Friday, 13 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Launch


AirSpace Gallery
Friday 13th December, 2013

"Racing around a fireball is a blob of filth on which ladies stockings are sold and Gauguins prized, truly a most deplorable business ..." Walter Serner 1918

PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS has been conceived as a collection of contemporary artists manifestos. Celebrating the somewhat foolish idea of declaring your intentions to the world with the hope of changing it...

PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS Is a tragi-comedy of baroque minimalist clownery, grandiose and Ill conceived in the extreme...

PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS Is like an over stuffed letterbox at election time and a landfill of a publication.

PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS Embraces all the half-baked ideas, dead ends and prejudiced rants that make artists manifestos wondrous artworks in themselves.

PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS Accepts the paucity of the written word and in an unbridled display of generosity has included images made in the sprit of the manifesto.

If art critics behave like naturalists trying to ascertain an artists complexity from a small sample of their droppings , then PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS is a smorgasbord of odorous delights.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 7

The last two artists to fall under the gaze of our brief intros to the contributors to PIGDGANDMNKEYFESTS Issue 2 are...Alice Walton and Lucy Harrison.

Alice Walton, "Model As You Would Carve"
Alice Walton calls her sculptural installations ‘architectural objects’. They are configured to support and re-present collections of found images. Using material such as standard cardboard, rough timber or plasterboard, the elements are simply assembled and the method of production is left clearly visible. Her work has a meticulous, aesthetic elegance underpinned by conceptual rigour: she is interested in the way that artworks are perceived and understood, this process becoming part of the presentation.

Lucy Harrison, 'Rename Southend Airport, "Lee Brilleaux Dr. Feelgood Airport"'

Lucy Harrison is an artist based in London and is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art (Print & Digital Media) at University for the Creative Arts at Canterbury (formerly KIAD).

Lucy Harrison’s practice explores how people experience and describe places. Her work is geographically rooted and often looks at sites which are in the midst of large-scale change. These projects generate a large amount of research material and rely on interaction with found matter. Historical material is often used in comparison with accounts of current visits as a way of questioning how we view and record places. Through a dialogue with these historical or current dominant narratives, Lucy Harrison builds on the urban palimpsest by finding new routes and forgotten or previously undocumented histories.
Lucy Harrison’s work investigates the subjective nature of how we experience location, as opposed to the singular perspective offered by materials such as guide books. She is interested in the construction of place; both physically and psychologically. Making connections between memory, location and architecture her work contains echoes of the Situationists’ wanderings through the urban arena.    

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 6

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 6 - Richard Paul, kennardphillips and Natalia Mali.

Richard Paul  is a former commercial photographer who also once co-ran a now-defunct art space, The Hoxton Distillery, near Brick Lane. Now, Richard Paul does not produce catalogue photographs per se. What he does is exploit their format (and possibility) for his own ends.

kennardphillips is a collaboration working since 2002 to produce art in response to the invasion of Iraq. It has evolved to confront power and war across the globe. The work is made for the street, the gallery, the web, newspapers & magazines, and to lead workshops that develop peoples’ skills and help them express their thoughts on what’s happening in the world through visual means. The work is made as a critical tool that connects to international movements for social and political change. They don’t see the work as separate to social and political movements that are confronting established political and
economic systems. They see it as part of those movements, the visual arm of protest. We want it to be used by people as a part of their own activism, not just as pictures on the wall to contemplate. To facilitate this, as well as selling our limited edition prints on the site enabling us to fund the making of the work, there is a free download page of images with a voluntary contribution to the International Solidarity Movement.

Natalia Mali is a Russian artist working in the field of film, photography, installation, collages and live art. Born in the Post Soviet Republic of Dagestan, North Caucasus. Natalia Mali studied art theory at the History Department of Moscow State University. In 1994 she moved to U.S. and between 1995 and 1999 studied film and photography at Yale’s School of Art and Architecture. In 2005-2006 she attended an MA program at the Drama Department, Goldsmiths College, University of London where she worked on her theses on Performance and Culture. Since the late ‘90s she has collaborated with D.A. Prigov, a Moscow Conceptual artist, and exhibited together under the umbrella of the PMP Group.

