some art that i made that may or not be in progress i'm not sure but i like some of it and if you don't then that's fine and i hope you have a nice day anyway
The journal side of my site has been pretty quiet recently - But here's some info about my upcoming solo show (as T.S. IDIOT). The promotional video can be viewed below, made by my good friend and collaborator Oran Perrett. Orchestral Testicles will be touring Fringe Festivals across the South WEst for Spring/Summer 2018.
"T.S. Idiot brings his sophomore show to the nation. The young punk poet puts a collection of his spoken word pieces to classical music, provided by his papier mache backing band The Orchestral Testicles. Expect silliness, sexiness and some sincerity from a performer described by his local council as ‘in very poor taste’. The 30 minute show features such hits as ‘If Jeremy Clarkson Was My Boyfriend’ and the highly emotional ‘Ode To An Estate Agent’. Fresh from a year supporting punk legend Attila The Stockbroker (among other achievements) T.S. Idiot will delight and disgust in equal measure."
This is an open letter to the organisers and supporters of 'Refugees Not Welcome In Devon'. After a few months of contact via their Facebook page and face to face, I feel compelled to set a few things straight.
Amidst a growing concern about refugees, catalysed by the recently demolished camp in Calais, opinion is split. There are those who want to help the people they see who have had to leave their homes in the Middle East and Africa for resons including war, dictatorship and persecution, and those who express concern over the effect that housing refugee communities may have in the UK. On both sides there are valid points and unpleasant actions. 'Refugees Not Welcome In Devon' speak to a lot of people who are frustrated about the situation and worried about the negative effects on the local homeless population and Devon as a whole (including the risk of extremisim), but often express these worries in ways that seem negative, unhelpful and sometimes unpleasant (to refugees and their supporters). Meanwhile those who are trying to help refugees have provided a lot support for people who need it, but there are also those who are unpleasant to groups like RNWID, making threats to their members and causing more division and antagonism (equally unhelpful). So it's clearly a complex situation with no easy answers.
This is not a case of 'whose side are you on?' - the refugee crisis is hugely complex, as is the socio-political situation of the UK (austerity, homelessness, Brexit etc.). RNWID hold common ground on many topics, including:
- A disdain of the actions of the government (including austerity under the Conservatives and the financial failures and wars of the previous Labour administration)
- An awareness (and wariness) of religious and political extremism and resulting terrorist activity in Europe
- The issue of immigration (how we help people, who should be elegible for asylum and the cultural barriers that need to be worked on)
However, I still stand strongly in the knowledge that these issues are complex and differ from case to case. Although a completely 'open border' policy is perhaps not possible, it's also not possible (or morally accountable) to keep everyone out. There are problems that arise - who is 'everyone'? What should the criteria be for someone to be allowed safety and refuge in the UK? It's clearly an ongoing problem - but not one that's going to be solved with anger. With such a complex and many-sided problem it's not as easy as any of us think. There is a fine line between wanting to keep your community safe and happy and creating an environment that fosters phrases like "black bastards" and "send them all back" (genuine comments on the RNWID page). I am aware that you as admins do not condone such behaviour but is indicative of the mentality you are creating. Likewise, work needs to be done from people on the left/pro-refugee to ensure that you are not threatened and are allowed to voice your opinion without fear.
In these last few months I have listened to your view and even agreed with some points, but I have realised the futility in arguing. It is clear that the conclusion you have arrived at is to rally support and cause division through negativity and anger, and that's not productive. The only way to make things better in our communities is through helping people, one at a time.
I saw great work being done when i joined one of your homeless action missions in Exeter - something to be applauded. This is what brings about change. This is what makes a difference. The more we argue and fight with one another across a political spectrum, the less good any of us do. We all have struggles in life and we are all angry and fearful about the state of the world, but no good can come from blaming other people in hardship (much of modern history highlights the error of that approach).
Young people especially do not need constant reminders of the violent and changing times we live in - they need examples of how to make positive change - charity work, homeless action, supporting the local community (PATH torbay is one example of this) as well as reaching out to those of different national and cultural backgrounds who need our help (devoid of the prejudices and assumptions we hold). Because amidst your negativity and fearmongering you have omitted to mention that things ARE getting better. More people care, more people are supporting charities and becoming social activists - and in contrary to what many may think, terrorism in Europe has continually decreased since the 1970s. By championing the mistrust and hatred of refugees, you are doing nothing to counter violence and terrorism - if anything you are causing more division and more friction within the UK.
I'm fully aware that there are arguments and facts on both 'sides' of the refugee conversation - and we can all continue to argue about it until blue in the face. But i've realised that this is not the point - the more we turn on each other and argue, the more we're distracted and the less good any of us actually do.
So despite vindictiveness on all sides of the dice (I know that you have received threats of violence and that is just as wrong), the world is getting better - and it's not because of you. Let's not call each other idiots, or racists, or stupid lefties, or cucks or worse. The problems of this world, this country and this county are bigger than our squabbles. There are so many of us helping all kinds of people, both on our doorstep and further afield. It doesn't have to be a choice, or a political statement (as your homeless action days seem to be) - It's part of a bigger picture of humans helping each other.
