Thursday, 23 April 2020

Love & Anarchy and Staying Angry...

While I want to write copious notes on the state of things right now, there are others far more eloquent than me doing just that, with only a few providing anything vaguely different to the regurgitated media histrionics. Here are some that piqued my interest this last week.

Rebecca Solnit writes ‘Coronavirus does discriminate, because that’s what humans do.’ She begins: “In theory, all of us are vulnerable to coronavirus, but in practice how well we fare has to do with what you could call pre-existing conditions that are not only medical but economic, social, political and racial – and the pandemic, which is also an economic catastrophe, has made these differences glaringly clear.” Read in full
HERE. Picking up on inequalities (and reminding me of The Mass Trespass) Always with a succinct and global perspective, George Monbiot suggests that: “When the coronavirus crisis ends, let’s demand a right to roam in cities, the countryside and on golf courses.” Read Monbiot HERE. 

But of all these opinion pieces, there’s a very raw and direct human story by Steven Methven called, Staying Angry in London Review of Books in which he asserts that: “we owe our future selves, not to mention our current selves, and those already gone, the focused light of fury.” Read it in full HERE. It’s very easy to deny or suppress feelings anger while the virus is still at strength and it’s natural to focus on the positive - not least to stay psychologically strong - but let’s not lose sight of the very clear factors that underpin some of the avoidable chaos surrounding us - and the ‘decision makers’ who have presided over it. 

For my part and regardless of my current plight, my anger is welling and while we all try and find collective moments to make sense of what's happening and stay sane, I fear the changes that are coming might not be the cultural and environmental utopia we dream of. Let's keep our eyes now more than ever on inequalities and injustices which this virus is illuminating painfully clearly. If change is coming - it is the people who should be driving it by the appropriate means - not the insidious forces of the market, whose invisible players are already positioning themselves to control all our futures. So finally - and to lift your spirits - Mark Steel as articulate and funny as ever, perhaps encourages us to be just a little angry. Read HERE. I'd argue that Steel is possibly one of the most relevant social commentators of our times - poisonous and funny. Thanks to NS and JA for sharing some of these links.

Closer to the arts, health and social change agenda come three blog postings. Victoria Hume eloquently marries care and slowing down with a reimagining of what might life might look like post-covid HERE. Julie McCarthy discusses how the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is bringing people together through creativity, pointing out that, “the most vulnerable people get left behind when you’re locked down,” HERE. Finally, Kat Taylor provides a wealth of connections to all manner of cultural opportunities in her posting: “Culture at a Distance: Arts for Health in Isolation.” HERE. Each of these blogs deserve a good read.

The artist Lucy Burscough is embarking on a two-year public-facing residency at Manchester University’s Manchester Museum. 'Dab Hands' will explore hands, art practice & dexterity. Portraits will be made of people’s hands whose dexterity is affected by disease & trauma, by cancer treatment and arthritis. The production of these paintings will develop on from Lucy’s earlier work, in particular, the Facing Out project. There, it was found that involvement in sensitively designed 'arts & health' projects, which offer patients a chance to celebrate their identity by telling their stories on their own terms, can be beneficial to well-being and help participants re-frame their medical experience into a wider sense of self. If you want to find out more click HERE or on the image above.

During this uncertain time the Jennifer Lauren Gallery is seeking submissions from national and international artists that self-define as disabled and/or Deaf. The Gallery will be hosting an online exhibition on its website, with a downloadable zine of the works too. The exhibition will support and showcase the work of 25 artists selected through a call-out with the help of artist and adult survivor with mental health issues Terence Wilde, whom Jennifer already supports and Lisa Slominski of Slominski Projects. The Gallery hopes that this exhibition will expose these artist’s works to wider audiences, to bring a sense of achievement during this difficult and isolating time and who knows, may result in new opportunities for the artists, and studios that support them.  

The call-out: Artists who self-define as disabled and/or Deaf can submit a photograph of one work (or send one digital piece of work) via email with its title, size (wxh in cm) and medium. (BSL version at the bottom of the page.) Please also submit your name and a short description about the work of up to 30 words should you wish to. (A BSL video can be submitted in replacement of this text, which will be interpreted into text). The photograph/digital file needs to be 5mb or less in size. Studios can submit work on behalf of artists if they have the artist’s permission. 

●      The work needs to have been made since 1 January 2020
●      No theme to follow
●      In any medium and of any size since this is an online exhibition
●      Please mention your postcode if Greater Manchester based
●      Email work to:
●      If you need help photographing your work or need extra information, please email Jennifer or send a message over the Gallery’s social media 

Call-out dates: Friday 17 April – Sunday 3 May 2020 by 5pm
You will be contacted by Friday 8 May 2020 to let you know if you’ve been successful or not. Should you not be selected please do still take a look at the online gallery. Please note that emails sometimes go into junk mail boxes. 
Full details are HERE.

Olafur Eliasson wants the public to be the artist for his latest work, rethinking how we see the planet Earth. To mark Earth Day 2020 yesterday, Eliasson began to releasing Instagram, images of nine orange and pink coloured images of the Earth with a dot in the middle. People should stare at the dot for 10 seconds and then focus on a blank surface where an afterimage will appear in different colours. 'That in effect is our work of art – a new view of the world.' He says:  “The wonderful idea of Earth Day allows one to take a step back, look at the planet from the outside and recognise that it is an object that is so hard and impossible to comprehend. It sort of escapes us. Click HERE to find out more.

Yes - you really did read that! Now a little treat from the antipodes. This is to all those of you in Australia who follow this blog - but it's online - so anyone - anywhere! During my time over these years in Australia I have had the pleasure to meet all sorts of people; some who I've worked with and others who have gone on to be friends. One of these is the extraordinary Jaimie Leonarder who with his partner Aspasia have been delivering a mix of heady underground culture in Sydney while working as a social worker for many years. It's in that work that he has done some quite profound work with people living on the fringes of society. There was a great documentary made by SBS about him, but alas, I can't find it online, so here's a trailer. If you are more Schubert than Stockhausen it may jar on you - but persist! He is an excellent human and while I've not met Aspasia, you can damn well bet she is too.

Naked World
In this crazy locked-down world here are a new live series of shows coming to a living room near you and for a ridiculously minuscule subscription. You'll get full access to the extraordinary Mu Meson Archive and:

See Naked World, in complete streaming video, twice a week, eight times a month

Every Monday and Saturday, Jay Katz and Miss Death will be across your airwaves with interviews and conversations delving into the downright bizarre

Watch Cult Sinema Obscura and delve into the Mu Meson Archives' extensive collection of films from the fringes, commentated live every Tuesday night from the archives by Jay Katz and Miss Death

And Jay Katz will be spinning vinyl Live From Mu Mesons every Friday night until this pandemic lifts

The original Sounds Of Seduction (1995) album upon signing up (digital download)

Join the Mu Meson Archives Mailing List and receive a monthly newsletter of curiosities

Find our more and sign up HERE. Now - here is the sublime trailer.

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