Mali has said: “Since I began to practice as an artist I have continually returned to certain fundamental ideas: Cultural Identity, Sexuality, Semiology, Linguistics and Feminism; in short, the position and interpretation of women and their self-perception of themselves in contemporary society both in the developed world and in expanding economies. I have tended to use photography and live art as my medium for expressing these ideas. I am fascinated by the interaction between audience and artist. This powerful tool triggers my audience to react both physically and intellectually.

The ideal performance happens as an ephemeral and authentic experience. This relationship with my audience cannot be repeated, captured or purchased; it exists only at that moment in time. The concepts of both visual arts and performing arts determine the meaning and emotional impact of the performance. Therefore both the audience and I as the performer take away an experience that is unique and, I hope, intellectually, physically and spiritually rewarding”.

For the last 10 years she has shown her work extensively in Europe, Russia and the U.S.

Mali splits her time and work between London and Moscow.

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 5

Harriet Murray, "Readymade Hypernatural Paradolia Manifestionism"

Part 5 of this look at the contributors to PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS focuses on a creative partnership of 2 artists Neil Taylor & Harriet Murray, whose studio practice extends to running an artist led gallery space, Campbell Works,  initiating and curating art projects, and undertaking a wide range of public realm interventions.

Stella Boulougari talks of their partnership practice
By developing the collaboration and curation of new ventures with artists working across a wide spectrum of disciplines, Campbell Works acts as a meeting point for ideas and aims to explore contextual relationships between art, spaces and people.

Campbell Works collaborate with artists and organizations internationally, as well as with a diverse range of professionals, commissioning bodies, the public, schools, and local authorities in the UK.

Taylor and Murray have developed a succession of new projects, installations, and exhibitions weaving a route through the commercial, experimental, and public realms.

Campbell Works can best be characterised by its openness-to artists and their ideas, to the public and to the philosophy that drives the programing. Taylor and Murray see the development of Campbell Works as an extension of their artistic practice, allowing each project to become a collaborative work-in-progress, and a way to rigourously test ideas, build networks, and showcase new commissions. Campbell Works creates an environment for experimentation and innovation, for support and discussion, where ideas and the creative process are as important as the outcome.

The curatorial projects consist largely of new work that is created through a dialogue between Murray, Taylor, and any other artists and curators involved. This creates a context for peer critique within a gallery framework and a space for creating new dialogues between the artists and their audience.

Another key element of Campbell Works growth has been to engage with new audiences though participatory art projects. Scince 2002, Taylor and Murray have initiated projects both at grass roots level and within ambitious public realm contexts. The success of recent projects underlines the value of Campbell Works approach, as an incubator for new work and for discussions around artistic practice and audience engagement.
Campbell Works 27 Belfast Road London N16 6UN / 0044(0)20 8806 0817 / /

Neil Taylor, "Poopafesto"

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 4

Part 4 of our look at the PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS artists...

Anna Francis, How To Make A Manifesto Works Instructions
ANNA FRANCIS  is an artist whose practice examines private histories, public space and civic languages; using forms of intervention, mapping, performance, consultation and photography to investigate the impact of art and culture on the development of cities.  She has exhibited widely across the UK and beyond and has project managed and designed various art platforms which provide opportunities for other artists to investigate the city as a site for exploration and development. These have included Interrogation: Walsall in 2009 (during a one month residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall) and Interrogation: West Bromwich in 2010.

Other projects see her becoming invented characters in order to test the boundaries of the city and its situations. Within this I have variously become a dating agency director, a tour guide, a market researcher and an agony aunt to investigate the city.

Emma Hart, Untitled
Emma Hart  believes there is a gap between how things are experienced and how they might look
filmed. The overwhelming real we stumble through is split from the way visual culture references it, then smoothes it all over. Life looks good in images, or if not good, far away enough for us to manage and control. The lens gives us reality in bitesize chunks which we calmly get down. Hart works with video in an attempt to change the way we consume imagery. Sculpture often provides a way to physically corrupt and 'dirty' images and forcefully squeeze more life out of them.

