THE UNDERCROFT – ART, SPACE AND POWER

by Laura Potts

Artistic culture and practice has changed drastically over the past few centuries. From Renaissance painting and its high-minded focus on aesthetic and documentary purpose, to the eruption of absurdist Dada work in 1915, to the stark political statements of much modern art. The aesthetics of art and its chosen themes are not the only thing that has changed though; the spaces where we encounter art have also transformed.

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DEEPGREY (2)

by Rob Harding

(Part 2 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour. Read part 1 here.)

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I do the digital equivalent of slipping off the main street down a back-alley, activating two spongy ‘legal’ VPNs at once to provide the paper-thin security necessary to sneak an actual functional VPN into life without precipitating a time-delayed ISP shit-fit. It’s a sort of rite of passage, at least for British free-internet users, to accidentally break the vestigial mess that is the remains of the Snooper’s Charter and get a whiny message in the actual mail six months later complaining about it. The word ‘terrorism’ was almost entirely inflated to meaninglessness well before Meme War propaganda began labelling the entire world simultaneously with it in white-hot strobe-flashing GIFs, so the strident accusations and threats that are all the government can do about you breaking the rules aren’t particularly punchy any more. It can be another strike towards losing your net neutrality privileges, though. Besides, much nastier things lurk in the same patch of those particular legal waters, and the absolute last thing you want to do is thrash about and make a fuss.Continue Reading

FREELANCE STRUGGLES: #SINKTOBER

a person carrying several bags full of stuff whilst towing an indignant dog, several notations identify several aspects of the stuff being carried as the person’s workload and stress

by Sara Harrington

Read Part One of Freelance Struggles here.

‘Freelance Struggles’ aims to vocalise and explore the realities of working as a creative freelancer in amongst a world of ‘nine to five-ers’. By collating a diverse array of stories from a variety of creative professionals this series hopes to contextualise the working art world and give space to discuss what it really means to become your own boss.

Along with its cooler weather, cosy knit-threads and overpriced pumpkin-flavoured beverages, October’s changing of the seasons includes the the seeing in of ‘Inktober’ for online artists. The worldwide challenge originated with the artist Jake Parker, who wanted to improve his inking skills and set himself the challenge of creating a new, fully inked drawing everyday for a month. The initiative has been incredibly successful on Instagram, where users share and support other artists and encourage each other to keep up with the challenge.

My illustration, ‘Sinktober’ highlights the sinking feeling of the list that keeps growing, the unattainable aspirations and goals you set yourself and the never ending deadline. It’s the restless feeling of carrying too much in what feels like the wrong direction. It’s the friends that you do not see, the family you have not called, and the many projects you did not say no to.

  Featured image by Sara Harrington. It shows a person carrying several bags full of stuff whilst towing an indignant dog – the notations identifying the stuff being carried as the person’s workload and stress

 


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PUNK 4 THE HOMELESS

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by Tim Forster

Punk 4 The Homeless has been busy raising money for homeless children in Central America since January 2010. They’ve been doing this through a variety of gigs throughout any given year and with a monthly Benefit Gig at the Sumac Centre in Nottingham. The monies raised are channelled through Compass Children’s Charity which started as Casa Alianza UK in February 1999 to raise funds for programmes in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Casa Alianza was founded in 1981 in response to the senseless death of one child – 13-year-old Nahamán Carmona López – a street child kicked to death in Guatemala City by four police officers who found him sniffing glue on the streets to combat his wracking hunger pains. This incident lies behind the P4TH slogan, ‘Stopping Cops Killing Kids Is Punk Rock’.Continue Reading

PENNY BEALE MEMORIAL FUND NIGHT AT HASTINGS FRINGE FESTIVAL

Copyright Laura Dodsworth

by Carmina Masoliver

cw: mentions domestic violence

At the end of September, I attended and took part in Hastings Fringe Festival and got the chance to watch Spinal Krapp by Darren Maher, a ‘stand-up tragedy’ based in Dublin in the 1980s. Although initially uncertain, I ended feeling thoughtful about the piece, which explored the impact of violence on children, as well as looking at the ‘making of a monster’. When it comes to domestic violence, whoever the victim or perpetrator, it is ultimately about power and control. It was interesting to see this prior to attending the fundraiser for Penny Beale Memorial Fund, which similarly weaved tragedy and comedy together, bringing a different kind of poignancy to the night.

The Penny Beale Memorial Fund was started by the mother of Penny Beale (of the same name), whose daughter was murdered in 2001 after years of abuse by her partner. The charity aims to offer information and advice about domestic abuse through various means. The fundraiser opened with an introduction by Penny Beale, and a song by Carol Prior, who also compered the evening. Also on a musical note, Las Pasionarias’ powerful folk songs had an uplifting effect and there was a great feeling of sisterhood as they sang together, wearing in red and white flowers pinned to their clothes. The audience joined in for a song about Mother Earth, where we were united in its message of care and respect. Mellow Baku took to the stage with a guitar, referencing having grown up in a cult. Although the details were not spoken of in the same specificity as others, the emotions of this were shown through song. Baku not only delivered songs on guitar, but also recited poetry, making use of loop pedals and her incredible voice.

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DEEPGREY (1)

by Rob Harding

(Part 1 of a serialised prose fiction endeavour.)

Download the attachment, click the link and whoah hang the fuck on here.

It’s not easy to properly rip a headset off your head. They tend to tangle on your ears, or else there’s a cable somewhere that gets in your hair and insta-knots itself until it might as well be glued there. When I had long hair it was even worse, but even my current slightly-longer-than-a-buzz-cut approach still manages to trap the occasional stray wire in its velcro-like hooks.

Still, I manage it, because when you’re the sort of person that I am, you develop a pretty impressive set of reflexes for certain situations. Part of that is down to the still-can’t-quite-believe-that-happened bullshit that was the Meme Wars leaving its scar on our collective psyche. Some of the shit the Russians worked out how to do with flashing lights and the Mark 1 Eyeball remains impossible to describe, both due to of its design and because of the gag limitations of the human stomach. But it’s also partly down to my own situation which is sadly far from unique but also far from common.

I feel the sort of revulsion you get when you accidentally stick your hand into something dead. In the first few hyperventilating seconds after I rip off the headset, it dawns on me that what I’ve just witnessed indicates that that, metaphorically, is pretty much what’s just happened.Continue Reading

DISCOVERY: BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE

by Richard Worth

The latest incarnation of Star Trek hit our screens last week and there is so much we could unpack. I could address the online reaction to the show’s diverse casting controversy, the unusual production decision or I could analyse it critically; divorced from its Trekkie fandom and heritage.

But the truth is I don’t want to do any of that. It’s clear that Star Trek has always been on the left of the political spectrum. People who get paid way more than I do have already looked at every aspect of the production and decided what they want to do with their show. And it’s impossible to divorce Discovery from all the Trek that came before it. As a liberal snowflake, what I really want to write about is how the show made me feel.

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