireland at the moment, what with talks of the Forest’s going to be sold as state asset and how a certain crooked ex Taoiseach (Prime Minister in Irish) is integral in trying to get parts of Ireland sold off! Sean Miller advised I look at how one of The Yes Men got onto BBC as spokesperson for Dow Chemical, the big chemical company that was once Union Carbide (after the disaster in India they sold a share in the company and changed their name!) In character, one of the Yes Men told the BBC news anchor that he wanted on behalf of Dow and on the 20th anniversary of the disaster in Bhopal (where over 500,000 were injured or killed from chemical related injuries, making it the worlds worst industrial disaster), they wanted to apologise to the people of Bhopal for what had happened and take responsibility for their actions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiWlvBro9eI The sweetest part of the whole performance was that Dow had to come forward and declare that were not taking responsibility for the disaster and not apologising! http://www.dowethics.com/r/about/corp/email.htm
So The Yes Men take on the role of the oppressor, they get dressed up in suits and practice carefully written lines that will answer questions that they want to be answered in order to get their point across, really just like politicians if you ask me. Isn’t that what they teach people like Bertie, Cowan and now Enda here at home? Bad Subject would love to get up to some mischief here in Yes Men style! I joined The Yes Men mailing list in the hope of doing a Yes Lab, http://www.yeslab.org We have after all plenty of oppressive situations here in Ireland that could do with some illumination! If anyone would like to join Bad Subject on such an endeavor please feel free to contact with your idea’s for collaboration on:
I’ve recently been reading last weeks publication by the Department of Finance of the Report of Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities. It’s thrilling stuff as you can imagine but I feel that considering what was gifted to the Dutch oil giant Shell back in 2000-2002, the least I could do is inform myself on what is being considered now by the newly elected representatives that we have in government. The report was put together by a Review Group consisting of three people, Mr. Colm McCarthy, School of Economics, University College Dublin, Prof. Alan Matthews, Department of Economics, Trinity College, Dublin and Mr. Donal McNally, Second Secretary, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The first thing that strikes me about this report is the “terms of reference” that the review group were appointed, they were those that were put in place by the previous government! The one’s that sat in power for 23yrs steering us so carefully in the direction that we find ourselves in now! So even though the country voted for a new kind of fresh start when we all put pen to paper back in February to make our voices heard, the new crew of household muppetry are carrying the torch for the crooked precedent that they overthrew. Can someone please order these people a set of ball’s!
Getting back to the report, its tough going, sounds alot like jargon, that’s because it is, you would need a qualification in law to actually comprehend it straight off. So I re read an article written about it on The Framers Journal (it would be very relevant to them as the forestry, bogs and fisheries of Ireland are included in it) and then I logged onto TV3 to get a rundown on what Vincent Browne and his panel had to say about all this. http://www.tv3.ie/shows.php?request=tonightwithvincentbrowne&tv3_preview=&video=34973 I was horrified at Pat Rabbite’s approach to his new ministry position, in fact I would say that he used it to rub it in the noses of the other political candidates that were present. He sat back with his big old round belly sticking out, ignoring the fact that he needs to at least educate himself on the differences that exist for instance between “transmission” and “distribution” sectors of Ireland’s gas pipeline i.e. one is recommended for sale/privatization by the report and the other is not. And then when the Independent Stephen Donnelly made the MAD suggestion that they were all not bothering to consider that we might not/should not even pay this at all, Rabbitte tutted and said that what Donnelly doesn’t yet understand about “constituency” politics, is that constituents always pay back what they owe!!! I wonder do the people of SW Dublin feel the same then, or do the people of Rossport and Ballinaboy mind that the minister who represents them in Parliament (i.e.Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources) doesn’t know the distinct difference between a “distribution” or transmission” network!
There is more to this report than just pipelines, there is also the recommended sale of our ports, airports, bogs, forestry, Coillte assets, Bord na gCon, the National Stud, CIE and Dublin Bus. The list goes on. The one that intrigues me most though is Coillte and it is the one that I will be focusing on in more detail on in another post, it’s going to stir up a hornet’s nest so stay tuned.