Hart lives and works in London and has presented solo exhibitions and performances in galleries in the UK and internationally. In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Jerwood / Film and Video Umbrella Awards. Hart was awarded a Random Acts commission for The Jarman Awards 2013, to be broadcast on Channel Four in 2014.

Abigail Lane, Untitled
Abigail Lane - Born in Penzance, Cornwall in 1967, Abigail Lane was brought up in Bristol where she went to college to do an Art foundation course. She moved to London in 1986 to take her BA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, where, in her second year, she was prominently involved in the exhibition Freeze, organised by Damien Hirst with his fellow Goldsmiths students, including Michael Landy, Sarah Lucas and Gary Hume. In retrospect, this ambitious three-part show has been seen to mark the beginning of the yBa phenomenon, of which Lane has been a key figure.
Lane and her young artist-friends quickly established a public reputation, many of their early shows being at the Karsten Schubert Gallery, off Tottenham Court Road, including solo exhibitions by Angus Fairhurst, Rachel Whiteread, Anya Gallaccio, Gary Hume and Michael Landy. Schubert offered Lane her first solo show in 1992, and she was subsequently represented by Glenn Scott Wright then later Victoria Miro Gallery. International success followed, and Lane’s work was a notable presence in Brilliant! New art from Londonin Minneapolis in 1995. “Everywhere are scattered visual clues of human activity. They construct a chilling sculptural narrative that balances on the thin line between horror and beauty.” Mark Saunders writing about Skin of the Teeth, ICA, London in 1995.

Her work wasn’t and still isn’t restricted to a particular medium, and could be described as mostly sculptural and installation based. Although, like most artists, there are recurring themes and ideas, these are executed in the medium that suits the subject best, which has resulted in works made in video, sound, wax, print, concrete, crystals, ink, text, found objects … the titles are often an integral part of the work too.

The works have been described as having a dark aspect; less often recognised is the element of humour that lies under the surface in many cases. “I would like to think,” Lane has recently written, “that whilst the works are looking their observer in the eye they also make a wink at the person standing in the second row.”

Monday, 9 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 3

PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS Issue 2 is an eclectic mix of artists and their approaches to manifestos - exemplified by today's three spotlighted artists.

Oona Grimes, Hieroglyphic manifesto
Oona Grimes  is a compulsive draw-er, scribbler and storyteller. Working with books and multiples, etching and mixed media, she embraces redundant print processes; salvaging and recycling last of stock, discarded and obsolete materials.

Narratives gleaned from such diverse lives as William Bligh, Mary Bell, John Dee and Fred West are mapped and served up as cocktail-shaken distillations of individual and collective memory. Recent plunderings include a fictitious correspondence between Edith Sitwell & Bob Cobbing : ‘Edith Mixes Concrete’ & responses to Swedenborg’s dream & spiritual diaries : ‘mashed swede’.

She has previously collaborated with writers & poets, most recently Iain Sinclair, Leslie Forbes & Fabian Peake.

Oona Grimes is currently Visiting Lecturer at Ruskin School of Fine Art – Oxford University, University of the Arts and R.C.A.source:

Leslie Deere is originally from Tennessee, now London based. Her background is in the performing arts as a classically trained dancer, with a BA Honours degree in Sonic Art and hold a Masters Degree in Communication Art & Design from the Royal College of Art.

Working across several media her work focuses on representations of the minuscule – of small worlds within the larger realm that we inhabit. Deers is particularly interested in the choices we make and the motivations behind those decisions. She examines the comparisons and contrasts of different places, people and situations within an overall social context, while zooming in on different slices of life.

Arnaud Desjardin, Untitled

Arnaud Desjardin is a publisher, book dealer, artist and writer, Arnaud Desjardin runs The Everyday Press, an imprint for artist’s publications. 

Working in collaboration with other artists, curators and writers he facilitates the materialization and dissemination of books, pamphlets and other printed matter. He recently published a rambling reference book on books and reference material about artist’s books released since the early 1970s: The Book on Books on Artists Books. Originally trained in sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux Art in Paris in the early 1990s, Arnaud Desjardin moved to London in 1995 where he has been based ever since.

