Haunting new stuff was shown at a press launch yesterday at the Sant’Antonin church in Venice, depicting Al Wei Wei’s time of incarceration, using hyper-realist models of himself and his captors. The notorious activist artist’s latest work is comprised of six parts: (i) S upper, (ii) A ccusers, (iii) C leansing, (iv) R itual, (v) E ntropy (vi) D oubt.
Category Archives: Art
As we write radical artist Mark MacGowan (aka Artist Taxi Driver) is pushing a pig with his nose from Kings Hospital, Camberwell to Downing Street, to express his disgust at the government flogging off parts of our NHS. He says on blog where’s daddy’d pig, “Without a mandate, having concealed their health policy, this Government is giving away NHS contracts to the highest bidder. The tendering of NHS services to private companies is a despicable act. Under the cloak of austerity the primary purpose of this government is to move public money into private pockets, as fast as humanly possible, they are like pigs at the trough of public money. “They” are the ones that are fleecing the public purse, “they are the least amongst us”.
Mark told La Bouche in an interview back in 2009 that he has no problem doing long distance crawls. “I’m really good at crawling. I can do about five miles a day. To me it’s like jogging” he revealed.
Mark MacGowan is well known for his mad art stunts or ‘comments’ as he likes to put it, on current affairs. Some of these have most famously included pushing a monkey nut across town with his nose to protest against student top up fees, leaving a tap running for a year and kicking a crack head around town to highlight their rights. In the last couple of years he has become a YouTube sensation for his wild rants about the Tories.
Get to Downing Street for 6pm to see Mark deliver his pig to number 10.
We don’t really do book reviews, in fact, I don’t think we’ve EVER done one. However, when we heard about ‘The Eccentropedia’ we immediately took to the blog to enthuse about such a prospect.
“Isn’t this fabulous?” We raved. “Don’t you just need to have it? The author [Chris Mikul) has long been banging up zines about the most unusual people that ever lived, and now here it is binded into one big book, thanks to unpopular culture gurus Headpress. We just hope we get an invite to the launch party as there’s absolutely nothing we love more than a room full of eccentrics.”
Anyway, a couple of months later and still no party invite but we did hear the thud of our review copy (yay) and ever since we have been hooked on reading more and more about the world’s weird and wonderfuls.
This is an ironically comprehensive guide of not just the well known eccentircs but the undersexed n the under-rated. The avanteguard, the many occult leaders, radicals and some real freaks also grace the pages, accompanied by some awesome etchings. Mikul has barely left a stone unturned in his quest to document nature’s most ourageous and I couldn’t reccomend a better stocking filler! Pick yours up here, on Headpress’s site.
Last month we hit the Black Forest, Germany for the dOCUMENTA(13) press week – major contemporary art fair that only happens every five years - to see some art and get drunk at the press parties.
First, the parties were really really tres fun – we loved the fact we were allowed to take over Kassel train station to boogie on down to a DJ whilst trains were still truckin in n out, bewildered passengers wading through the crowds with their luggage, dazzled by disco balls. Can you ever imagine Cameron n co allowing such festivities in St Pancras? Nope, neither can we. We hung out on a platform guzzling wine n talking to lovely artists from Berlin till 3am! Marvellous eve. Other parties worth a mention was the vodka bash in the oldest gothic church in town (and we’re talking the birthplace of fairy stories here – the Grimm bro’s hometown) where we enjoyed cocktails and Pink Floyd style psychedelia on the light display front. All in all, great incentive for starting up a zine. Thank you, Documenta, for all that.
So, we encountered on our first day the increasingly familiar site of a pop up kinda camp site, right in front of Fridericianum, the main exhibition hall. I said to my colleague, ‘I bet you that’s Occupy’ n he said ‘Nah, it’s just some artistic thing, we’re in the middle of nowhere.’ However, upon approaching the tents n having un petit chat with their residents, my suspicions were confirmed. We were informed that the anti-1% protesters had made their way from Frankfurt (the biggest Occupy hub in Germany) to Kassel, to make a stand against both the exhibition’corporate sponsorship and general Capital/Merkelism – thus ‘Doccupy.’