I sat an watched a 20min piece of video called “Diary” shared by a friend on FB on Wed evening last. I had spent the previous evening on the computer for five and half hrs trying to get my head around video editing so sitting down to visually consume something so masterfully made was a pleasure for sure, however the reason for my knowledge of such work was because of the creators death. Tim Hetherington was killed that day in the besieged city of Misurata, Libya, three photographers working beside him were wounded, one other fatally, Chris Hondros. Initially it was only Hetherington’s death that I was aware of and so I spent that evening reading and watching work made by him and about him. It seemed eerie that he had made a video piece entitled “Diary” about his own life on the front line of revolutions and war, just one calender year ahead of his own death. And what was even more poignant was a statement he made in an interview http://www.ucd.ie/photoconflict/photographicpractices/photographers/ about how he created the work that he did to get it out there for others to see and to share it with the “community”.
His use of the word “community” might seem a bit exclusive to some however, it allowed me to rationalise why this death felt so gut wrenching. He’s doing what I do, video & photography. OK I have never been so close to death that its happening all around me and I’m there shooting it on camera, but that “community” he talks of disseminating for, is what I am certainly part of.
I have to discuss this exhibition while it is still fresh in my memory and also while it is still showing. I recently visited The Istabraq Hall in City Hall building in Limerick to see an off-site City Gallery show curated by Annette Moloney. The exhibition “How Capital Moves” by Kennedy Browne houses a carefully thought out process of visually representing the recent enough (2yrs ago) departure of one of Ireland’s largest computer industries, Dell. This fictional/non-fictional tale of mobility is based on Dell’s closure of a call center in Roseburg, Oregon in Aug 2007 and the closure of the Limerick based plant in 2009 to be relocated to Łódź in Poland. The show houses a variety of different mediums which include video, photography and sculpture. The main piece includes a video installation of a series of fictional characters played by an actor to represent a variety of avatars that may exist within the daily routine of “The Company”. The video piece contains irony and to a certain degree warnings for what may lay ahead for the Polish people who are employed at present by “The Company”. Two tickets exhibited are from the final flight from Shannon to Łódź, they indicate that the artists were on board and part of that transition and largely printed photograph’s display both departure and arrival of the aircraft. Internet ordered mugs encased in a glass box have images printed on them of workers who were left go at the call center in Oregon in 2007. And a large “internet blue” sign with bold white hyperlink print, states that:
Truly inspiring use of artifacts from the process of mobility that has led to the closure and relocation of this giant sized industrious plant across continents, “How Capital Moves” remains on exhibition in The Isabraq Hall in City Hall, Limerick until 4th May and is well worth checking out.
I have some corrections to make, in a previous post, titled Private/Public I said that the guys in the You Tube clip were “Everything Is Ok” and that they were an art collaborative aiming to provoke society into thinking critically about the general status quo. Although that info is true it is not the appropriate info for the You Tube clip, the guys on the clip are called “The Love Police”, who are a very similar art collaborative based in the U.K. The Love Police freely/not so freely(due to private security agencies) wander about London exercising their right to talk publicly about the need for economic consistency, consumerism and the fear instilled by terrorism!
Here’s the correction: the real “Everything is ok” art collaborative is a San Fran based design initiative which led interest to illuminate the issue that a whole stretch of a high street was laying unused. They designed a product to provoke an interest and question the disuse of such public share space and the project took on a life that they had not imagined. http://www.everythingisok.com/index.html
Although my confusion was caused by the coincidence that two separate projects have used “Everything Is Ok” as their theme text, one as their tittle, the other as their slogan(written on paper and held by speaker), there is another underlining similarity that both collaboration’s have. “The Love Police” and “Everything Is Ok” both go out to interrupt the general flow of things by putting something in place, whether that be a “cautionary tape” or a man with a loudspeaker to provoke a second thinking about what exactly is going on in society.