Recent exhibition include: “The Book on Books on Artists Books” a Bloomberg Commission in the summer of 2011 and a solo Project at Focal Point Gallery in Southend, “Please Do Not place Drinks on Vitrines Or Books”.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists Part 2

Part 2 of our look at the contributing artists in PIGDOGANDMONKEYFESTOS Issue 2 focuses on Peter Lamb, Emma Holmes and Plastique Fantastique.

Peter Lamb, ('Studio Floor')
Peter Lamb was born in 1973 and lives and works in London. In 1996 he graduated from the Camberwell School of Art, London.

Peter Lamb looks like a nice guy, painting's Jamie Oliver perhaps. In his paintings, collages, and photos, he unleashes mighty visual forces of weirdness, chaos, and desire. - 
Jasper Joffe.

Peter Lamb’s paintings promote inscrutability about meaning with concentrations of strokes, shapes and textures. Gestures are his own and, conceivably, other people’s; authorship cannot be vouched for throughout an expanse of painting. Some elements are clearly not actual, physical registrations (and, therefore, marks of authenticity) but marks that have been photographed, with the photograph then worked upon by being overlaid with new matter. What is more, the photograph reproduces shapes that could fall outside the general ambit of aesthetic consideration.

Emma Holmes  publishes SCHIZM Magazine in the style of zine - Every issue has a different theme and artists are invited to contribute in response to this.

Emma Holmes, 'La Siesta', found image stolen from the floor of a bookshop in Mexico City, 2003

Plastique Fantastique, '99th Plastique Fantastique Communique - What are PIMPZ? What are HOOKERZ?'
Plastique Fantastique -  a collaboration between David Burrows and Simon O’Sullivan (sometimes with others), is a mythopoetic fiction - an investigation of aesthetics, the sacred, popular culture and politics - produced through comics, performances,text, installations and shrines and assemblages.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

pigdogandmonkeyfestos | Issue 2 | The Artists

In advance of the launch of pigdogandmonkeyfestos Issue 2 - Shaun Doyle & Mally Mallinson's second collection of contemporary artists' manifestos and works inspired by the manifesto format - here at AirSpace Gallery on Friday 13th December, 2013, we are presenting a short series of blogposts highlighting the artists presented in the Zine.

First up is Billy Childish and Harry Adams

Original ART HATE Field Sheets - Handbill Propaganda Series. First Issued by Dr. Albirt Umber, Flanders 1917. Re-issued by the ART HATE ARCHIVE September 2010.
Redesign by Billy Childish and Harry Adams courtesy of the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop of Clerkenwell.

Billy Childish  was born in Chatham, Kent in 1959. After leaving secondary school at age 16, he worked at the Naval Dockyard in Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. Initially denied an interview to the local art school, during six months of employment at the dockyard he produced hundreds of drawings that gained him entry to St. Martin's School of Art. Childish's defiance to authority and his insistence on integrity and personal style above the formalities of educational requirement led to his eventual expulsion from art school in 1981. Childish then embarked on an artistic, literary, and musical odyssey exploring a broad range of worldly themes including war, history, social protest, art hate, religious philosophy, as well his own experiences of alcoholism, and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Over 35 years of continual creative activity Childish has gained a cult status world-wide; writing and publishing over 40 volumes of confessional poetry, 5 novels, recorded over 100 LPs, and painted several hundreds painting.
Billy Childish has had solo and group exhibitions internationally including New York, London, and Berlin. He was included in British Art Show 5, which toured throughout four cities - Edinburgh, Southampton, Cardiff, and Birmingham. In 2010, he was the subject of major concurrent survey exhibitions at the ICA in London and White Columns in New York  

