Firstly, I wish thank Roddy for inviting me to share ideas and
(possible) revelations with others on the Crumb list.
Before I get into the flow of the discussion I would like to pre-empt
the hopefully 'interesting' noise by letting people on here know about
one of my latest adventures in writing. However, regarding the context
of this discussion, I think it's also necessary to say that I am working
class, and I have only begun my Phd at Birkbeck, London at the age of 48
(my 1st time in University), and I have a history in art, activism,
street art, hacking in the late 80s/early 90s - analogue, networked and
urban. All the things I do are driven by the idea or spirit of
initiating some form of 'self & peer' emancipation. Whether this relates
to co-curating at the Furtherfield space, our online communities, or our
media ecology projects and more…
Here is a short intro from my recent paper called 'Disrupting The Gaze.
Part 1: Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery.'
“The word “art” can conjure up a vision of objects in an art gallery,
showroom or museum, that can be perceived as reinforcing the values and
machinations of the victors of history as leisure objects for elite
entertainment, distraction and/or decoration - or the narcissistic
expression of an isolated self-regarding individual.”  (Garrett &
We live in a world riddled with contradictions and confusing signals.
Our histories are assessed, judged and introduced as fact yet there are
so many bits missing. We accept what is given through sound bite forms
of mediation and end up using misinformation as our cultural
foundations, and then we build on these ‘acquired’ assumptions as our
‘imagined’ guidelines. This critique studies how contemporary artists
are challenging these defaults through their connected enactments and
critical inquiries of the existing conditions. It highlights a continual
dialogue involving a historical struggle between what is condoned as
legitimate art and knowledge, and what is not. It looks at a complexity,
embedded in our culture and its class divisions in Britain. And draws
upon struggles going as far back as the enlightenment, the industrial
revolution, colonialism and slavery, to present day concerns with
neoliberalism and its dominance. The Tate gallery is used as a reference
point and a site of focus for these various historical and contemporary,
political and societal conflicts.
The artists’ and art groups featured, such as Graham Harwood, Platform,
IOCOSE, Tamiko Thiel, and Mark Wallinger; has each delivered a
particular (unofficial and official) mode of art intervention at the
Tate Gallery. Whether these artistic activities concern economic,
ecological, historical, political or hierarchical conditions, they all
connect in different ways. They meet, not through style or as part of a
field of practice, but as contemporary artistic practitioners exploring
their own states of agency in a world where our ‘public’ interfaces are
as much a necessary place of creative engagement, as is the already
accepted physical ‘inner’ sanctum of the gallery space. However, their
work has become equally significant (perhaps even more) than, the
mainstream art establishment’s franchised celebrities.
In keeping with Gregory Sholette’s recently, published vindication for
those artists hidden away where the art establishment’s light rarely
shines, “when, the excluded are made visible, when they demand
visibility, it is always ultimately a matter of politics and rethinking
history.”  (Sholette 2011) This paper draws upon a wider,
contemporary art culture and audience existing out there. Yet, the
artistic discoveries and discourse coming out of this independent art
culture, is not reflected back to us. Instead, we receive more of the
same, marketed franchises. The central, mainstream version of
contemporary art has found its allies within a global and corporate
culture, where business dictate’s art value. However, there is a spirit
of artistic emancipation that exists and is thriving out there. It is
self styled, self governed and liberated from the restrictive norms that
dominate our mediated gaze, and this is what this paper is mainly about.
end of intro…
extract from paper…
"Institutions are in themselves sacred. If you challenge what is sacred
you not only question the institution’s posture, but also what it
symbolizes to all those who receive the benefits of its reputed position
of authority. Power is also sacred, and myths are bound up in procedures
and presentations engaging in the currency of cultural ‘importance’. The
Tate’s power comes from accumulation; its success is in managing and
maintaining its vast collection of pictorial and sculptural objects for
all to see. This is why the institution is cherished and seen as
significant, culturally and nationally. From its collection it presents
a ‘finely tuned’ version of Britain’s ‘artistic’ identity. The Tate is
the protector of collected, artistic memories and an ambassador of
history and time, our history and time. The psychoanalyst, O. Brown
insightfully describes this endeavour as archaic, “Archaic man conquers
death by living the life of his dead ancestors.” (O. Brown 1959).
The safeguarding of this ‘curated’ history fashions a situation where we
are asked to trust its status as ‘specialized’, in issuing forth a
viable definition of our national, artistic past. This power presents us
with other implications. Because historical and cultural weight is given
to the ‘managed’ entities within its collection - our gaze for
lesser-known artists is diverted with an added presumption they are also
not as significant. The prevailing ideological governance of what is
seen, determines our perceptions of what is of cultural value and
significance, due to what is produced as visible and invisible. What is
visible through the gaze of the dominant hegemony is then assumed as
merit for ‘special’ attention, lessening the cultural presence of
emergent forms of consciousness and more diverse, artistic pursuits."
 By Marc Garrett, Ruth Catlow. DIWO: Do It With Others – No Ecology
without Social Ecology.
First published in Remediating the Social 2012. Editor: Simon Biggs
University of Edinburgh. Pages 69-74
 Gregory Sholette. Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of
Enterprise Culture. Pluto Press (January 4, 2011)
 Normon O. Brown. Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning
of History. Second Edition. Wesleyan University Press. 1959. Page 285.
wishing all well.
A living - breathing - thriving networked neighbourhood -
proud of free culture - claiming it with others ;)
Furtherfield – online arts community, platforms for creating, viewing,
discussing and learning about experimental practices at the
intersections of art, technology and social change.
Furtherfield Gallery – Finsbury Park (London).
Netbehaviour - Networked Artists List Community.