Sunday, 19 September 2010


Tonight I perform at the Anti-Design Festival with Mark McGowan and Rex Nemo and the Psychic Self-Defenders. As is usual, but perhaps more so than usual, I have no clue what I will be talking about. There will be some sort of reference to football hooliganism - or at least that's what Mark's piece will be. I think that I will be touching on this, largely due to the EDL's chant, borrowed from the terraces: "You're not English any more". The "any more" part is telling; you were English, but now you're not. However, you are still included in the category English, as "Un-English"; an entirely different matter from "You're not English". It is a clear example of the state of exception in spatial practice.

McGowan's recent video plays with a similar disjunction, Irish music accompanying scenes of what one assumes are English (possibly nationalist) hooligans disporting themselves.

The festival itself is a manifestation of a clapped out aesthetic, full of "punk" references and "interactive", if not "relational" elements that needs a design context to look subversive rather than simply tired.

I'm intrigued by the statement on the website that claims that the festival is "a response to 25 years of cultural deep-freeze". I can't work out where the twenty five years comes from - why not 13? Election of New Labour, or 31 - the Tories? Or, in my personal opinion -21 - fall of the Berlin Wall? I suspect that twenty five would be about the average age for someone graduating from an art or design M.A at this time, and roughly half the age of a good few of the participants, but I don't know what this might mean.

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