Harry Adams is the name of the artistic partnership between Steven Lowe and Adam Wood. Although the two artists have collaborated together closely since meeting at art school in 1988, where they studied painting, they only chose the presentational construct of Harry Adams in 2008. Despite their training as painters, their early collaborative projects were loud musical ones, since when they have engaged in many diverse activities including painting, drawing, film, performance, printmaking, photography, digital montage and poster design (especially the Art Hate project, in collaboration with Billy Childish), artists' books, publishing (poetry, novels, polemics), web projects, running galleries and curating. Their most notable musical project was STOT21stCplanB, whose accompanying videos and other related artworks reveal a strong visual sensibility. It is a long, hardworking partnership.
These assertions and appropriations, being brought to a great temperature in the furnace of the L-13 imagination, have sometimes generated incandescent light, and sometimes the fiery conflagrations and burn marks of destruction. Many shows, publications, events and performances have been made working in this way, the results of which will undoubtedly confuse future cataloguers and commentators hoping to make forensic sense of them - especially, perhaps, because of their often mysteriously unresolved endings. This interest in the nature of creation and creativity's relationship with the energies of destruction, and in both resolute and irresolute endings, has been a shared constant at L-13, and is now also seen in the paintings of Harry Adams.
As committed collaborators at art college, Steve Lowe and Adam Wood had wanted to be assessed for their degrees on the basis of a joint show, a performance they had both devised. But they were not allowed to do this, and had to give two separate performances, under their own individual names, for separate assessment. Although the performances were effectively the same, one artist was passed, the other was failed. This occasion was an important moment for them, making ideas of success and failure seem redundant, and has since played a defining role in their outlook. It has led to an indifference to - or defiance of - the received ideas that seek to determine whether an artist is doing well or badly - a position that is consistent with their theme of creative non-finality as opposed to a career identity.
Ideas of creation and destruction are central to the paintings, with whose themes we are familiar from our experience of the heavens and the utopias, the hells and apocalypses, of mythico-religious art from all times and all places. Within Harry Adams's paintings there is belief and disbelief, beauty and ugliness, order and disorder, dirt and cleanliness, and ecstasy and dysphoria. He summons and combines these polarities as dualities or paradoxes of discord and unity, and then evades tidy meanings, or deliberately misplaces conclusion. Saints are made grubby and grubby things are made beautiful, and ideals of love and beauty and holiness are recombined. He disrupts the perfectionism or absolutism of paintings by other artists, while ensuring that his interpretations are also homages to that absolutism or perfectionism. Huge architectural monoliths are depicted, whose important survival or cultural functions, as repositories, have their already complex meanings disrupted in further ambiguities of moral scale. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Small Change - The DIY Common : revealing the potential behind the actual

The DIY Common : revealing the potential behind the actual

The DIY Common is a project developed by public works in Cheetham Hill, North Manchester. The project injects new life, both natural and social, in Cheetham park (commonly known as Elizabeth Street Park).
Dye Garden
It adds to it a dye and herb garden, as well as a temporary café. The residents of the area can meet in the café and participate in a number of workshops around planting, cooking, foraging, making natural dyes… The products of these activities are served in the café.

Introducing shared ways of interacting both with the park and between the members of the community, the DIY Common opens up new possibilities for both. This joint effort between public works and residents aims to transform the park into a productive landscape, activating its potential as a natural resource. At the same time, exploring the possibilities of creating a new type of common, and in a real DIY spirit, the project seeks to democratize and engage people in the process of using the park and ultimately run the café on their own.

Temporary Cafe

Commissioned by Buddleia, an agency that was set up in 2010 by independent curator Kerenza McClarnan, aiming to develop a culture of ‘socially engaged art practice within North Manchester.

The temporary café structure is on view at AirSpace Gallery until the 7th of December. 

Sevie Tsampalla does a Q&A with Torange Khonsari from public works about the project.
ST: What made you choose this way of intervening in the park, i.e. creating a temporary café and a dye garden? How do you approach the local community and what kind of challenges are there in the process of working with people?

TK: I am really interested in finding out how one can over time establish commitment of long term engagement with communities. I believe this takes a very long time and for it to be successful you need to STAY in a place. For me the platform to establish such commitment over time is Hosting and hospitality. I like to host people to get involved in very basic activities and through the informal act of making or doing social relations form. What I enjoy with the park is that activities that have their basis on the land and what is produced by nature and land have been part of human history for thousands of years all around the world. E.g making dyes from flowers, cooking, willow weaving, making earth ware etc. This not only means that people can relate to it as it is familiar and has been part of human history but also every ethnicity can relate to it. Every part of the world have similar traditions when it comes to production that comes from the land but of course the techniques or aesthetics or particular food etc maybe different but in essence they are the same. 

