Arts & Elbows

A catalogue of commentary on events in Thanet and occassionally the rest of the world.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Art Guerillas in the Mist

Picture the scene; an expensive space devoid of viewers for a few pieces of French art designed to take huge sums of local art funding out of the area for the benefit of anyone but local artists. Ironically the show is entitled "Unite" although that brave cry isn't extended locally, with most alienated from funding rather than united with it.

Suddenly from nowhere there's two musicians filling the space with sound, and a reporter and photographer from the Gazunder watching them. The trumpet player plays an ode to lost opportunities.

The guitarist takes the spotlit but otherwise empty stage. He's clearly breaking all the rules in becoming the first local artist to perform in this space.

He wanders around playing as one of the staff makes a hurried call to management, while the other puts out a priority call on the "shop safe" radio system. Priority calls are meant to be reserved for robberies, assaults or other serious crimes. For some reason musicians playing in a Turner Contemporary venue is rated as criminal, interesting when most locals consider how the millions wasted by the Turner Centre as a greater crime by far.

Ejected onto the street and greeted by the Community Wardens who seem bemused by the whole thing. Although one of them is convinced that for me to take photographs on the public highway is an offence. Despite having been warned I continue to exercise my rights as a free man although apparently this is a serious breach of "Human Rights" and this point is stressed aggressively.

Having surpressed her apoplexy the management find time to talk to a journalist from the Gazette. The reporter was far from impressed with being told her photographer was also breaking the law, and being versed in the legal liabilities of journalism wasn't having any of it.
It did beg the question "What are they trying to hide?".

Finally Turner Centre management face those dastardly criminals, internationally reknowned musicians Mark Hewins and Jim Dvorjack protesting at the one-way flow of arts funding out of the area and the lack of inclusion for local artists.
This gentle protest revealled more than local disaffection, it showed just how much the Turner loathes locals, local talent or anything that might question the construction of their highly profitable, for them, ivory tower.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sound these two guys made in that space was mesmerising. I could have listened all afternoon.
They made a well timed and valid point in a harmless yet poetic way.
Anyone who wants a free download of Mark and Jim can go to
Also their respective backgrounds are on Calyx, the Canterbury website. More pro-active soft protest like this would be welcome.
The big black ball in the Turner seemed to diminish in size compared to the Mark's and Jim's balls. More please

10:22 PM  
Blogger A Dashing Blade said...

Nice one, will be commenting and linking.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Richard Eastcliff said...

Went to see The Blob the other day. I refused the nice TC lady's efforts to explain it to me, as I preferred to make up my own mind, which was that the whole thing was a waste of a potentially good space. Might be alright for the Tate Modern, I suppose, but it's doing nothing for Margate.

So good luck to those guerilla musos! And what utter tosh about it being illegal to use a camera on a public highway! Don't those Community Wardens get any basic legal training?!?!

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This really highlights the disparity of funding and recognition between 'visual' arts and NEW Music in GBR as a whole...
And the waste of funds on unnecessary 'art managers' in the local area.

But these guys R O C K !


1:17 PM  
Blogger Snailspace said...

Comunity Wardens are nothing more than Wombles.
They have no power and can only clear up the mess left by others

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you so much for the link Adrian, I thought the post was interesting in itself, but I wanted to know what the music sounded like...

9:00 PM  
Blogger shed said...

now,,umm i was sleeping under the stairs of this art place, and i heard this, this, this, music, it triggered that re- occuring dream i get of the 'dancing teeth',,i awoke from my squatting snooze to,,,,,,,,,,,could this be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made a follow up visit to the Gurner Temporary to gauge the reaction and one of the girls who was minding the the shop on the day of the performance was there. She was very vocal about the event.

She said that the two of them were angry and hurt, that they had felt threatened and insulted by these agressive middle aged males ( not you Arty, you're still young and beautiful)who showed disrespect for the art and who abused their rights and policy of no photography.
I explained to her the exact intention of the event but she was having none of it and seemed determined to change the intent of the performance.
I felt at the time that the mood was quite calm and within a minute or so obviously unthreatening to anyone with reasonable peceptual apparatus.
In fact the mood only became borderline vexed when 'Matron' showed up to give us a ticking off.
In the end she(Matron) inadvertently made the event more successful than we had hoped for.

So during my conversation with the young Turner 'intern' on Friday I did apologise for any distress caused. On reflection I did feel that she exaggerated and 'overcooked' the points she made.
Disrespect for the art was not part of the protest. The musicians unpacked their cases on the surface at the front near the entrance where it says 'Montana'
and they got onto the little stage briefly. Apparently these structures are part of the art.
Frank Zappa wrote a song about Movin' to Montana to grow a crop of dental floss (bless 'im)
Keep Smiling!

12:12 PM  
Blogger shed said... i sleep where ever i can, boxes, B and Q sheds, stairwells etc,,people will sometimes put coins in my hat and take pictures of me. Am i their work of art? I ask; why do golf courses have tini small white balls, and art gallerys have huge black ones? either way i think these spaces could be cozy for the night, i have to scout all night to find a place where people won't trespass on my dreams!
a poem from the street;

give me some money
and i will buy you a coffee
give me some food
and i will give you a bite

i peer into these windows
with hanky in hand
shopping for a sub
in this conscienceness of night

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blimey Shed, Keep the batteries in that laptop charged.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent I too have linked and commented:
Over on the excellent “Arts and Elbows” blogsite,
there’s an article about a protest concerning the philosophy driving the Turner project in Margate.
I have very little knowledge of either the Arts or Music scene in Thanet, but I do know that we have some very talented local people that are existing on a shoe string. I also know the hugely beneficial effects development through art and music can have on people’s lives and can contribute to the local economy.
To me the Turner millions are being squandered on dubious “foreign” ie non Thanet artists to titillate those that belong to the Art elite.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems very strange to me that musicians would protest about uneven funding distribution in an arts organisation. And actually, at the expense of another arts organisation... Talk about fighting over crumbs! Surely there's a more positive way of getting free publicity.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crumbs!! you dont have the first idea about the size of their personal pie... Here are the FACTS about aso called 'arts' organisation that has no current exhibition and few ideas (lots of managers though). Source; "State of Art 2006" magazine. (THESE FIGURES ARE OLD NOW)

£2,520,795 on principle architect’s fees, including the cost of the ill-fated test obelisk.

£1,153,132 on staff (STAFF?!!!)

£780,073 on promotion, entertainment and a change of identity.

£609,013 on project managers and quantity surveyors.

£466,232 on town planners and technical consultants

£299,155 on miscellaneous professional services

£249,746 on premises and office costs

£170,000 on other costs (Such as?)

£103,403 on secondary architects fees

£33,782 on travel (Where TO!!!)


12:52 PM  

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