Monthly Archive for October, 2009

Revolution is Sublime Or, what are we going to do with the rich?

Space Station 65 has commissioned the Freee art collective to produce a new work, ‘Revolution is Sublime’ for Camberwell Space’s exhibition ‘The Peckham Experiment’.
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In response to the original ‘Peckham Experiment’, a social programme in health and wellbeing for Peckham residents in the 1930s by George Scott Williamson and Innes Hope Pearse, Freee has produced a sculptural object, a billboard poster and a manifesto (the latter published as a pamphlet and read aloud collectively in a ‘spoken choir’ event in the gallery).
Critical of the centre’s original creed (‘a very strict “anarchy” … will permit the emergence of order through spontaneous action’) which led to a laissez-faire non-interventionism (a visitor, who learned from Williamson that a man had ‘a most dreadful hernia’, asked why it had not been treated and was told: ‘It’s his hernia. It’s up to him when he wants to get it fixed’), Freee turned to an earlier model of working-class self-organization in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.
The manifesto ‘Revolution is Sublime: or, what are we going to do with the rich?’ is a rewriting and updating of an article by Lenin published in Pravda at the end of 1917 on the problems and opportunities for self-organization. Unlike the soft libertarian faith in spontaneous autonomy nurtured by the original ‘Peckham Experiment’, Lenin pointed out that workers’ self-organization would be vigorously opposed by the capitalists and their supporters, and therefore that the task of organization “cannot take place without friction, difficulties, conflicts and violence against the inveterate parasites and their hangers-on”.

Freee at Zoo

Wysing commissioned the Freee art collective new public project in Cambridge Revolution Road: Rename the Streets!
victoria1 Following an elaborate series of scripted ceremonies, Freee and a small group of invited “witnesses” took to the streets of Cambridge to rename a selection of the city”s streets along a route from the Court to Kings College.

Existing place names such as King Street, Jesus Street and New Street are renamed by the group through secular ‘christening’ speech acts temporarily occupying the streets of Cambridge with the names, anecdotes and legacy of those 18th century activists who were inspired by the French Revolution casino online to engage in radical political movements in the UK.

The script divided the participants into “chalk-holders” and “witnesses”, the former responsible for writing the new names of the places on a blackboard held near to the existing place name; the latter responsible for acknowledging the renaming and proclaiming their assent to the new name in a spoken exchange amounting to a secular christening.

The witnesses played an absolutely central role in the performance. Not merely its audience or its participants in the ordinary sense, the witnesses had a similar function to godparents at a christening or witnesses at a wedding ceremony. Thus, Freee create a mini, temporary counterpublic in honour of arguably the first fully-fledged counter-public sphere in British history.




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