ST: Your DIY café made me think of what Nabeel Hamdi says about design combined with emergence. I am paraphrasing: ‘A designed structure which leaves room for something to emerge’. In your case, the physical structure of the café and the community around the park or the strengthening of the existing community. Secondly, in the book Small Change, practice is often about acting spontaneously, improvising and building in small increments. Do you see an affinity with the way you work? How much room do you leave for spontaneous or improvised solutions? 

TK: Everything I do is spontaneous and improvised, as this is the only way you can deal with social projects. They never go as you plan them. It is not about what you as an artist expect; and that element of surprise is very strong and allows very innovative projects to develop. However, having said that, you have to have a clear program or project to which people can react to. I find engagement is never successful and becomes more dis-empowering, when you are too open or too flexible. It is good to have a structure/program and then allow people to subvert it or disrupt it. 

ST: What are the objectives for the DIY common in the near future? What kind of change do you want to see in the area? 

TK: DIY Common will continue for the next year or so and we see where it spills into and how it develops taking the ideas of productive landscape that can support community activities and social clubs. We at public works are mainly doing long term projects now. DIY common is part of my PHD and in partnership with Buddleia and Kerenza McClarnan we will push it as a project, I hope. It may move to other sites in Cheetham Hill, but the project will continue.

To find out more, visit:

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Small Change - 'They forced us out of here: Walking the routes of the displaced'

Continuing the previous entry, you can read here more about Network Nomadic Architecture's walking action 'They forced us out of here: Walking the routes of the displaced' which took place in Athens, in June 2013. The video of the action is currently on show as part of Small Change, at AirSpace Gallery until the 7th of December.

Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Cartografie

NomadikiArchitektoniki (Nomadic Architecture Network):

consist of: 
Eleni Tzirtzilaki, Christina Thomopoulou, Aggeliki Vakali,  Sofia Grigoriadou, Kostas Plessas , Hristina Thomopoulou, Passtrespass , Panagiotis Andronikidis, Aggelos Skourtis, Lin Edmonds, Eleni Tzirtzilaki, lLana Giannakou, Patricio Villareal ,Stefanos Handelis ka.

Along the lines of a situationist approach of engaging with the city, Network Nomadic Architecture's walks blur the boundaries between art and life and open up spaces to engage with the city in different and creative ways. 

Ephemeral communities and shared urban experiences emerge, as dwellers encounter and join the walks along the way.  

The streets where this particular action was held constitute the old core of the city and host a.o. small shops by migrants or their informal gatherings and activities. The area has known an increase in the presence of police forces, as large-scale occupations and hunger strikes had taken place by those seeking legalisation and a temporary 'home' (for example, the Athens appeals court was occupied by 500 people) and whole groups have been arrested and sent to camps. 

Interrupting the narrative of displacement happening in the centre of Athens, these walking actions, where poems are recited, flowers are given to passers-by,  exchange of goods and stories happens, say that the city belongs to all its users.

They forced us out.Walking the road of displacement. Walking action.

Operation 'Xenios Zeus', aka forcing immigrants out of Athens and into camps, was launched in August 2012 when the city seemed to have been all but abandoned. But it was not just the immigrant population that was being swept away: HIV positive women had come before them, prostitutes, and drug users, the homeless, and street vendors who are still the focus of a crackdown...
So the city's streets and squares have been cleared and public space has been immersed in fear.
New projects are being launched by OLIAROS in collaboration with the City of Athens, such as 'Rethink Athens' and 'Re-Map Metaxourgio', building up to the gentrification of parts of the city and the continued displacements this implies.
But such projects probe deep into the skin/ground of the city.
The children of the Others will not be allowed to sit their exams this year since their parents have no residence permit and are unemployed. These children are denied their right to an education; school is yet another place from which they are banished.
This just adds to the sad list of things happening in Athens, like the attacks on migrants by members of the ultra right Chrysi Avgi.
We invite you to join us on a silent walk across the center of the city, starting from the site of the free self-organized theater Embros and finishing in Exarcheia (at the Social Center on Tsamadou St.  where a discussion will follow). Let us share stories, exchange poems and songs, insist that the city belongs to all its inhabitants with no exceptions made, no exclusions allowed, and that every man and woman has rights.

