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

Website -
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.
To watch the ducumentry follow this link:

Website -
Twitter -
Youtube -

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