The Situationist International

The Situationist International was a group of artists and intellectuals revolutionaries, founded by Guy Debord. Their most well-known work is The Theory of the Spectacle, which explains the concept of the spectacle.

In the classic 80’s movie They Live, the main character finds sunglasses which allow him to see the world as it is. Subliminal messages in the advertisements and media, the true nature of the consumeristic society.

Debord writes in his work that we live the spectacle. Similarly to the concept of They Live, but the spectacle is used as a reference to the sense in which our understanding of the world is shaped by the media images that we consume. This would mean that our world-view is based on the images we consumed.

The very fact that the ideology we consume is passive, the spectacle refers to visual images. Furthermore, we live the representation and that representation become our life. The society presents us with templates of accepted and desired behaviour through commodities and ideologies, however those are only models of behaviour which suite current economic order.

Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, analyses a particular fighting scene in They Live in a documentary The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology. The main character tries to force his friend to try on the sunglasses to see the world for what it actually is. His friend refuses and they start to physically fight. However, the fighting scene is unconventionally long. Zizek explains how we live our ideology, and to step out of it is difficult, it hurts and you must force yourself to do it. (The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, 2012)

He continues by explaining that the real danger is not our reality which enslaves us, but the tragedy of our predicament when we are within ideology, thinking that we escaped it in our dreams,

but this is when we truly become within the ideology. (The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, 2012).

REFERENCE LIST:
The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology (2012) Directed by Sophie Fiennes. [Film]. UK: Zeitgeist Films.

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Creative Industries

What are creative industries? To define them it is best to say that they are crossing boundaries and converging cultures. The reason why it is important to define them is because in UK they are collectively worth over £80 billion. It is one of the most profitable industries in UK.

What is considered a creative industry is quite broad. Some examples are advertising, fashion, fine art, illustration, animation, publishing, creative approaches to education, software, games design, cinema and film, architecture and music.

They support economic development and have significant cultural importance. Furthermore, creative industries are drivers of innovation and urban regeneration. Important issues raised within the industry are plan-making, growth-planning and identity. And all of these make up the totality of economic activity.

The core idea of a creative industry is an exchange of creative work for finances. But, there are several ways of defining which part of the exchange is of best importance and from what perspective to asses it.

Therefore, there have been several theories in defining what can be considered as a creative industry. An early definition from the UK Government’s Department for Culture is DCMS, coined up in 1998. Some other theories are NESTA 2006, UNCTAD 2010 and WIPO. Each definition takes a different approach, some approaches are based on economy, intellectual labour, policy considerations.

David Parrish, a management consultant and author on entrepreneurship, analyses the UK government’s statement about the Creative industries being worth over £80 billion saying that the majority of these businesses are either small or medium entrepreneurs, some of which are even individual practitioners. (no date)

This goes to show the importance of creative entrepreneurship, as creative industries are growing rapidly with steady numbers.

REFERENCE LIST:
David Parrish (no date) David Parrish. Available at: http://www.davidparrish.com/creative-industries/ (Accessed: 07.03.2017).

Beauty Salon

As a part of our creative entrepreneurship option we were to organise an event as a group, Beauty Salon. The kind of event was open to us. It was supposed to be anything entrepreneurial, so anything from screening a movie and charging for a ticket, to offering beauty services as manicure, face makeup and similar.

My group got together on an idea of organising a sale. To brand it, we named it vintage market for a good cause. We were selling different things that we no longer needed but were still in a good condition for someone else to own. Those were different things – clothes, artwork, electronics, jewellery, books and similar.

The emphasis of our event was the ‘for a good cause’ part as everything earned would go to a charity.

To promote the event better, I contacted one of the activities officers and asked for help. I was put in touch with Connie from ArtsRAG, which is a UAL fundraising society. The charities they support are Mind, QEF and Anti slavery. At the end of the academic year, all funds collected are split evenly between the supporting charities. To make our lives easier, we decided to work with them as the charities they donate to are already supported by UAL students.

ArtsRAG helped with promoting on Facebook, while we put up posters around university.

Overall, the event wasn’t a great success. The timing (6 pm) and the place (Tower Block, 11th floor) were not ideal for the type of event we organised. At the beginning of the sale it was obvious not a lot of people would turn up as everyone was going home, so we decided to move to the main LCC area (up the main stairs) and try attracting people then.

Some of the items I brought were handmade keychains, some of which did get sold, so that was a success in my book.

Makerversity

Makervesity is a multi-disciplinary community of creative makers – artists, designers, illustrators. Their key mission is providing affordable studio space for professional creatives.

The studio space is located in central London in a Somerset House. Somerset House is an iconic space to host art events such as workshops and exhibitions. They have been a key partner of Makerversity since the beginnings. Even today, they help in supporting activities by the studio.

Makerversity was founded by three designers in 2013 out of need for an affordable studio space.

Today, there are two Makervesity communities in function, one in London and the other one in Amsterdam.

One of their missions is helping young professionals – they offer a free desk space for three months for creatives under 25. Besides the desk space, their space has great facilities. They offer a wood and textile workshop, 3D printing, etc.