Saturday, June 1, 2013, 17:00, 'Embros' Free Self-organized Theater- Menandrou street  

Itinerary: Riga Palamidi and Sarri St. - Menandrou St. - Theater Square – Aghiou Konstantinou St. - Omonia Square – Patission St. - Stournari St. - Exarcheia Square – Social Center (Network for the Support of Immigrants and Refugees – 13, Tsamadou St., discussion).  

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Small Change - An Occupation as a Small Beginning

In the first of a series of posts exploring themes around Small Change, exhibition curator Sevie Tsampalla gives us some valuable insight in to a very relevant case study.


An Occupation as a Small Beginning

How an Autonomous Space Re-builds the Sense of Community in Athens

Network Nomadic Architecture is one of the collectives participating in the exhibition small change. Together with other groups of artists and residents they have re-activated Embros, a historical theatre building in Athens, which was desolate and left empty for five years by the Greek Ministry of Culture.

The walking action by Network Nomadic Architecture on show at AirSpace gallery starts from Embros and follows the difficult journey of displaced people to find their way to the city. In Athens, immigrants and other vulnerable groups (drug users, homeless, prostitutes) are being chased as individuals or groups out of the city centre, whenever certain areas are being gentrified or 'polished' on the occasion of important events.

Since it came under collective occupation, in 2011, the theatre has hosted numerous performances and events, which are offered for free to the general public. Functioning not only as a cultural hub, but also as a self-organised space, Embros is run by a weekly assembly, open to all those who believe that the theatre should remain in public hands.

The building dates from the 1930's and was once the base of a printing press company. It is a listed monument, owned by the state. As the privatisation of national properties has gained ground due to the financial crisis, the state is planning to rent the theatre for unknown private uses. The privatisation agency has recently padlocked the building, while the police arrested two actors who were rehearsing in it on October 30 2013.

Psirri, the area where the theatre is situated saw a transformation in its economy in recent decades, when the small industries and arts and crafts workshops were replaced by a monopoly of restaurants and bars. But today, Psirri is not so 'fresh' and the entertainment business has moved its focus
to other areas in Athens, leading to a further decline of the area.

Embros is a strong voice of community-building against developer-led gentrification and cultural commercialisation in the area. The re-activation of the theatre is a suggestion for Embros as a “common good” in Athens, as Eleni Tzirtzilaki, architect from Network Nomadic Architecture argues. A place of exchange, free circulation of ideas and collaborative practices. A place accessible to everyone. At Embros, a network of multiple communities is woven together: a community of interest, as residents bond through the theatre and get to have a say in the decision-making around the collective heritage of their neighbourhood; a community of practice, as artists of diverse disciplines explore ways of
co-producing art; and a community of resistance that acts for a placemaking that is inclusive.

Small Change -the book- is about a bottom-up way of thinking about the city. Forming communities and making the city together starts with small efforts. small change -the exhibition- looks at what art and collective action do to change things around us.

To support Embros, you can sign this online petition:

For more visit:

Friday, 8 November 2013

'Small Change' Introduces Plus-tôt Te laat and Spectacle by Zo Maltby-Baker

In the final instalment of her introductions to the Small Change artists, Zo Maltby-Baker highlights the works of Plus-tôt Te laat and Spectacle.

Plus-tôt Te laat 

The diverse and non-hierarchical collective from Brussels, founded in an unemployment office in 1998,  initially focused on the politics of institutional neglect of artists in financial need, the group expanded its collaborative approaches to address social and urban urgencies in Brussels through video, text and posters. 

Can the state serve as a model?