In response to the tent town, dOCUMENTA’s Artistic Director Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev said “I welcome the ‘doccupy’ movement in Friedrichsplatz, which has grown over the last weeks. It continues the wave of democratic protests that have been spreading across many cities in the world. It enacts the possibility of re-inventing the use of public space and appears to me to be in the spirit of the moment and in the spirit of Joseph Beuys who marked documenta and its history significantly, embodying another idea of collective decision-making and political responsibility through direct democracy.”
In all fairness to dOCUMENTA, it really did incorporate some powerful political art. We especially enjoyed the ‘Picasso in Palestine,’ whereby a film made by director Rashid Masharawi and Hourani is exhibited, documenting the process of preparing, transporting and exhibiting the work of Picasso to the occupied Palestinian territory (the only ever masterpiece to be displayed here), alongside a drawing after Picasso’s painting by Amjad Ghannam, a prisoner at the time of the painting’s arrival, that was sent to Hourani as a postcard from Glabou Central Prison.
We were also asked to sign petitions on the second floor of Fridericianum to make the Earth’s ozone layer part of the ‘National Hertitage,’ thus protecting it from man-made harm. Quite a sensible idea, non?
Another crazy political piece was a photographic series (which we not allowed to photograph) by Man Ray’s lover and muse Lee Miller, who was employed by the American Army JUST after WW2 to photograph the dregs of Nazi Germany. Along with snapping a lot of dead Nazi’s, she took the unbelievable measure of posing naked in Adolf Hitler’s bath. In 1945, the year of the dictator’s death, with her apparent ‘access all areas’ pass, she nipped into his apartment in Munich and got stuck in. Well, if that’s not controversy, I just don’t know what is.
You can see a pic here
Putting the ‘art’ into pop tart.
“My pre-emptive strike against the Morloch empire and Mrs [bleep]“…. a Quilla Constance exclusive to la bouche.
Bonjour Bouchers! I have been spending a lot of time holed up in my country home recovering from my breast operation. Until, last week, that is…
Part 1 Meeting the man, handled by God.
LB: Tell us how it’s all got goin QC
QC: I was taking tea, scones and cocktails at my usual table in Fortnum and Mason last week feeling slightly sore following my breast reduction surgery.
Oh, did I say slightly sore?…. ****ing agony more like. So I was F+M-ing to get relief, and plenty of it.
numnumnum..aaaahhhh…numnumnum……comfort eating Quilla style …numnumbelch…that was the way I was goin’ ….
…so I gorged on mountainous, ice-cream filled jammy scones, slurped buckets of lapsang souchong tea and quaffed a bunch of idiotically monickered cocktails.
‘Sex with a leech’… ‘Bloody fairy’….. ‘Savoy corpse’….. ‘Singapore Bling’… and so on until staggering toward my favourite drink-athon finale, ‘Moanhatton’
In a haze, I mused on the success of the operation as the tearoom threatened to spin out of control.
Then the ship settled…. all became clear….
The surgeon had accidentally made a significant, magnificent contribution to the costume design [see photos]…. check the outfit featuring two white lacy chest titfers.
The next step was obvious and I needed to explore it.
Down and in… not up and out….that’s the way!
Get ‘em off! …these words, of course, having a particular resonance with my former misdemeanors.
Breast concavity surgery? Could this be the antichrist of the implant? From incubus to sucubus so to speak?
The procedure would involve cutting 2 beautiful symmetrical depressions either side of the sternum and into my chest.
Thinking on though, I realised that it might not catch on. For one thing it would make you a little short of breath.
Not good when you’ve got something to say, arguments to have, protests to stage, mud to sling etc…
The prospect of a life twittering and trolling in cyberland hammering the keypad as my only outlet did not appeal.
Toooooo dull for me my hearties.
A way around this would be to investigate an alternative lung ventilatory system, perhaps a bit like a bird’s?
Sounds a bit fiddly and far fetched. Y’ get me?!!!
A GM chest? No way baby…no thanks!! Must be joking…..
The idea was already waning when he walked in….
Napoli and Argentinian legend, drug fuelled maestro, portly dribbling messiah….just a few of the superlatives cascading through my cerebral cortices.
“Como eres tu?” croaked the squat moustachio’d figure in front of me.
The short legs, light blue+white shirt, the manic stare and the cry of “¡Avante!…. Gooaaalll !!!” had been immediate give-aways of course, as he frolicked through the diners and swerved past the maitre de toward me.
Just who was this footballing genius-madman whose handling in the penalty area was all the talk in women’s washrooms from Buenos Aires to Shoreditch?
