I recently walked around Robin Hood Gardens in the company of Rab Harling and Adam Greenfield as part of my ongoing research into gentrification and acts of resistance. These are my reflections...
This blog post is a first draft of a spoken word performance script as yet unperformed. It is inspired by a ludicrous reference in this blog about the ludicrous forced adoption of Quality Metrics by Arts Council England. Simon Mellor is their Executive Director. He makes rather odd reference to Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party (1957), a play that is, of course, all about the killing of individuality, of an individual at the hands of Kafkaesque state conformity; about conformist brainwashing and execution. The agents of the state in The Birthday Party are McCann and Goldberg. I imagine a conversation between these two agents of the "hard" state and Simon (Mellor), a representative of culture, or state "soft" power. Webber (also referred to as Stanley) is the unfortunate recipient of an incessant barrage of state-sanctioned pressure to comply, to conform. Petey is an old man: quiet but also considerate.
All words are quotes from either Simon Mellor's blog or from he Birthday Party script.
The performance would be interspersed with propaganda images from Arts Council England's website...
Always Outsiders is about playing and experiencing the presence of people, environment, nature. It is a reflective piece about two pieces of cooperative work: amb ith Lee Mattinson; and orthernGame with Stevie Ronnie. Both pieces are set in the North Pennines in South West Northumberland, an area I made home for almost eight years. A space in which my wife and I often found a solace of sorts from the city. A place where our children first set foot in the world; where they were immersed in nature.
The full title of my paper is the deliberately clunky, lways Outsiders: Map-less Social Sractice Art in the Ancient Landscape of a Global Geopark. It attempts to fuse theory with practice, practice with theory. Thought and unthought experiences are proposed as mediators.
This blog post includes my Royal Geographical Society 2016 Conference paper as well as links to the presentation and a PDF version of the paper for printing.