“An Piopa ar TG4 anois, watch the clout the law are using against the people of the West. Shameful.” 09 February at 21:53
The first time I saw The Pipe was on TG4 back in Feb, above is my quoted text from my FB page that evening as I was completely overwhelmed by the extreme physical force of the Guards on the people of the west of Ireland. I revisited the movie last evening as an uncut version of it was screened in The Millennium Theater of LIT in conjunction with the film festival that they are holding at present. Still overwhelmed by the extreme use of physical handling that the law enforced on regular law abiding citizens of this country, even though I knew it was going to happen, it didn’t stop the anxiety I felt once it was shown. Shell truly have their protection in the State run bodies of Ireland, they are in their pocket. It might be worth taking a look at some of the other corrupt governments that Shell has advantage over elsewhere, and the people and places it has destroyed because of their exploits. http://www.scribd.com/doc/34117627/Shell-Oil-Lessons-not-learned No matter how often you look at The Pipe it will never make it alright to invade communities like Rossport with power and force as if they were the secret forces, the secret forces of capitalism, working for the buck, for an honest man’s wage, beating on another honest man’s family, forcefully throwing elderly people in the ditch for peacefully protesting! And now the more current tactic of intimidation to be used by the Irish policing forces. http://www.foe.ie/news/2011/04/06/taoiseach-should-affirm-the-right-to-protest-against-shell-in-mayo/
Where will it all end?
I will add, I was disappointed that the film maker wasn’t at the screening last night for Q&A afterward as promoted, I would have liked to hear him speak about his experience of it all. I also appeal to anyone who has not yet seen the feature length of The Pipe to please go seek it out and watch it. Remember the taxes that you pay go on to fund “public” servants to protect the people of Ireland, in The Pipe you will see what those “public” servants are actually capable of doing to You, if you do not comply with government interests.
I really just happened upon these guys, their link was on an email that a colleague of mine shared amongst us. http://www.ificantdance.org/Pages/IfICantDance The name as you may notice, is what first struck my attention. I have been actively seeking out the right metaphor lately, something that would sum up all this emotion that bubbles up inside. As an artist it is metaphor’s that are usually used to help visually communicate what it is we are trying to say without using the loudspeaker. Once we have the right metaphorical object the language can start to flow. I am still bubbling however, I simply haven’t found that metaphor yet! It’s kind of like being stuck for words in the visual world, if that makes sense. Anyway these guys intrigued me because of the whole performance association with reference made to subjectivity and feminism. Being a subject is a form of performance even if it is only mundane day to day things that are practiced. What intrigued me futhermore then was that the tittle was a quote used by Emma Goldman in the early part of the 20th Century. Goldman was a powerful figure in American History responsible for speaking out on the freedom to avail of birth control, equal rights and civil liberty, things we take for granted today. She wasn’t America’s favourite lady though, her free speech saw her frequently imprisoned and hated by her fellow radicals, her illegal talks on anarchy, atheism and how birth control could actually benefit society eventually resulted in her deportation (she was a Russian National).
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
Louis Althusser uses the term “bad subject” in his thesis Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation) (Fig. 1 below) to refer to someone whom on occasion may provoke the intervention of one of the detachments of the (Repressive) State Apparatus. (Repressive) State Apparatus meaning the institutes that govern the rules for society to obey, (Fig. 2) Althusser in part, separates these from the Ideological State Apparatuses, as they are both co dependent upon and contribute to the greater structure that is The State Apparatus/Super Structure. Conjunctive with this, Althusser refers to the Ideological State Apparatuses as the specialised institutes that provide the rituals and ceremonies for society to partake in, at it’s own will. (Fig. 3)
Fig. 1 Louis Althusser’s Thesis:
Fig. 2 (Repressive) State Apparatus:
- The Courts
Fig. 3 Ideological State Apparatus
- The Religious ISA
- The Educational ISA
- The Family ISA
- The Legal ISA
- The Political ISA
- The Trade Unions ISA
- The Communications ISA
- The Cultural ISA