Well, I can not reveal of course, as I am gagged at present by a super injunction.
But anyway, here my mystery man was, let’s call him ‘D’ in the flesh at Fortnum’s and in front of me….staring!….intently!!….. Yikes!!!
QC: He murmured, “Yo hablo D ¿tienes un espejo”
“Sí señor” I said and passed him the mirror I’d been bursting my spots onto not 2 hours earlier.
They’d since dried out to form small, seemingly decorative, crustules on the surface of the glass.
“su crujiente…porque?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him.
He looked so cute so I took it back, scraped off the encrusting supurations and passed it back gingerly.
I was astonished to see what happened next.
D, right there in broad daylight, chopped out 2 lines of charlie drake onto my spot mirror.
Then he grabbed the straw from my Moanhattan, inserted it brain-wards, bent forward and took in a great swooping nostrilful of Columbian self-raising sherbert.
“scccccccccchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhlooooooop ckckckckckckkkkkkkkk….aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh !!!” snorted his sinuses.
The resultant sound reverberated around the room from coaster to doily, cake to cupcake, trinket to champagne flute and causing a minor Tsunami in my cocktail on its way.
I couldn’t believe it.
The entire room went still.
After a few startled moments, one by one, slowly, but as surely as a pack of lemmings jumping off a cliff, all of the diners turned to look disapprovingly toward table 8.
Accompanied by a cry of “quieres venir conmigo?” he invited me to join him, oblivious to the outrage of Fortnum’s affronted rich, famous, powerful and their attendant slaves.
I responded: “Yo no hago las drogas D.”
I glanced at the window, only to see the paparazzi peering in from outside. Were they beginning to sniff a sensational story in the making??? Who could possibly have tipped them off??
“No, estoy machacado ya, de seguir adelante y llenar su boca arriba.” I whispered into his furry left ear, suspecting that the table was bugged.
This roughly translates as: “No, I’m mashed already, you go ahead and fill your face up.”
He promptly vacuumed up the powder, and asked for my number.
Somehow I found his cheeky, bad-boy, “I don’t care what you think, I’m ‘muy rico’ you slags so f*** you” demeanor strangely compelling. I was hooked!!
So, seduced by a tried and trusted ‘girl meets bad boy’ scenario, I promptly gave him my number, landline, address, twitter account, FB page, vital statistics, favourite gemstone, a small instruction booklet entitled: ‘Top 100 gowns I’d like to own’ by QC, a Quilla Constance limited edition bottle of Parfum Fiquelle and my bank details.
He grinned, packed his man bag and with an “adiós….hasta luego hermosa”, and pole vaulted out of the room leaving me shaken and stirred. What a mover!
LB: So, did he phone or text?
QC: The opening text was quite innocuous: “¿cómo estás”. Not being fluent in Spanish, I clicked on my Google translator app ..”muy bien, gracias” I tweeted innocently into cyberland..
His next messsage was the more racy, slightly less formal: “¿Cómo es su bebé culo?” [which translates as: how is your ass baby?]
I told him that it was much further from the floor than his and that he could “mear fuera” [p*** off] with his testosterone-driven salacious chat.
Undeterred, D pressed on…. and on….. tapping furiously, sauce upon sauce, filth upon filth through the ether until I was swooning and moist with desire.
My mobile had never bleeped and vibrated so much. It had become a regular fire hazard. So I removed all combustibles and stroked my keypad crazy…. I just had to meet this horny little critter again!!
A few days later, UPS delivered a package to my mayfair apartment.
The concierge brought the parcel to my room.
WTF was this? I tore the paper off.
The mahogany, rectilinear cuboid measuring precisely 23cm tall by 50cm square gleaming in front of me seemed such a strange gift.
Strange, that is, until D appeared at my door dressed in full Barcelona strip, regular number ten, randy legs a-twitching and raring to go…….
“mi trampolín, mi trampolín de amor”
With his unmistakeable husky croak and that trademark world cup stare, the dirty D would have to be kept on a tight leash for sure – otherwise he might sprain his ankle falling off the block during our lovemaking.
Over the next 3 weeks we were inseparable….thanks to the leash and his stash of viagra.
Eventually, we were released by my butler on his return from holiday. “Tea, m’lady?” enquired Snuffington……discretion being the better part of my valet as ever.