In part, this is me washing my hands of the squabbling. I will not be angry, I will not argue - there comes a time when those who insist on constant negativity must simply be ignored. Continue with your homeless work and know that it's fully supported by the good people of Devon, but also know this:
You are not needed (and by that I mean you are not needed to help or improve anyone's way of life - that's done by people working together and being positive) and you are not making this county better. Thousands of people across Devon are making positive change with young people, the homeless, the poor, the marginialised and the displaced - You're welcome to join us, or sit where you are and never make a difference.
click on the links to see some of the POSITIVE work done in Devon:
Devon Homeless Action
Community Housing Aid
Last week I travelled to Hestercombe, Taunton for Art Writing Now - a day of seminars hosted by the Art Writers Group.
As I continue through the slip'n'slide life of an artist and graduate, the day helped to consolidate my practice as (among other things) a writer for magazines and blogs (most recently for Newfangled Press)
Here are some phrases and tips that landed in my ears throughout the day:
Patrick Langley (The White Review)
- art writing as memoir and/or fiction
- the novel as curated form
- 'professional hybridisation'
- "we need an erotics of art" - Susan Sontag
Mary Paterson ('It Moves' - a performative lecture)
- "this is a lie"
- the gaps in language that can be filled in/expanded
- "language is a suit of someone else's clothes you try on" - Tim Etchells
Phil Owen (Tertulia)
- experiments in voice and language
- this made me think about the use of Instagram and the production of performance videos using recorded voice and text. I'd like to work in this way on I CAN//I CAN'T and other past pieces
- "truths that aren't lies don;t have to be a lie"
Tom Jefferies (Learned Pig)
- thoughts of psycho-geography
- gave me more ideas on my future piece of writing 'Eternity, Sometimes'
Greg Neale (Resurgence and The Ecologist)
- expect the unexpected
- afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted
- who are you writing for and what do they want?
- create your own career and be flexible
A recent BBC production illuminated the practice of Italy's notorious 'art pranskter' Maurizio Cattelan. His art is reactionary and provokes reaction from others - sculpture, performance and conceptual works take pride in the trail of misinformation and mockery of order. He says that "every answer is valid", and though some works are made to push buttons with more intent than others, there are subtler notes of anxiety; a balance of comedy and tragedy (a dragon I chase within my own practice) that make some of his works "pieces of poetry". Cattelan, however, may prefer to compare his art to meat or dirty laundry than poetry (see All). Despite all the gags (and perhaps because of them), it's clear that passion and sincerity as well as irony and anarchy are mixers in his creative cocktail. "We have art so we don't die of truth".
Daddy Daddy - life size Pinocchio floating in water
L.O.V.E. - giant hand facing away from the stock exchange
Errotin - performance with a penis-rabbit costume
Turisti - stuffed pigeons complete with shit
Another Fucking Readymade - the entire contents of another artist's show, stolen
A new phase in the ongoing performance-based colab with artist and friend Nine Derricott
(previously including a pornhub project, live video performances and the TRIBULATION series - see tomstockley.weebly.com/collaboration for more)
Follow @youcameherebyaccident on Instagram to see the conversation.
A new musical project in Torbay - 4 of us are working on a set of shoegaze influenced indie-rock to record and play live across the South West.
Our first demo is here
As well as ongoing collaborations with artists:
Oran Perrett (animated artwork for the demo)
Nicholas Griffin (art for the demo and social media)
and future work with Ed Burkes.
Follow us on Facebook, Soundcloud and YouTube
See us live at The Apple & Parrot, Torquay in December (23rd) and hosted by New Pantheon Club at MONO, Falmouth in January (TBA)
(an updated list of all my actions against the recent decisions of Falmouth University's Management)
Some were less well thought out than others, but all came from a point of frustration and solidarity with those affected:
Follywood (Falmouth sign protest - with Maddie Broad)
An Open Letter
Plans 4 Woodlane (Students design ulterior plans for Woodlane Campus - with Maddie Broad)
"let's chill out with all the pay rises, shall we?" (FXU Awards Night 2016)
School Of Art Not School Of Profit (Graduation Ceremony 2016)
Burning My Degree
Save Our Falmouth
Tim Shaw's Open Letter
National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts
It's not over yet.
To some, this might seem stupid and/or extreme, but to understand why I burnt my degree and posted it back to Falmouth University, please read the accompanying letter below:
This week, it was announced that Falmouth’s Art Foundation Course is being shut down. It's not the absolute end of the world - but it is another in a long line of decisions which benefit a few financially over the good of the community that support the institution.
I know that going to University is a privilege, and this is not an act of ungratefulness. It’s an act of solidarity with the families who can’t afford to live where they want to, the staff who’ve lost their jobs, the future students who don’t have a place and the ones who are told they aren’t ‘good enough’.
I learnt a lot in my time at Falmouth from the people who put others first – a huge network of staff, local residents and creative people who supported me in my journey. But I learnt that this experience comes at a price – that, like our health and social care, many universities are governed by a business-centric callousness. It’s a prostitution of education at the expense of others that I no longer want to be part of.
As I’ve said before, creativity is not for sale and we are not your business. After 4 years, I am not just a Bachelor of Arts but a Bachelor of Anxiety - How much more will we have to pay for what was free a generation ago? What part of our lives will be cut next because it doesn’t generate enough income? If my education has been about profit, does it matter who I am and what I’ve learnt?
I know I can’t change how things are run, and I know that the University can provide a myriad of reasons, facts and figures to support their decisions. But I hope that you will begin to understand people’s fears and frustrations, that our voice will be heard and that an honest and equal dialogue can be opened between us all.
Here’s my degree – I don’t want it any more.