Thursday, 24 March 2011

some things that happened in 1977

Elvis Presley died

The national front marched up New Cross High Street in South London and fought the local community

The Scottish Minorities Group opened the first Gay Centre in the UK on Sauchiehall St, Glasgow

Egyptians took to the streets in anti-government riots demonstrating their disillusionment at the nepotism and corruption of their government

Muunamr Gadafi proclaimed that Libya was to be a state of the masses, a direct democracy governed by the people through local popular councils and communes

The Glasgow women’s centre was operating from up a close in miller street publishing a Feminist underground publication called Hen's Own

The first ever computer went on sale

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

TAA call out - c'mon get involved !

20th - 23rd April 2011

Temporary Autonomous Art Events and Exhibitions were born in London in 2001 to the Random Artists collective. Taking influence from Temporary Autonomous Zones and the belief in building fleeting pirate utopias, TAA utilises DIY culture tactics to create space for art and expression outside of the established art-world elites. Reclaiming and reusing derelict urban spaces, TAAs are a hotbed for emerging artists crossing all disciplines, encouraging fusion and collaboration between traditional and contemporary media. Artists are invited to be their own curators, and the combined effect of their diverse works is one of hope and beauty, unified through the use of free space.

Random Artists invite creative practitioners and activists working in all media to get involved by:

- contributing artworks (visual, sound, film, performance, spoken word, new media, etc.);

- leading workshops and skill-sharing sessions;

- sharing critical ideas about art and politics as part of our discussion forum;

- or just offering some hands-on help as we create a social space out of a derelict site.



TAA seeks to generate critical debate about aesthetic and political issues, and will include a series of talks and discussions reflecting on our own practice as artists and activists, and what place it has in the contemporary social/political environment. We aim to bring together voices from both grass-roots and academic backgrounds in order to map where we are now, and propagate ideas for future action.

The content of these debates will be participant-lead. Contributions may take the form of talks, films, zines, visual artworks etc. which will feed into group discussions throughout the event.

Topics for discussion might include, but are in no way limited to:

Re-examining the relations between art and politics in the “now” – Does the idea of an “avant-garde,” with its revolutionary implications, have any relevance in a postmodern cultural/political environment? What would constitute a “political art” for the 21th century?

Exploring concept of “autonomy” – what political and ethical issues are raised when spaces are organised according to autonomous principles? Are self-organised spaces ends in themselves, or can they also be the means to a more strategic social change?

Relations between underground and overground culture – how do we understand what's inside/outside the hegemonic system? Counter-culture or sub-culture? When do alternative economies end up reinforcing the values they try to resist?

Politics and pleasure – what is the role of desire in bringing about political change? Is the development of pleasure (sexual, chemical, aesthetic) an aim in itself? Can the pursuit of pleasure lead towards wider political emancipation, or does hedonism serve to nullify cultures of resistance?

Tactical approaches to activism in a time of surveillance culture, and the role of media and social networking technology in grass-roots organisation – how has the rise of social networking platforms in mainstream culture changed approaches to activism? Who's listening – is there any privacy on the internet? How do we generate networks beyond the horizon of facebook, twitter etc?

Diversity in alternative cultural spaces – Are our social spaces as welcoming to different communities as we would like them to be? Is it possible for an autonomous group to be internally diverse, or are the aims of autonomy and diversity antagonistic? What can we do to recognise and resist the creeping prejudices that end up fragmenting underground movements (including our own?) along lines of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class etc.?

But again, this is by no means set in stone and we are open to new ideas and suggestions so if you are interested in getting involved and have ideas to present, whether as an individual or a group, please get in touch by emailing us at

Monday, 7 March 2011

high society

Managed to finally make it down to High Society last week, it is an interesting exhibition at the welcome centre charting changing societal relationships with drugs along with visual art inspired by drugs and drug culture. Some highlights included the webs of spiders created when the spider was under the influence of certain drugs:

and a small drawing of a star chart by the superb artist Fred Tomaselli. Tomaselli often embeds pills, capsules, tablets, weed and cannabis stalks into his art work before glazing the entire piece in resin. One of my favourites of his is the expulsion:

High Society is definitely an appealing premise but disappointingly there was very little exploration of contemporary drug culture. Surely the rave culture of the late eighties and early nineties and the explosion of the use of the ‘love drug’ ecstasy demands more attention as well as the current constantly evolving internet legal highs such as mephedrone and all its re-incarnations continuously created to avoid illegality. Unfortunately these glaring omissions leave the spectator with many unanswered questions.