After taking tea together, D decided it would be best to lay low for a while and then left amidst a flurry of pappysnapping. We spoke on the ‘phone everyday for hours on end about this, that and the other.
The notorious pap-snap outside Fortnums had done it for our relationship though. All over the tabloids. Daily.
It occurred to D that our ‘phones must have been hacked by Morloch’s number one news feeder himself, Glenn Mulch-Hair.
There seemed to be so much intimate detail out there in tabloid land. Redtop headlines screamed: “D steps up!”, “Hand of God in the penalty area!” and “Gotcha!”
The block, his tackle, the leash, the texts, the tweets, entire telephone conversations, the live video feeds….all seemed to indicate that we must have been under surveillance. D was upset.
A single episode in Fortnums, 3 days of ‘bouncy castles’ and endless mobile ‘phone calls…..just the 2 of us…..there was no way details could have leaked out to the gutter press?
Or was there….?……I didn’t have the heart to tell D about my team of hackers, spies, rackateers and vagabonds nor about my DPhil in Security, Hacking and Information Technology.
He was just grist to my mill..”grano para mi molino”… so to speak.
I wanted his cash, his body, his abilty to feint, dribble, shuffle and shiffle…
….but I got more than I bargained for.
LB: Sounds like the end of part one QC?
QC: Cue ad break then: “Looking for something cool, cutting edge and in your face? Popalong to ‘Maison Twenty @ Harvey Nicks’ and spoil yourself with one of my tees. You deserve it. Being spoilt that is.”
Next time in LB: Hand of God made my baby! Quilla’s family planning dilemma.
Suzanne Treister’s Hexen 2.0 at the Science Museum
But don’t expect science, expect séance!
We have long been fans of Treister’s psychedelic adventures into the shadows of the military occult and psychological warfare. Here above a vast expanse of bizarre modern machinery in London’s Science Museum, we journey into post World War 2 governmental and military imperatives. Expect sinister psychiatrists, a séance of academics and tarot cards with a twist. This is on until April 30th and is not to be missed.
At the La Bouche towers, we do NOT like bullfighting, and so we welcomed this picture of a matador repenting at his involvement in the vile sport.
This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera, as he realized in the middle of the his last fight… the injustice to the animal. From that day forward he became an opponent of bullfights.
Our brand new La Bouche Gossip Columnist, Quilla Constance exclusively spills the beans from Lambeth County Court…
Photo by Andrew Crowe. All Rights Reserved 2012
“You’re nicked sunshine!” – QC [me!!] kicks ass in the Lambeth County Court.
I laughed and watched as ashen faced neo promoters FEEDME MUSIC left Lambeth County Court on January 16th 2012.
Shocked, out of pocket and with their tails firmly up their bjewelled asses they slunk out into the barmy air of SE11 following a lambasting from the beak.
During the 60 minute court hearing, the judge confirmed that the FMM performers contract is officially unfair under Sections 3 (2)(b)(ii) and 11 of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.
Now read the full story!
Darren Groanfool and Kay Leavage, aka Directors of FMM had seemed overawed and out of their depth as they twitched nervously pre-court.
The court clerk emerged from the courtroom to call the defendants. After a slight pause, he swiftly strolled past the mumbling/oblivious FMM into the lobby.
Continuing to call the dynamic duo to book, it dawned on FMM that they’d better do something.
My team had already been recognised of course, 2 Equity Representatives, my manager and moi….(clad in a black jump suit, Matrix-esque black coat and big hair complete with fluffy white muffs).
We headed into the courtroom and took our seats = Style.
Hapless – FMM scuttled after the clerk, ready, piercings a jangling, to doff their bleached forelocks and fawn before the hurried ex-public schoolboy, finally stuttering: “..ip ep ip ep…er….duuuuuuuuh…it’s us mister….mister? ….it’s us, FMM…the contract control freaks who promise:
to give ‘young fledgling bands’ the fiscal mugging of a lifetime.
a guarantee that you’ll pay to play,
a dead cert you’ll pay if you cancel,
and you won’t play as long as we promote for PUNK, the rich Soho poseurs in whose pockets we reside,
who can decide to cancel our night [at your expense naturally] in favour of a lucrative corporate do.
Clearly their recent charisma bypasses were working perfectly .
Dazed and confused by their journey from FMM HQ [aka 'Ripoff Central - We're here to fleece your ambitious asses'], they FINALLY realised that their bullshit was over.
