Owning our own

Well the new data rules have successfully flushed out all the mailing lists I willfully granted may email address to over the years, flooding my inbox in the short term, promising me a more serene future… although I have no legal know-how to chase down the inevitable exemptees from distant lands… my favourite notification came from the fabulous folk at Who Gives a Crap loo roll (check them out, they are cheap and plastic-free, support excellent charity work, and are amusing)

The email took ages to load so I thought it looked like this:

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 08.38.59

I thought ah, brilliant, they are so right-on that they dont need to update their policy, they already do all the right things.

Then when I checked back, it was indeed a data use update, but included this pic, so all good.


I’m enjoying the reactions I’m hearing about the new opt-in rules. Hardly anyone seems to appreciate what I see as a pivotal moment when organisations (including yours truly, a humble artist just trying to invite you to things) have to be transparent about the fact that they hold our data on file. Today it’s worth noting that most of the websites I use on a daily basis (social media) are based on a genius business model : make a platform, then have the users spend their time populating it for us, then gather lots of useful facts (data) about them which have a market value. Bingo. We do their job for them and are grateful for the oportunity. Yes they provide us with a service, we get to write random tomes and share our interesting pics to friends out in the ether, but it’s worth reclaiming your own value in the process. They need us more than we need them.

Just a thought. Happy long weekend. May the sun shine on us all.

Thank you for reading btw. Here is an invite to the next oportunity to see my work, from the 6th June at St Johns in Waterloo, part of a show with The London Group & Friends at the Waterloo Festival this year: Nothing Endures but Change.


Atelier Berlin @WYE




Working from old postcards and a German decimal weights and measures brass can. It’s taken me nearly 5 days to ‘arrive’ here. Not used to so much space to think. Good to know for next time, wonder if there is a way to prepare for unplugging like this. The residency in Joya was quieter in some ways but still relatively structured. Being autonomous here is great, it just took a long time to remember what it feels like. Almost child-like with all this thinking space.

TEN BILL10N: ” we’re all ‘doomed’ “

Royal Court Theatre


A sobering slap in the face at the Royal Court Theatre with Stephen Emmott. As a scientist with a diverse authority on pretty much every scientific concern examine the state of our planet today. (might be slight over exaggeration but the non-scientist in me understood the scope of his overview). This performance was basically a scripted lecture similar to those I see at University. The difference is of course that it is at a theatre, to a fee-paying audience, repeated for the run of the show (all sold out), and presented in a more intimate setting. The replica of Professor Emmott’s lab office reinforced the paradox between the knowing and the sharing of information. As all attendees had voted with their money for this presentation, and none walked out, we can assume that everyone was interested and listened. Being in a mixed audience, rather than an audience made up of UAL students was also different, as I could no longer assume to know the general take my fellow members might have on the evening.

This was basically the cold, hard truth of what the current state of the planet means for us humans. Facts, straight from the horses’ mouth. Pretty bleak predictions, stark suggestions of actions possible, despairing assessment of likelihood of taking action, and a final bit of advice to ‘teach your son to use a gun’ left a bad taste in the mouth. This was absolutely the point. Professor Emmott gave this example (I paraphrase):

If an asteroid was predicted to hit the earth at a set date, the world would leap into action, half the resources being directed at trying to avert the catastrophe, half directed at working out how anyone could survive after the event. The presence of the human race on the planet IS an asteroid, we just don’t have the date yet, so no urgency is being felt by any of us to take action.

The examples of fossil fuels makes most sense to me “Using fossil fuels is essentially re-releasing 100billion year old sunlight into our world. We are turning it back into the dinosaur world, and humans will go the same way as they did”. This is frightening news for the future of humans, but part of me wonders if the world would really mind if we did disappear. Probably not. So the issue here is of fear of pain and suffering, and the pain and suffering of our children, which, as humans, we are pretty rubbish at imagining powerfully enough to spur us into action.

I suppose that to me he was preaching to the converted, but I’d like to think that some of the others in the room with us last night heard what he was saying, and I am heartened that the whole run is sold out. The conversation has to start somewhere, everywhere. Organisations like Cape Farewell have been working on starting this conversation in the context of the arts. Hopefully Professor Emmott will now be starting this conversation to an even wider audience.

Extract of talk by Mark Fisher

Being stressed at work results from no longer having union stewards to go to or anyone to ask for support. We are now soley responsible for it ourselves, and therapy or medication takes the role.
Personally I find these theories of lack of support, continuous workplace and constant expectations of improvement and developing being related to mental ill-health extremely interesting.
There is a common dismissive notion that depression is a modern phenomenon, literally in our minds. Accepting it as such, but integrating current knowledge of predisposition towards mental ill health and trigger situations such as a side-effect of capitalism seems brilliant to me.
It means that just as increased incidence lung cancer is as a result of smoking, or road accidents are a result of the car, or indeed burns are a result of the harnessing of fire, we accept that living with capitalism can be bad for our health too.

Material thinking

Paul Carters’ writing regarding the 4th dimension of artworks seems to me to have managed, ironically, to have used words to disuse the ‘plasticity’ of the place an artwork inhabits beyond literal referencing and analysis. This mindful approach to being with an artwork in the space it inhabits simultaneously allows it to transport you beyond explanation and justification.