May 19, 2009

Ah, the elusive eighty fifth post. The final show is all sketched out on the back of an envelope. I think it will be all right. It will contain some new work; some stuff from the last two years and a crucial part of the exhibition will be to encourage the public to take part, to respond directly on some aspects. This isn’t the neatly packaged summary or the beautifully framed show that you can buy. I’m not even sure it will be an indication of what you can expect from this bright young thing as he finally enters the real art world proper, post education. It is for me, for now.

It is an ending. I never really considered if there was going to be an ‘after’. I have an art career, if you can call it that. A lot of the time, the MA has seemed almost incidental. It is becoming clear to me that this is it, the final part of a something. When I think of the months ahead beyond July, I feel a twinge of joy at some imagined liberation. No one will be watching. No expectation. I know I will continue with PEEP!, the gallery aspect. I might even make more zines. I will paint. I will write. I am trying to get a joint writing project started now, before the end.

There is the temptation to do very little for a while. I don’t really know what ‘time off’ is but the school summer break might be a good excuse to potter and dabble, ready for a relaunch in the autumn. By then, the gallery project in Halifax will be over. I have a solo exhibition pencilled in at a local venue for November which is supposed to be a new body of painted work; nothing too exciting really, not in terms of anyone noticing. The work might be interesting. I might even suck arts council cock and go against all the previous ranting about funding in order to expand the PEEP! empire, with the sole purpose of being talked about in the Guardian or reviewed on the a-n website. I know; I aim high.

The most likely scenario is that I will retreat to my studio and write a bit, paint a bit and be happy with that. I find it hard to see art in any career terms or know what a logical art move might be for an unsure purpose. I do this to make stuff, for that moment. Not a very brilliant mission statement. I am therefore I do.

At the end of June, the studio is hosting some Israeli artists. Some of the studio members will be working with them on a joint project for two weeks, ending with an exhibition of the work. I am involved, not normally something I would be interested in; I’m not interesting enough, I make silly drawings. And I don’t do social events. And I don’t do well meaning art projects that have little to do with my idea of what art is, thinly disguised with stock phrases and mock platitudes concerning the purpose of this international exchange. As it is, I have been fortunate to be matched up with someone who is intelligent and perceptive enough to be able to smell the bullshit too. We have a lot of common ground, it’ll be fun. So, I am really looking forward to the two weeks, the experience more important and potentially more satisfying than the end result. Ah, it’ll look good on the CV. The CV that no one reads.

You have to try new things and challenge your own preconceptions; you have to grow and develop, be open to the new. It could have been a very dull project with a different ‘partner’ but already, before any work has been done, this interaction with an artist from another culture, with this particular artist, has proved to be rewarding, invigorating really. For the moment, this is all I will say about this project but I sense a beginning of something and the timing, right at the end of the MA, is fortuitous but significant. I know this.

I wanted to do an audio recording for the final show. PEEP! stand up. I can make it in time, I think. Whether I should, whether it is just padding, I need to consider. I am sitting on this material for a different project. I don’t think I need it for the final show. I’d like to include it but then again, I’d like more space; I have a kitchen sink that I could throw in.

I had a good tutorial today. That is all I have to say about that.   

I’m sorry this isn’t an exciting entry.

795 words



May 14, 2009

The full symposium text

PEEP! is a project with one mission: change. We need change. We have to change or perish. We have no divine right to exist. We are nothing but sophisticated bacteria.

PEEP! can make a difference; it is an evolutionary and continuous process of questioning. We aim to encourage the people of the world to come together, united in opposition to the current system of governance that perpetuates the oppression of the people, by the people, for the benefit of a few people. Life does not have to be shit. 

PEEP! does not have all the answers. We think that creating a dialogue and fostering the desire for a new way is more important than imposing a doctrine from above. This should be a fun process! We have to laugh in the face of adversity, a much better plan than keeping up the pretense that all will be well in the end; that science will mysteriously provide the answer. You’d be better off trusting in God.

PEEP! is an attempt at offering solutions. We have to reevaluate what is important. Making money isn’t. A tiny minority benefit from that scheme. Most people struggle to enjoy the rewards of their labour. By the time you own the house, you’re practically dead. Just about managing every month, peppered with the occasional ‘treat’ isn’t living; it is existing; stuck in the same cycle. Let art into your life!

Art has been significant since the beginning of humankind. We need to claim it back from the artificial system we live in. Art can heal the world. We live in a world saturated with visual material; we need to infiltrate this culture to begin to make a difference.