FMM shuffled in to the court and sheepishly asked for permission to take their seats.
After some confusion as to which of the 2 seats offered to occupy, they sat down and got ready to tune in.
Heads down and sporting tired overgrown yellow spiky barnets, they now knew to expect the worst.
The beak informed the court that he’d scanned the documents pre-trial and asked me [QC] to make my case.
Evidently, one set of papers made sense, the other roll of recycled bog paper from FMM was nonsense.
The claimant’s, me [QC], case was well prepared, intelligent, coherent, logical and downright right for gawds sake.
Needless to say, this contrasted sharply with the barely comprehensible grunts and fumblings of FMM who once again seemed overwhelmed and twitchy.
Therefore the judge had no hesitation in summing up with:
”……QC had spent considerable time and money on PR-ing the event , putting the required effort as advised “100% effort into promoting…”
By the time FMM had unilaterally cancelled the contract , 43 sales had been made and another 73 people had said that they were coming…..
….the Contract is unfairly weighted in favour of the defendant…. [cue FMM gibbering and incandescent with shame]…In my view, the contract is unfair and not binding….”
FMM, heads in hands, were stung for QC ticket sales, travel, court fees and given 14 days to pay.
= Well and truely nicked!
As for me [QC], after the hearing I rushed to a nearby phone box in which I changed into full costume and became QC[me].
I took my twinkling disco outfit and spandexed ass back to the court steps. Here I proceded to quaff a whole bottle of Bollinger whilst being papped up to the max.
Then we all went for more bubbly, oysters and sushi at the St. Pancras Hotel before travelling first class on the last train back home.
Worried that FMM, the 2007 Indie Promoter of the Year, can’t afford to cough up?
Fear not!, they’ll have mugged plenty of pop wannabeindieblandgullibles by then.
And have money in the bank.
In summary, this ain’t just about unfair backstreet promoters, but the bands themselves who seemingly prefer to sit back and let themselves get shafted.
FMM contract is officially unfair…that’s now proven in court. So we don’t need to put up with this crap anymore.
If your band has signed it and been ordered to shell out £50 – £100 under the cancellation clause, you’re entitled to a full refund as the cancellation clause pre January 16th 2012 is not legally enforceable.
JOIN EQUITY PERFORMERS UNION. GET ADVICE. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
You can catch up with the legal particulars of this case in Equity Union Magazine, Spring Edition…out real soooooon!!!!
A new years natter with Paul Sakoilsky from ‘London’s only true independent newspaper’ – the dark times
Paul Sakoilsky: A New Year’s Message from the dark times
- at a time of bankers
to exercise a little charity;
at a time of soldiers
to cultivate small gardens;
at a time of categorical imperatives
to guess about clouds;
at a time of politicians
to trust only to children and demigods.
(George Barker, from Anno Domini, 1983)
La Bouche: So, what exactly is the dark times?
A multi-mediated ‘art’ project, an aesthetico-theoretical, political, (with a small ‘p’) conceit, and most of all, a way of being, seeing, making, doing – and let me just add the obvious, without darkness, no perception of light; and the fact evident to anyone with any knowledge of the work, there is always the ever needed, ever present sense of humour, of laughter.
It started simply enough: whilst painting a canvas for the first time in many years, in an absolutely freezing apartment/come-studio in Deptford, I was using one of those shitty free London tabloid papers to clean my palette knife/brush and started doodling, and then wrote on it, the dark times: London’s only truly independent newspaper. I believe this was at the end of 2006? But the project had it’s first full blown realisation at the ‘Climate of Change’ exhibition in Union Street in 2007, where as artist-in-residence and building security (along my Staffordshire terrier), I set up the first dark times: press office.
At it’s centre stands an ongoing series of hundreds of over-painted and collaged tabloid newspapers from 2006 onwards. Since then, there have been various installations and ‘press offices’, performances, objects, paintings and dialogues in UK and Europe, as well as a curatorial extension which included the first ‘dark times: newspaper’ in F-ish Gallery, Sussex, England. This included, both in the show and publication, emerging and established artists whose work fitted the overall schemata. The project continues to expand (as with the ‘blow-up’ series, where, taking an original dark times ‘paper’, I blow it up as a large scale painting. There are also offshoots such as ‘My Hole’ and ‘the bright times’ series.
