I applied for the Chorlton Arts Festival back in September with two proposals, one of a normal exhibition and the other to interfere with and distort an area of public space. Like most applications for arts related things I listed my accolades and wrote the proposal in a way that I thought would come across as arrogant and off putting. So I was quite surprised to be allowed to complete both of my proposals as two separate intertwined events. So there is a lesson in that. Coy, evasive, polite Englishness isn’t the best approach to writing artistic proposals and confidence is not necessarily arrogance.
I went to set up my “installation” or “mural” on Sunday morning at 5:30am. At 6:30am a man came up to me asking if I had permission. I pulled the brochure out of my pocket and opened it to the right page. “See. Outside Proof. This year. That’s me. I’m here.” I told him. I asked him if he worked there and then he said he owned the building. After which he got inside a black cab taxi’s driver’s seat and drove off. So maybe he is the owner or maybe he just enjoys saying he is the owner of buildings.
Speaking of tall tales after this I was approached by Jesus Christ. Or someone claiming to be him. Though in reality one of Chorlton’s best histrionic old men. He didn’t remember me speaking to him 2 years ago. But why would he? He has so much effort invested within his performance that the real world barely drizzles into him. Would Al Pacino recognize you even though you saw him on the telly once?
I forgot my phone and was meant to be meeting the festival instagrammer some time around 9am so I had to walk home. At this point it was all just about almost finished and I was in a sleep deprived self involved feeling of artistic fanciful freedom from the realities of flesh. This was then destroyed when I turned the corner and saw what at first I thought was a sleeping cat. But as I got closer noticed it was a cat with it’s organs ripped out, that had been tossed about violently and broken and spattered.
In visions like the above you become confronted with the truth. That underneath the clean walls and flat surfaces everything is reducible to gloop, the plastic lives we live doesn’t go anywhere beyond this surface so when the true nature of gloop and death is shown to us we just recoil because it shouldn’t exist in our tiny, self limited worlds. The end of our lives is usually hooked up to some tubes and needles and all our conflict and war comes to whatever it rationalizations or lack of rationalizations we have. Death is not beautiful in our culture. Dead cats with their intestines on the pavement are not beautiful to me. It was the biggest attack ever on my aesthetic sensibilities. But it was the most real thing I've seen all year.
Much as this disturbed me I repressed the experience after I dealt with it. And considering it now then I realize that the work I’ve created is in a sense attempting to operate on the level of a dead cat. It is essentially street art designed to be inaccessible. Unaesthetically pleasing. Following no plastic populist Golden Ratio. Making no references to anything but itself. It is untidy, in terms of production, execution and in presentation. It’s a part of me that is laughing at clock towers, mobile phone shops and hospital beds. The dreary compartments and hospitality of the different places we phase into. Every life a series of transactions. Bound in a Social Contract none of us ever see or sign. We are doing their very best to be unchallenging, appealing and boot licking too each other as possible. That’s how you do self promotion. “Share me, like me, want me then I will share you, like you, want you.” Most people don’t like a dead cat. Most people wouldn’t share a dead cat. Most people don’t want a dead cat.
So come and be annoyed by my aesthetically jarring “mural” or “installation” outside of Proof in Chorlton. Or be surprised that it doesn’t really live up to my write up of it. And that you actually like it. Like it. Share it. BUY IT. BUY ME. BUY ME. CONSUME (insert more counterculture anti-capitalist clichés here, perhaps a cartoon of David Cameron being spanked by Rupert Murdoch. That would be clever. That would affirm everything.)
Also I will be exhibiting at Tea Hive in Chorlton for the next few weeks. I set up that exhibition on Monday. So there is plenty of stuff there for you to initiate one of your many life transactions with.