PEEP! has one aim; to make the world come together, united in opposition to the many evils that oppress the masses. The masses being most of us. Many of us are poor, even those who are fortunate enough to live in the prosperous West. In the West we have a good education system and healthcare for all, generally. We are able to eat and have shelter. And we have television. We have the light in the corner of the room that offers the truth. The truth that we have it quite good and we should be grateful for that. We haven’t been murdered, raped and we don’t have to queue for handouts. We don’t have horrible diseases that make our children die at a pathetically young age and when we do have some nasty threat, it is usually short lived and perfectly balanced by post-traumatic care and compensation. Money heals. Time only adds an extra nought to the claim.

People die and people are born. People kill, are killed and wish to kill. Fuck everybody else. There is no society. The world is full of whinging scruffy cunts who add nothing to the gene pool. You are a walking inconvenience who has to be managed and herded for three score and ten by a world government that is trying to find a lasting final solution that we won’t notice. We are at a tipping point in history. If we continue along the current path, we are fucked. The next generation will be even more subservient. Fatter, thicker and even less interested in humanity, let alone the people next door. Shut off, occupied; entertained. Ignorant of the truth. The news will be nothing other than a fake reality show, even more so than it currently is.

Culture; manufactured consumer trends with built in obsolescence. Sponsored by the multi-nationals, funded by the government; state approved art. At the top level, hand in hand with private finance, banking and wealthy businessmen and at the bottom the continuous struggle to make work and retain the belief that you have something of value to offer, not monitory value; meaning. Hoping for some recognition without crossing the line where you sell your soul for a quick fix. The system is designed so that you have to belong to be of value. Well, turn away from the corporate whores and the money men. Join the paupers. Revel in poverty. Make your work and make it seen.

Disclaimer: None or all of the views expressed in this piece are necessarily those of the author, nor any of the author’s imaginary associates.

700 words


May 14, 2009

I am waiting to see what space I will have at the final show. I was hoping for a room but now I think I’d be just as happy with a long wall space, possibly happier as the rooms in the basement seem….crowded with wires and other weird objects. Stuff they need to function, I know this. I’m not being fussy or moaning; really, I can work with anything. Yes, there are ‘perfect’ spaces; smooth walls, brilliant proportion and so on, good light but I do wonder why such an institution can’t provide a dedicated, semi-professional space for the use of students. It would be better, even if the ‘gallery’ was off-sight and shared with the other partners of the ULA. Perhaps they already have good spaces.

I have a room

So the challenge is to make work to go in a room I have never seen, properly. Time seems to be running out before I have started. I know what I want to do. It will be a PEEP! gallery presenting the recent work of Bob Milner. The website will hopefully expand on the whole PEEP! thing. I need some audience participation in the show. I’m not sure if I can be there to act as ringmaster. Even if I make it down, I’d only stand in a corner frowning and slowly getting pissed.

I have a desire to make better work

I am a little tired of the process I am used to. I make work made to measure. I want this MA to be over with so that I can concentrate on making work that is self indulgent and my personal gift to posterity. I don’t care if I sound an arse, perhaps I am an arse.

Time and again I tell myself, I am a tuna fish.

I want to play and explore and create some painted surfaces that I feel I need to do, get out of my system and so on blah blah. I think I have wrote of all this shit before but ever the one for repetition, I will say it again. I need to paint. I need to make the kind of work I want to. I do like the silly drawings, the written prose that is a bit rantish, the piss take work. I do like it. It is a part of me. I don’t ever allow the other, more painterly, more studied, more thoughtful, sensitive side out. I should, I need to be more in touch with the effete, the cultured. Fuck it. Why not?

I’m writing the jingles not composing the symphony.

I’m doing articles for Reader’s Digest not writing the Great Novel.

I’m pigging out on crisps rather than eating a meal.

I’m googling rather than reading.

I’m paddling rather than swimming.

I’m wanking rather than making love.

I’m carrying on with this inane list rather than accepting that the one person who reads this shite has got it already. I need to move on. Oh, never has such a passing thought carried so much symbolic emphasis. If only you knew, dear reader.

Yeah, so. Yeah. PEEP! In a room. Some work.

Extract from the symposium text that I left out

“We tend to think that the visual arts are in a healthy way. Twenty thousand art students are ejaculated each year from the fecund bell end of higher education. Most of them wither and die in the fallopian tubes of paid work. A few push on, determined. Once in a while and not very often, one lucky sperm makes it and an art star is born. And that is if you are lucky, if you even end up in the correct orifice. Those that work in advertising and marketing are clearly the product of anal sex, destined to end up as a flaky crust in the undergarments of posterity.”

 645 words