There is, of course, a myth going around that the dark times is a newspaper – a publication. I admit having had a hand in this, having styled myself from the start as Editor of the dark times. Often asked, as here, “what are the dark times?” I generally raise my arms, look around, and say, well, isn’t it obvious? I edit this. On the other hand, to make things ‘simpler’, there will be further publications – in 2012, finally a new dark times newspaper, which will then be put out online, as well as a limited edition box-set including both the publication and a set artists’ prints. I am also currently at work on other series/projects and painting a great deal, all of which, inevitably in one way or another, intersect in some way with the dark times. I even considered killing off the dark times awhile back, but then, in such times as we’re in now… and as a friend pointed out, who was very much in the majority camp, of you can’t do that, “you can’t kill off an idea”.
La Bouche: Are we living in dark times?
“Paul Sakoilsky has made performances and paintings as hybridised ‘autopsies’ of media images, in visceral terms, that act upon the daylight utopias of consumerism and media ideology. His ongoing project the dark times is a newspaper in the potlatch spirit, described in the terms of Jean Baudrillard’s concept of hegemony, as an ultimate debasement of value.”
Text for ‘SuperHybrid’, Peter Lewis, 2011
I am not entirely certain about Pete’s point about ‘ultimate debasement of value’. As an artist, a human being, living in these times, a certain ambivalence, in the midst of all things, is perfectly viable. Peter Lewis put me onto The Agony of Power, and as far as I’m concerned, to really even begin answering the above question, ‘are these the dark times?’ this illuminating and deeply troubling book must be read and answered in some way.
Perhaps an unfashionable notion, but it sometimes seems, and in part due to the plethora, as we sift through the constant and continuous bombardment of virtual information, (or does it ‘sift’ us?), “the tyranny of forced exchange” (Baudrillard), that we are suffering not so much from an excess of historical knowledge as such, but instead from a curious and debilitating historical forgetfulness – a forgetfulness that the current British government’s attack on the Humanities in education perpetuates. Is there a conspiracy at work there? – beyond and above the mantra of ‘cuts…’ – i.e. “the last thing we need right now are educated ‘Proles’”, (apologies to some readers, but one might slip in the ‘middle class’ here now, re. what is happening in the USA and beyond). Or, is it simply that in such dark times, there exists “a general disposition among people to delegate their sovereignty to the most inoffensive, least imaginative of their fellow citizens, a malin genie that pushes people to elect the most nearsighted corrupt person out of a secret delight in seeing the stupidity and corruption of those in power. Especially in times of trouble, people will vote massively for the candidate who does not ask them to think. It is a silent conjuration analogous in the political sphere to the conspiracy of art in another domain… We should abandon the democratic illusion of imagination or intelligence in power that comes from the depths of Enlightenment ideology…” [Baudrillard, ibid].
As I replied in 2008 to Mike Watson in our dialogue for ‘the dark times: newspaper≠1’, whatever gave us the trumped up notion of homeostasis? – that the ‘good times’, if that is indeed what they were, of recent times, were set in stone, bound to last? Another deeper question emerges, one of millennialism: is there something, a psychic sickness (and not merely in the Western mindset), that wills its own demise? Think here of the Judeo-Christian, (and indeed Islamic) historical telos of the Day of Judgement – this was a historical schemata that ruled ‘our’ way of thinking for centuries, and still continues in varied forms. A kind of death-drive? One only needs to think of the new age mythos concerning 2012! If we are going to play on, to think in theological/occult concepts, I am more inclined to a Blakean and perhaps even Nietzchean standpoint. How about a view that would have it that the Day of Judgement (Heaven, Purgatory and Hell) is ever present, in each and every moment…which at least seems a healthier way of looking at such notions, as at it least leaves us with the possibility of positive change… and, strange as it might seem to some, I do see the seeds of positive change.
Let’s ask again, ‘are we living in the dark times?’ Now, as far as I see (thank god), there are no bombs dropping on London at this moment – we are not living through the Blitz, through WW2, even if governments in our name are at present bombing, or supplying the rationale and equipment to bomb and kill innocent people in the name of ‘democracy’ – a thin veneer for a Realpolitik: a battle waged over resources, oil, raw materials, power blocks and the like, surely, and not much more? We now live in the hyper-realised space of deregulated virtual/real global exchange, something that has never existed before, and in a world where small minded, successive governments and power brokers have given the banking sector, now turned ‘financial terrorists’, free reign to basically rule the world without checks (to the point where a new political term has slipped into public usage, almost without any questioning around what this actually implies – ‘market democracy’)… BUT I am NOT a politician, not an economist, merely a human being who happens to make art in such a world, an antennae of sorts (as are we all).
