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‘Casseurs’ then and now.

Riots and strikes in France this week have been widely publicised. Refineries have been closed, rail travel affected, and according to the BBC, “Riot police battled protesters in Paris and other cities, making 77 arrests, while 15 officers were injured and cars and shops were vandalised.” Much has been made of the activities of ‘casseurs’,…

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British Conceptual Art

There’s an exhibition of British conceptual art, 1964 – 79, at Tate Britain at the moment. The catalogue sees stages in the development of conceptual art: – new frameworks: slightly childish reaction against contemporary Modernist art as described by Clement Greenberg, although many early UK conceptual artists did not knowof US equivalents and worked in…

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Unfortunate Signs 4: Try Praying

Richmond May Fair last weekend. Amidst the crowd, two men sit alone at a stall. Richmond Green was crowded, yet (at that moment) no-one was interested in their stall. The standing man turns his hands outward in a gesture that could be despair or resignation. The seated man smiles as if to reassure him. No-one…

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Cyberparty: Popular Politics in Digital Times

A conference at Kings last Friday had something of the excitement, the sense of destiny, that delegates must have felt at the early socialist meetings (perhaps the Second International meeting in London in 1896, held not so far away from Kings). Here was an international group of people making new things happen in politics, people…

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George Mallen’s recollections of Richmond

Sharon Irish‘s talk on Stephen Willats last night was also remarkable for the presence in the audience of George Mallen, who contributed some fascinating reminiscences of working with Willats and Gordon Pask in the latter’s company, System Research Limited, based in Richmond. This was in the 1960s/ 1970s, when computers were neither as developed nor…

Stephen Willats as artist

Last night, Sharon Irish gave a talk on Stephen Willats at the CAS. I find it very difficult to get my mind round Willats’ work. I’ve admired him since reading in A Computer in the Art Room by Catherine Mason that, in one of his teaching projects, “students dug a hole at a point determined…

Psychogeography in London

A day long meeting about ‘Mythic London’ at Treadwells yesterday brought together several psychogeographers. Iain Sinclair, author of ‘London Orbital’ about the M25 and ‘London Overground’ about the Overground line, is perhaps the best known. “The heartbeat of the new London might be revealed, I felt, by tracking the acoustic footprints of the railway for…