"When, in 1988, everyone who was redundant in the borough of Sint-Joost in Brussels was handed a form warmly inviting jobseekers to make their contribution towards brightening up their employment office, we felt that as far as we were concerned, the sooner the whole system of signing on was ditched, the better. We were not impressed by this attempt to make this extremely humiliating form of social control more bearable by way of holding an exhibition.
There was something wrong with the official invitation: a number of artists had appeared in the newspaper because they were at odds with an important aspect of the regulations on acceptable activities during periods of unemployment (*). At the time, engaging in art activities as an unemployed person was permissible only in relation to family, or … between eight o’clock at night and six o’clock in the morning. Any activity not associated with seeking employment or which hampered your availability on the job market, was in contravention of the law. It gave politicians and administrative authorities a fine weapon with which to cut off an unemployed person’s entitlement to benefits. Perhaps they simply didn’t care. In any case, if you were unemployed and enjoyed being creative, you were only allowed to be so between eight o’clock in the evening … etc. Enrolling in art classes at night school was also something you kept to yourself. Hyperactive inspectors (O.I.) would keep tabs on whether the lights in your work room were turned on and cut out articles on your exhibition from the newspaper. It helped to upgrade their personal suspension records (**). This was a fine damper on your right to freedom of expression. If you were redundant, you joined the underground resistance movement before you knew it. In the meantime, nobody realised that artists, like other people who were unemployed, acquired a benefit at the end of their scholarship, or after having been a wage earner for two years." 
For the commpleate introduction statement for Plus-tôt Te laat website follow this link

The Window with another view: 2005


Almost all the images we see in public places are linked to commercial messages. Posters PTTL represent the opposite: they are artistic expressions made public. We can therefore speak of "social advertising".
Pasting "opinions" on the walls of the city, posters PTTL into political posters, an "advertisement" containing a social and human message first. Commercial and ideological language is thus deconstructed in a humorous way. The viewer is in fact not a customer.
We can read these messages being quite "comfortable in civilization."
The posters displayed by PTTL are all painted on paper painting which has the effect of returning us to the "inside". By posting in the streets, these images crééent contradictions that operate in a "alienante" (translation of the German term "Vehrfremdung").
The simplicity of the formal language suggests the children's drawings. Thus the distance between the artist and the viewer is reduced to a minimum. The diversity of languages ​​drawn and painted, and the selected media, make these posters become personal opinions to the public. A reaction to "Advertising upholstering."
"The door of the office, she is mine" is a phrase sung by PITCHO rapper Brussels. The have been written on painted for us the beginning of the organization of resonances resistant system. "Paper I've seen kids or teens who, while walking, let slip their fingers on the wall and tear it carelessly which appears on their path. Vandalism or capture the joy and pleasure of touching ... " (Manu Head)

Advertising is temporary, the destruction of posters can be seen as a form of "participation unconscious"

Marc Schepers and Leen Derks
This text first appeared in the exhibition posters PTTL in ruimte MORGUEN
Waalse kaai 21-22.2000 Antwerpen 
"Lekker thuis in the beschaving." 
3 February -19 March 2005.
In parallel to the presentation in Ruimte Morguen, some posters were visible in PTTL blocks of social housing "Europark", and the service center "Ter Welen" Rue Ernest Claesstraat, Antwerp Left Bank.
(Text translated by Axel Claes and Emmanuel Head)

Interventions at the unemployement office of St-Joost-ten Noode

1998-2000: overvloedstraat 19
2000-2005: middaglijnstraat 23

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Links to artist and Collectives who have been involved with Plus-tôt Te laat -


Spectacle is an independent television production company specialising in documentary, community-led investigative journalism and participatory media. Spectacle programmes have been broadcast across Europe, Australia and Canada and have won international awards. Spectacle also distributes independent video tapes, provides facilities to independent producers and training workshops on media studies, production and community based media.

Spectacle's blog on urbanism, human rights and social justice.

This is a blog that I have come across before and found incredible informative. I recommend having a look at the continuing blog about Battersea Power 

The misleading power of PR

Impact -- Making a difference to our environment. Commissioned Films by Spectacle Documentaries 



A film made by London's Climate Change Youth Ambassadors. This exciting environmental volunteering programme supports 16 - 25 year olds to communicate their climate change and environmental concerns to their local communities. This is achieved through local events, multimedia, music, arts, and intergenerational projects. Groundwork London engages the volunteers to take part in workshops, inspirational visits and knowledge building activities to learn more about climate change and sustainable living. Commissioned film by Spectacle Documentaries.
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