The dystopias described by Philip K Dick, J.G Ballard, Foucault and by Habermas and Adorno in The Dialectic of Enlightenment, for example, which once seemed brilliant but somewhat hyperbolic, start to take on a frightening reality, vis-à-vis our reality. Then again, what exactly is our Reality? And of course one could go on ad nauseum re. the ‘darkness’, but it is also important to bear in mind, that without certain betterments in our general situations, we would not even be in a position to recognise the deficits. Let me just say there are also ‘bright times’: interpersonal relations with great people, art, ideas, discoveries, discourses, and healthy disrespect and rebellion: individuality and idiosyncracy. There is still goodness in the world, and goodness, what I would like to call common decency, minima moralia, must be fought for, sometimes by tooth and claw. And vis-à-vis ‘art’, to end on a somewhat more positive note, “in spite of all globalisations, there will be a sudden big bang, and there will be new developments in art that turn everything inside out and create something new”.
We love ‘the dark times (Squat the Planet)’, was this made for the Occupy movement?
No, it was actually made sometime before this whole thing started in early 2008, in the dark times: press office≠2 at the Climate 4 Change, a show that Mark Hammond and I organised in the squatted, ex-Alan day Mercedes Dealership (where I was living at the time) opposite Camden Arts Centre in North London. This particular work is in the collection of Gavin Turk who to date has the largest collection of dark times works.
La Bouche: What do you think ‘the dark times’ headlines will scream in 2012?
Firstly, I should point out that I no longer make the ‘papers’ and ‘headlines’ on a daily basis as I once did. For the most part, in recent times, I have found myself painting, trying to fathom out what the hell that strange practise is all about, writing, and of course, being part of the RED Gallery in Shoreditch, where I am artist in residence. As regards the dark times headlines for 2012? Sadly, I imagine much of the same, perhaps worse, though one might perhaps see some ‘bright times’ emerging amongst it all. Also, never underestimate the power of mediated-fear and, one must abso-fucking-lutely never underestimate this, I see brighter, more interesting times in terms of interpersonal relations with friends, colleagues, art, discourse, and the world itself. For instance, there is of course the Occupy Movement and related debates/activism as an international phenomena. Whereas I may not agree with some sentiments put forward, for example, I believe, (and this is far too complex an argument to go into here, and one I am grappling with myself), that the usual/historico-political binaries won’t save us – we need something new. Perhaps, we might see the seeds of a certain ‘reflexive-modernity’ taking shape, to use Ulrich Beck’s term, which is to say, as with the issue of Climate Change, where even some big business/corporate and governmental interests are coming round to the idea that change is essential, even if only to keep up their profit margins and power – i.e. if the world truly slips into climate chaos and spins out of control, beyond the control of Mankind, then, profits, power, and all the accoutrements of uber-success will mean nothing – as Beck says in the cited book, pollutants are truly international and therefore in a twisted sense, also truly democratic. Perhaps, Capitialism may even itself go through such a change. Rather, it MUST go through some kind of paradigm shift, and/or turn into what? A serious question.
The problem lies with all of those vested interests, those huge and overwhelming power blocks, and ‘blocks’ is an apposite term here. Let me just say, ‘capital’, money, cash, is nothing in and of itself: it is neutral; it is merely a power – it is always what is made or what is done with such Power… how it is managed, that is what counts. For instance, in whose hands it is concentrated? And this is not to say that there are not an awful lot of people, who instead of waking up to ‘a breakfast of champagne and strawberries’, should not instead be banged up in prison. The fact is, governments, especially our so-called democratic governments, are now terrified of their own people, and their paternal and condescending attitude just won’t wash anymore…
‘Democracy’ is a fiction, a concept; for the writer/critic Mike Watson, such constructs can even be seen as functioning as ‘a work of art’ (in the widest sense of the term). I have a saying, apt in this instance, that I made to be inscribed above a pillory: ‘EVERYTHING IS ART, EVERYTHING IS POLITICS: Whether it is Good Governance or Good Art is a Continuous Question.’
