Saturday, 22 August 2020

How to breed anarchy

What on earth is happening? - These last months have seen understandings of our place in the world, tilt and shift. The old normality has run adrift as we attempt to make sense of what came before and what might be. 

Old morality too, has been seen for what it is - for a moment in time, the still-evolving virus, gives us clarity to see unpalatable truths - that some refuse to accept. 



But I have an extended moment of lucidity, quite unlike anything I’d previously thought possible - the things we all know, somehow amplified. Preposterous faux leadership - held up against those who personify considered collective decisions - fills my heart with a near-violent rage; what was dormant splutters with acrid sparks of sulphur. 



Stuttering bravado hiding behind algorithms - post-code discrimination and disparity of voice, but y
our protective mask will foil their facial recognition software.
 
Five hundred and thirty two billion tons of melting ice course through my veins while cops choke the life out of a human - because they can. Then in my little world, we count out the ways in which the arts might staunch the chaos. I cringe a little. That same small world has been shoved off kilter, where bone and blood themselves calve away, like balmy winter cliffs. A grinding reality.


Inequalities are falling off the radar, while childlike politicians prepare for a vote-winning technological war on a common enemy, not seeing that the enemy itself attacks those who are most unequal.

Am I angry - am I going to do something with my smouldering rage through these fading hours? - fuck, yeah.

It Ain't Half Racist, Mum (1979)
Stuart Hall & Maggie Steed
(...of course, the following film will offend as it deals head on with the racism many of us were unintentionally complicit with on television in our younger years)


The following text contextualises the above film and was written by Ashley Clark, in Sight & Sound.

In March 1979, weeks before the election of Margaret Thatcher, Stuart Hall starred in his own protest film of sorts, a surgical critique of racism entitled It Ain’t Half Racist, Mum. Written and presented by Hall alongside actor and activist Maggie Steed, It Ain’t Half Racist, Mum screened on BBC2 as part of Open Door (1973-83), a series which gave airtime to outsiders to use under their own editorial control.

The show is frank from the start, as Steed delivers a message to camera: “When the BBC says that a programme like this is ‘outside their control’, what they’re telling you is that they don’t think it’s balanced, neutral, or fair. We hope to show that many of the programmes which are under the editorial control of the BBC and ITV are themselves biased and unbalanced, especially in the coverage they give to Britain’s Black community.”

Commenting on carefully chosen clips, the pair analyse the racism and biases within sitcom stereotypes, and dissect the insidious ways that far-right nationalists, including Enoch Powell, were given freedom within the supposedly neutral space on current affairs television to articulate their hostile positions on immigration, effectively framing the national discourse. (Anyone pondering the programme’s contemporary relevance may consider the fact that far-right politician Nigel Farage – who has never successfully been elected as an MP at Westminster – has appeared 35 times on the BBC’s Question Time, and is its ninth all-time highest record appearance holder.)

Sadly, It Ain’t Half Racist, Mum did not provoke a period of self-analysis from the BBC. Instead, it struck a raw nerve: a subsequent Open Door episode began with a feebly apologetic message that entirely disavowed Hall and Steed’s critique: “The BBC wishes to dissociate itself from any such suggestions [of racial bias] which it considers to be entirely without foundation.”



Restructuring Public Health England: public health is about more than being prepared for future pandemics
As the socioeconomic causes of ill health are being ignored by the British Government, Paul C Coleman, Joht Singh Chandan and Fatai Ogunlayi consider the effect this restructure will have on the future health and wellbeing of England in the British Medical Journal. Read this timely article HERE. 

How to walk through walls: reimagining health and healthcare through the arts
On Tuesday 4 August, the CREATE Centre in New South Wales hosted the second of its online series - "How to walk through walls: reimagining health and healthcare through the arts". Vic McEwan of The Cad Factory presented a video work called "Come Face to Face with Your Face" and reflected on his practice. His presentation talks to the work he has been undertaking in the Sydney Facial Nerve Clinic as part of his practice led PhD and reflects on what it means to be an artist working with complex things such as facial nerve paralysis. Watch the full film below.



CALL FOR ARTISTS
Are you an artist based in the North West of England? The Festival of Hope Sefton are looking for artists to collaborate in a series of projects to be delivered in October 2020. 
The Atkinson, in collaboration with Hope Streets, Curious Minds and Blaze, is working with a group of Young Producers to create the Festival of Hope Sefton; a pioneering festival that places young people at the heart of design, making, programming & production. Please note that there are a number of commissions, and the image below will take you to the webpage with more detail. Or click HERE.


Victoria and Albert Museum/AHRC collaborative doctoral partnership studentships
Arts and Humanities Research Council, GB
These allow the V&A and UK HEIs to collaborate on a project that is relevant to both the AHRC’s subject areas and the V&A’s collections and research priorities, and that can provide demonstrable benefits to both partners. Studentships include tuition fees and a student maintenance grant for up to four years, and additional financial support towards travel and related costs.
Full details HERE. Deadline for applications Wednesday 30 September 2020.

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