[NetBehaviour] Variant, issue 27, Winter 2006
marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Mon Nov 6 14:46:43 CET 2006
Variant, issue 27, Winter 2006
...the free, independent, arts magazine. In-depth coverage
in the context of broader social, political & cultural issues.
text : full issue
pdf : full issue
* Putting Dada Flesh on the Bone
"Historical Dada and Surrealism has found itself reassessed, revised and
repackaged in numerous recent exhibitions...while the popularity of a
litany of artists referencing, name checking and stealing from both
movements is undeniable." Beagles examines "the contrasting aims of two
recent projects to revise accepted ideas about the nature and legacy of
New York Dada - Amelia Jones' book 'Irrational Modernism : A
Neurasthenic History of New York Dada', and David Hopkins' publication
and exhibition at Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery 'Dada's Boys'."
* 'Get a Fucking Job: The Truth about Begging'
A critical, but solidary review by a member of New Social Art School
Prompted by a campaign for a ban of begging in Aberdeen, the book 'Get a
Fucking Job' by The New Social Art School is a collection of
conversations with beggars, former beggars, relatives and support
workers, that as a form of practice is critically assessed here.
Working with banana workers in Costa Rica, and being involved in labour
rights and occupational health issues, personally brought home to Nimmo
the parallels with what's happened to workers' health in Scotland. Nimmo
works asan activist and artist to expose the human and environmental
damage causedby the expansion of big cash crop plantations and their use
of pesticides and agrochemicals, raising awareness amongst UK consumers
of the hidden costs behind the fruit we eat.
* Rose Coloured Spectacles
"[T]he last few years have seen a growing tendency for supposedly
progressive themes to be tackled in big-budget Hollywood fictions, along
with the incorporation of originally marginal aesthetic choices and
strategies in the production of cinematic blockbusters, brands and
franchises. This survey describes some of these phenomena and the
critical response to them, and discusses their ambivalent implications
* Competing Narratives Exposed
Did you hear that two Palestinians were captured the day *before* that
Israeli soldier was?
Many issues problematize mainstream media's coverage of conflict: the
influence of public relations and intense pressure by well-organised
lobby groups to supply journalists with information that supports their
favoured narrative are just a few. The danger is of neglecting
contextualization in favour of what appears to be a preconceived
narrative of action followed by response and retaliation, as with the
June 25th capture of Cpl Shalit by Palestinian militants...
* Blairism on the walls at Kelvingrove
At a cost of nearly £28 million, Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery &
Museum has been radically altered. There is even a 'new epistemology of
museums' attached, drafted by Mark O'Neill, Glasgow's Head of Museums
and Galleries. His apparent innovation is to cast out the old Victorian
taxonomies, replacing them with a classification based on the 'telling
of stories'. Yet the gulf between the 'theorising' and the actual
experience of the museum, Dawber argues, reveals an arch propagandist at
work - that the link between public policy and museum practice is not
always direct, but in the case of Kelvingrove the bonds cut unusually
* Academies, Religion and Private Philanthropy
Vlachos argues that with the forcing through of sponsored Academies:
"What we are now seeing is a return to pre-welfare state economics. An
attempt bygovernment to disengage itself from the delivery of key social
services like education." And even more worryingly, that: "Academy
schools will lead to more ... religious schools, and will
correspondingly increase the fragmentary divisions between young people
and whole societies."
* Louis - The Round The World Rug Race
Louis is an unassuming little worker who lives with his pet bird FC
(Formulaic Companion) in Hamlet, a colourful place in which all the
houses are alike and fenced off. The stories follow Louis' attempts to
live his dreams and draw grown ups and children alike into a scary-cute
world where the citizens' lives are stiffled and their actions more or
less controlled by Entertainment Centres and obscure regulations. A 12
page black and white short story.
* Telling the Truth About Neo-liberalism:
The 2006 Socialist Register anthology
"'A generalized pathology of chronic mendacity seems to be a structural
condition of global capitalism at the beginning of the 21st century'. It
is not just that lies are being told as the occupational hazard of
politicians and their media courtesans, but rather that lying and
hypocrisy have become an endemic condition of the neoliberal world
order." Required reading!
* Rebel Alliances
Interview with Ben Franks, author of 'Rebel Alliances', 'an applied
philosophical perspective on contemporary class-struggle anarchism in
Britain'. Franks comes up with illuminating and entertaining responses,
not least regarding anarchism and academia.
* Ahmadinejad: Myth and Reality
"...as the threat of sanctions and military intervention against Iran
has increased, sections of the anti-war movement outside Iran have
launched a concerted effort in support of the Iranian president Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad. However, inside the country the new government's failure to
deliver any of itspromises of economic prosperity for the majority of
the population has brought nothing more than increased poverty and
repression for the working class, women, youth and minorities." Mather
lays bare a solidary challenge forthe left!
* From Self to Structure: Challenging the 'Happiness Industry'
"...how do we tend to define and understand 'happiness' (or, rather,
what is called 'subjective well being' in certain disciplines); how to
criticallyunpick the 'industry and business' of happiness; and how to
situate these concerns within the contemporary debates we are witnessing
in Scotland, especially centred around the 'confidence and well-being'
agenda and the Scottish Executive drive (and money being spent) in this
* Turkey's US-backed War On Terror: A Cause For Concern?
With the US government aiming to vigorously assist the Turkish state in
hunting down and eradicating the so-called 'rebel' Kurdistan Workers
Party (PKK), many human rights organisations, Kurdish and Turkish
civilians, peace campaigners and public interest groups fear a return to
the genocidal practices and chilling psychological warfare that went on
in the 1990s. This is arelentless exposé and analysis by Fernandes as to
why there is concern over a resurgence of intensive US-backed support
for the Turkish state's 'War on Terror'.
* The Chinese Challenge: Hallucinations for Other Futures
Think Art Lab
Cultures depend on their paradigm of writing, it being the most abstract
mechanism and technology of cultural formations. China's writing is not
limited by alphabetic linearism and digitalism, hence Kerr advances the
possiblere-discovery of the operationality of its writing system for the
design ofnew rational formal systems, such as mathematics and
programming languages, emerging beyond what he sees as exhausted Western
Variant issue 27 also contained the programme for Document 4 :
International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival -
New on the site - Variant Audio...
Robert Fisk, Great War for Civilisation - GFT talk, 14/10/05 (a Document
& GSA collaboration)
* A fully accessible archive of back issues is freely
available at the Variant web site: http://www.variant.org.uk
* Newsprint Magazine Subscription details can be found
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