I believe ‘democracy’ only exists in the agon, in contestation, or at least, we might say that only up it has existed in this sense up until now. The lie and one of the greatest dangers always arises when one set of people really believe they have THE answer. The free-market liberalist policies of the past thirty years have surely shown themselves to be a sham, a mask, masking the ‘will to power’ of a select few – but it is as much the System itself that is at fault and needs re-evaluating. We need to go back to the reasons of why we construct/allow such systems, such ‘fictions’ to rule in the first place. I think the ancient Greek ideal (disregarding for a moment the historicity of this ideal – the inequalities of the state of Athens for instance) of the ‘Good Life’, and the ideal of the ‘Commonwealth’ need reinvestigating and re-establishing in one form or another as the leitmotif, as the only thematics that might get us out of the shit we are in – and the shit that most of us are going to have to continue to plough through.
But to reiterate, I am just an artist, a writer etc., besides which I have lost my guillotine… MAKE YOUR OWN HEADLINES! As regards the dark times: headlines for 2012, we will all no doubt ‘enjoy’ them in good time.
Love and best wishes for 2012 & of course, for our future,
the dark times
2 January 2012
©paul sakoilsky 2012
 George Barker, Collected Poems, Faber & Faber, 1987
 Dean Kenning, Eco Art: Art Energy in the Age of Ecology, Art Monthly, February 2008; Mike Watson, Paul Sakoilsky: Are these the Dark Times? Art in the Age of Media Panic, artapartofourculture.net, April 2009
 Jean Baudrillard, The Agony of Power, SemioText, 2010 (published posthumously)
the dark times: newspaper≠1 2008; online text
 read J.G. Ballard last book, To Kingdom Come, Fourth Estate 2006
 Karlheinz Essl in conversations with Hermann Nitsch, NITSCH: Eine Retrospective, Edition Sammlung Essl, Wien, 2003]
 Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, Sage Publications 1992
We whipped into Tate Brit during the hols to see John Martin’s infamous apocalyptic ‘Blockbusters.’
It is easy to see why these biblical extravaganzas have been dubbed as such. Firstly, they are as dramatic as they come and are practically exploding with anger, grief, terror, love, evil and glory. Visually, they have a wild 3D depth (e.g the infinite optical vanishing point of the tables and chambers in Belshazzar’s Feast) and are impeccably detailed, although in LB’s humble opinion some figures are a little clunky.
We were basically unsurprised to learn that they have served as the inspiration behind many Hollywood epics such as Lord of the Rings and Ben Hurr.
For La Bouche, we were most drawn to Martin’s vision of Judgement Day, depicted in three huge paintings, whereby life on earth terminates and the sinners plummet into the fires of hell whilst the good guys are rescued by God and float off into heaven. NB: Unfortunately the images are too small to see the figures of the damned and the saved in detail.
‘The Last Judgement Triplych’ also really struck us as it echoed our thoughts expressed our Xmas/New Year’s post where we reflected on how the church has this year had to face up to the immoralities of a world controlled by a corrupted banking system. For who should be clawing the crevices on the way down to hades? Well, asides from the Whore of Babylon, among the world’s ultimate sinners were greedy money lenders clutching their riches as they fell.
Meanwhile, as the naughty ones plummeted under a blood-red moon, off to paradise glided the artists and writers of the world, including Wills (Shakespeare) in his little ruff. La Bouche is really feeling the Age of Aquarius, as you know, however, if this year truly is about the end of mortality then we are not entirely averse to such a turn out of events. LB!
If you are struggling for stocking fillers, look no further. Video Artist turned Pop Star Quilla Constance (who has written for and featured in La Bouche) has finally launched her t-shirt range and they can be purchased here.
La Bouche has long been a fan of this avant-guarde leotard encased goddess (the artist formerly knows as Jennifer Allen), and shall be snapping up the new merch which also includes a new QC homeopathic perfume range and origami underwear!
Get some ferocity in your life with these QC tees
Quilla is also currently suing Feedme Music booking promoters, for canceling a double booked gig at Punk Soho, in favor of a dry corporate bash. Having already staged a protest gig outside the venue on the date of her original gig causing much embarrassment for the venue, the court date is now set for January 16th and LB shall be there to cover Quilla’s battle. Being familiar with the music industry, we know this kind of crap happens all the time to emerging bands causing them much disappointment and inconvenience but our Quills is not one to take these things lying down… LB