There are few different plans in offer. There are different desk spaces for the needs of the artists. Standard option is a desk space to fit a computer and few other things, but they do offer additional storage spaces for their members.

The main emphasis of Makerversity is the community feel. Members are encouraged to work together, collaborate, discuss.

From what it seems like to me, this is a great starting point after finishing university. I am specifically referring to the under 25 program. The main problem in London still is affordable living space. Many even after graduating and working for few years live in shared flats, in rooms which barely have space for normal living standards. The main problem is work space and facilities for producing work.

I definitely feel like this could be of my benefit after graduation. Makerversity seems like a great transition after university, it still holds the same atmosphere of university with shared studio space, facilities and the idea of communication with other creatives.

Is It Even Worse In Europe? – Exhibition review

The Guerrilla Girls is a group of anonymous female artists from USA. They’ve been working on exposing sexism in art since 80’s. One of their pieces, It’s even worse in Europe from 1986 which had statistics about female artists in art institutions in Europe has been revisited and exhibited in The Whitechapel Gallery (Is It Even Worse In Europe?, 2016). Although, this time with a question mark – Is it even worse in Europe?

The piece was an extension to the old statistic, comparison wise – but at the same time it succeeded in creating a narrative within the actual timeline of the piece. Showing sexism and racial discrimination as a continuous process and common practice within European art institutions.

The piece began by a questionnaire being sent out to 383 art organisation across Europe. After receiving answers, they’ve been formed into an exhibition.

The actual piece is a graphic narrative set-up across the exhibition space in the gallery. Besides conventionally walls, the floor space has been used as well. The floor has a poster with all the art institutions which have not answered and visitors are encouraged to walk over it.

In a way the questionnaire has acted as a disobedient object. It has been re-appropriated, moulded in various ways by the answers given. The questionnaire has been used sarcastically, as the idea of female artists being under represented in art institutions would only be confirmed by this piece, so here numbers are not as important, or important at all. The responses were what formed the exhibition. Numbers acted as a factor only within the parameter of the responses – for instance, 1 in 4 galleries replied. This is what was important.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the exhibition. I was specifically drawn to the poster with Complaints Department as two galleries from Poland and Slovenia made a significant comment – why are Guerrilla girls not asking about representation of Eastern European artists?!

 

 

REFERENCE LIST:

Is It Even Worse In Europe (2016) [Exhibition]. Whitechapel Gallery, London. 01 October – 05 March 2017).

Can a jar of pickles be political art?

Exploitation of the Dead – M. Stilinović, 1984-1990

Can a jar of pickles be considered political art?

M. Stilinović was a Zagreb-based artist who unfortunately passed away few months ago. He had a long history of challenging ideological atmosphere with his work, continuously working and building Exploitation of the Dead from 1984 to 1990.

I chose a detail of this work, a jar of pickles to prove everyday objects can indeed be political. These pickles have black and red stars and crosses painted on, both ideologically strong symbols for socialism.

With this work Stilinović challenges the notion of what purpose symbols have at all – when taken out of the context and put on everyday objects. They lose meaning, just like socialistic ideology faded away as Yugoslavia was falling apart. He also proposes a certain nostalgia and tradition, which today, and through the times of making of this were losing their strength.

An important part to the context of his work is his late father’s job. He was a Yugoslav diplomat, but disagreed with Yugoslav politicians, so it is no wonder Stilinović wasn’t afraid to provoke the ideology of the day.

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An Artist Who Cannot Speak English is no Artist – M. Stilinović, 1994

One of my favorite pieces by Stilinović – An Artist Who Cannot Speak English is no Artist. The question that Stilinović challenges is whether it is necessary for artists to know English to be able to join in the global art conversation and worldwide exchange.

Globalization made it easy for artists to join-in this worldwide exchange, but at the time when this piece was made, this clearly applied to countries that skipped socialism and communism and were already in mature stages of capitalism, so West Europe and North America. At the same time, in the 90’s when this piece was made, Balkan was being torn-apart by war, but it had mature art scene and great artists and ideas worthy of international market. By this piece Stilinović opened up the conversation towards Balkan and Eastern European artists.

An open letter to critics writing about political art

This piece of writing reflects on effects of political art – weather they even exist, who is the audience for this kind of work, importance of medium used and critics’ role.

The author starts of by explaining what good political art is – it’s not made about, but within. So, artists need to work within the very issue. It is important to note that political art shouldn’t be made for the very sake of making something political – but the consequences of it should be taken into the process of idea generation. This meaning, artists need to know what their work should do. It is important that the art made is changing the very way we see the world, the author explains.

Author goes on to explain that political art is created for everyone, and is not exclusive as some other kinds of art. It is also stressed that art critics should take this notion of audience’s inclusion into consideration when assessing the work.

When it comes to choosing the medium, author explains it’s an instrument to send across the message to the audience and depends on the political consideration, as well who the audience is.

Author continues by explaining how it’s important for artists to engage in popular culture – the more they integrate, the more successful their work is. This is so art wouldn’t seems so distant to the audience, but wave into.

As for art critics, author suggests they and the makers should live in symbiosis and almost lower themselves for the benefit of the audience seeing and understanding the work as more approachable. Ultimately, artists should work with the society – collectively.