good for bristol

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bearpit / PRSC art - the hipsters attempt activism

"How does an activist eat potatoes?" ask the People's Republic of Stokes Croft in a public exhibition in the bearpit. Worth a look if you're wondering through, but generally don't get your hopes up.

Good side:
  • it brightens up the bearpit
  • it's at least attempting to engage with grassroots political activism
  • some of the artwork is good
  • it's free
  • neither Bono nor Bob Geldof are featured

Bad side:
  • none of the work reflects Bristol activism at all
  • it's really pussy, all either tame activism or campaigns made safe by age
  • many of the politicians, writers and musicians featured aren't activists
  • it doesn't engage with the hard slog and difficult reality of activism
  • the joke about potatoes is really crap

Petitioning website 38 degrees. Online petitions are activism for the inactive.
Annoying. Activists are everyday people. So why does this exhibition feature famous politicians, musicians, writers... just about anyone but an activist?
I can't think of any change for the better bought about by a small group of people. Nice bear though.
Che Guevera or Wolfie Smith - I honestly can't tell. Che was a violent romantic who achieved little other than getting a lot of people killed. Wolfie Smith a joke figure from the 70s.
It's always easier to campaign about stuff in faraway countries. It is, of course, pointless. Imagine a group in China campaigning about the UK badger cull - would anyone here give a shit?
Musician and punk icon Joe Strummer. Probably the only person in the show who's a real political activist, having been involved in the Anti-Nazi League, Rock Against Racism and Rock Against The Rich.
"The Marxist analysis has nothing to do with what happened in Stalin's Russia. It's like blaming Jesus Christ for the Inquisition in Spain." Bollocks. Spare me the whiny special pleading, commies. While Marx provided a good critique of Victorian capitalism his work contained no realistic ideas on what happens during and after the Dictatorship of the Proletariat making a totalitarian post-revolutionary disaster inevitable.

I like the irony of the slogan in an art show which is part of cleaning up the bearpit and driving out the beggars.
American political magazine "Mother Jones". The Daily Mail has more political relevance in the UK.
Yawn. It's crying out for a big, scrawled spunking cock 'n' balls right across the whole thing.
My favourite picture. Don't believe the propaganda though. The PRSC started as a private business to make money. In January 2009 it became a profit-making Community Interest Company.
Professional failed politician and former Labour Party leader Tony Benn. I don't think people who earn a good wedge out of politics count as activists.

Where are the Bristol activists - the Mad Militant Maggies, Roland Dyes, Julie Bostons, Ornellas and Dave Redgwells? The ordinary and not-so-ordinary people who've lived in this city in recent years and saved railway lines, run successful cycling campaigns, trashed military bases, held up roads for years. Why does a show about activism at one end of Stokes Croft ignore the recent Free Shop, Smiling Chair and Telepathic Heights squats?

Weak stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment