Monday, January 02, 2012

2012 - The Gathering Storm


So the year “everyone's been waiting for” has arrived and we can't ignore the fact that we're confronted by a pretty diabolical constellation of forces. The assault on/implosion of Europe, democracy, the welfare state, culture and the environment are all accelerating, generating new forms of resistance and despair in the process. It's a time of crisis and disintegration and much of this is going to become ever harder to ignore or deny – the phony war is over. A time of crisis demands an art of crisis and with luck the rediscovery of early 1980s art and music over the last decade may have proved a useful training in techniques for a similarly conflict-riven and potentially apocalyptic time. It's interesting to note how the still-developing NSK Folk Art movement has begun to flourish just as social and economic conditions have worsened since 2008. 2012 will see more exhibitions of NSK Folk Art and very probably more politicised responses like those of David K. Thompson.


2011 saw the publication of State of Emergence, the first NSK Rendez-Vous events in Lyon, London, New York, Leipzig, Nuremberg, and Munich and the NSK Folk Art opening in Ljubljana. Spring 2012 will see some exciting and even utopian artistic events take place in London and I'll say more about these soon. They promise to bring innovation and a politicised artistic spirit and should provide some memorable moments of defiance. They will be contrary to the incipient conformist conservatism of British culture and to the enforced climate of playing safe and not taking risks.

At a recent event to discuss the re-release of the original Throbbing Gristle albums, Cosey said that she believes that the crisis (potentially a new Great Depression) would be good for art and creativity, forcing people to respond and innovate and if she's right there's much to play for, particularly if artists and musicians can develop and respond to the insurgent/critical spirit now animating what the British like to call “extra parliamentary politics” without falling into the traps of (counter)-authoritarianism and new orthodoxies. If this is to be a year of catastrophic collapse it will at least be marked by a growing number of hard-hitting artistic responses that will be remembered for a long time, regardless of what happens next. So let's approach 2012 in a combative, defiant and creative spirit, carving out conceptual space and asserting creativity in the face of collapse.