Epos257 – Residency 1
Date: March – May 2013
Urban Shoot Painting
Epos257 joined Upper Space in March 2013 to explore and develop the Urban Shoot Paintings project that was initially started in 2009. The theme – a gesture signalling an attack – remains the same. Its essence, however, relates more to the very roots of guerrilla art (for it now involves a homemade weapon and ammunition production) that was established at the end of the 1960s in the US by activist groups refashioning billboard adverts. Furthermore, Epos moves around with the weapon in the open urban landscape. In this case, it is not an attack on a particular advert but billboard as a medium in general, which in this context represents a painter`s canvas in the urban landscape.
An attack on the commercial world. The world that is visible via the constant dictatorship of commercial advertising within public space. It is a clear gesture of attack.
The whole production process passes personally through the hands of the artist from the formation of the molds, the casting of the ammunition casings to the charging of each projectile with saturated colors. Each piece is an original.
Protest exists not only in the event itself, but it is an integral part of the process for the attack, creating a complex work and the project. It is a strenuous practice, but all the more radical, as it portrays an individual’s autonomy over a means of production, which rallies against uniformity, against mass production and standardization.
The act of shooting destroys both the commercial image and the artifacts that are made for the purpose. By shooting into billboards the artist expresses a clearly targeted demonstration of his attitude. A critical and emotionally charged statement which at the same time shows uncompromised sovereignty.
Could we evaluate this as a form of an aesthetic, terrorist act? What exactly is terrorism? Who determines what is beneficial for society and what is not? In our current age, corporations control more and more of the state apparatus, as a result, could the ideology that enforces advertising not also be an act of terrorism against us?
Act 1 – ‘Canon’
Act 2 & 3 – ‘Mode of Production’ / ‘Sculptures’
Act 4 – ‘Attack’
Exhibit – ‘Cultural Hijack’ Exhibition, AA Gallery, London
Intervention – ‘Grave’ (Shift//Delete & Epos257)
Intervention on abandoned building site, Ancoats, Manchester.
- candles, plastic, flowers from cemetery.
The chasm between citizens and political institutions and political parties is growing. In one sense it is part of the effect of globalization and the nation-state crisis; however, it is also expressed and emphasized by the new, large-scale forms of urban development, which are socially segregating, environmentally unsustainable and politically dubious. If the city is both the producer of citizenship and the generator of innovation, it is therefore the soil in which democracy lives, progresses and responds to new challenges. Without the city, the place that maximizes exchanges between people, democracy loses its strength to create potential futures and promote current actions. The city is the past, present and future of democracy. Without a vision and constant activity to construct the city that is built up and torn down every day, we accept the slow, steady degradation of democracy.
Between 1997 and 2007, Manchester city centre property developers were gifted public land (some contracts saw prices set at £1 per sqm for city centre developments) that saw the construction of 15,000 apartments in order to increase the density of higher earning and higher tax paying individuals within the city centre as a precursor for increased tax revenues. This ideology was a mirror to other large scale Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) land grabs that were rolled out across the UK after the ‘Isle of Dogs’ development established a new financial industries hub in central London and a new paradigm for urban planning and development. Using new powers of acquisition, local councils and property speculators can move into communities and redevelop huge swathes of land in order to absorb surplus capital accumulation and gentrify city centre districts.
This intervention was installed in Ancoats, once the centre of the birth of industrial capital in Manchester – Cottonopolis. The area was earmarked for redevelopment prior to the 2008 financial crisis as low income neighbourhoods were cleared ready for new cosmopolitan apartment complexes. As the financial crisis hit the UK, the developers quickly exited, a story that echoes across the UK and the western world. You can see where the money ran out, the border between.
Here, five years after the 2008 financial crisis, we mourn the death of community. The chosen site abandoned as a result of the financial crisis, leaves nothing but mausoleums to late Capitalism in the midst of a now segregated and partially gentrified, low income neighbourhood.
- Shift//Delete, Epos257
With thanks to: