New series of Outa-Space podcast starts 10th October 2020

The new series will be starting on Saturday 10th October. More info very soon.

You will be able to watch on main podcast platforms.

(we are just sorting that out links will be added)

You can get podcast from this podcast platform now including all of series 1

https://outaspacearts.libsyn.com/

You can also get the podcast from You tube. Its a good idea to do it from here and subscribe to channel as we plan to evolve into video in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg2l70Prcsv01FQlkFjmq3g/

you can also join our facebook group and join any discussions and keep up to date on what we are doing.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/outaspacepodcast/

Pulling down the statues of oppression.

This is an Interview of Rob MacDonald by Greek Marxist newspaper Xekinima

Original article in Greek

During the BLM movement we saw the demolition of monuments of well-known slave traders and exploiters, such as the Statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol. What kind of symbolism does the act of demolishing these monuments have for the movement?

I think the pulling down of these statues was an act of revolutionary art. Sometimes art is an obvious thing like a nice painting or a sad song but sometimes art is not so obvious. 

I believe art is fundamentally the moment when a human makes a decision to solve a problem, this is the creative moment. The core of an artistic work or action is the development of this with the need to express and/or tell a story. This work then can become symbolic either to an individual or collectively in a cultural way. 

These statues such as Colston and Columbus were created to represent a story. The story of the victory of the oppressor. Colston himself was responsible for the transportation of 84,000 slaves. 20% that died en route. It is estimated by the guardian in total 1 million slaves died on the slave ships.  Any charity work Colston did after doesnt repair for what amounts to legal genocide.  

When this statue of Colston was pulled down it was then rolled down the street and dumped in the sea, Just as the slaves were dumped in the sea when they died aboard the ships.  This was a symbolic and very creative moment that balanced out history a bit. Then there was an attempt to replace the statue with one made in similar style but in the form of a BLM protester that had jumped on the empty plinth in the moment colston was toppled.  Of course the local government didn’t leave Colston in the sea which  would have been a fitting artistic expression itself. They also removed the replacement of a BLM protester.  This is important because the authorities are not neutral; they make the choices in favour of the establishment against the movement otherwise why not remove all statues that represent oppression?

These statues were erected originally for symbolic reasons to reinforce what these people stood for which was imperialism at its worst. As this is still something that happens today albeit  in different ways you can understand why elements of  the establishment act like they do. They only remove the other statues due to mass pressure, this is a key lesson for any movement.  

Some people argue that these statues represent  history therefore to pull down the statues denies us our collective cultural heritage good or bad. But there is something here these defenders of history conveniently leave out. History is a process that is connected to today. Wasnt George Floyd murdered too…and without the mass international movement it would have also been legal murder….just like the slaves were. So history is not a  finished thing but part of today’s reality. 

We have to understand the symbols of these statues represent the ideological battles that take place in our society. The dominant ideology today is capitalism and its horrendous imperialistic past that these statues represent is still a factor today in the super exploitation of the world’s masses. The pulling down of a few of them and then the scores that were officially taken down or covered up represents a victory to the BLM movement and the social and class struggle that it represents. But only a victory in the battle, not of the whole war.

Ηave there been similar examples in history where various monuments have received the anger of the protesters? 

Yes. It’s very regular in uprisings, revolutions  and social conflicts that the symbols of oppression get attacked and destroyed. It was the case with Saddam Hussian in Iraq and Lenin statues in the fall of the soviet union are two fairly recent examples but it goes back to the beginning of human civilisation. 

The reason is that artistic symbols are powerful to us; they form deep cultural meaning for the oppressed and oppressor alike. Therefore they are central to any struggle. For a marxist you cannot see this issue outside of the class struggle. 

Isn’t pulling down these statues destroying art?

Whether or not we should target statues or art work in general is for me more of a tactical question in the fight against capitalism. Are these individual acts going to build the mass conscious in the struggle we need? I think the answer is it depends.

 In general I would be for the defence of all art works and would argue for re-replacement or repurposing. I would also focus on the need  for movements that organise, raise concrete programmes and ideas that encourage continued participation and not adventurous acts…. But sometimes you need to act to hit a blow to the enemy, none better than the symbolic statues that look at us every day on our way to work. 

There has been an interesting response in artistic terms with the BLM movement and  new status and monuments in general. There has been an explosion of George Floyd murals across the US and internationally,  his face like others before him has become the symbol of the movement. But there have been others like the erecting of a giant figure of a nurse wearing a mask in Latvia symbolising the role of these heroes in our lives today fighting the Coronavirus.

There has also been the putting of a cold war statue Lenin in Gelsenkirchen, Germany outside the offices of a small communist party. My first reaction to this was “brilliant”. Then I realised it was a big mistake. Lenin for starters I imagine would not have supported the making his image into such a symbol and especially not as it was done by the Stalinist regime which represented the degeneration of the new workers state in Russia which Lenin fought against in his last years. The glorification of leaders is something done by the church with Christ or as we have already mentioned by imperialistic capitalism proving its power. Glorification of leaders is a sign of illness in my opinion and we must move away from this form of monument in favour of collective monument building. 

Tell us how the monument Solidarity Park in Cataluña is being created.

Solidarity Park is a monument being made to the International brigadistas that were killed when the ship the “Ciudad de Barcelona”  was sunk in 1937 just off the coast of Malgrat de Mar, Catalunya in the spanish civil war.  This story has been hidden for over 80 years, firstly the victory of franco in the civil war and then by the transition period when the legacy of the civil war was brushed under the carpet. Now things are changing and a new generation wants to learn what happened. 

It’s true to say the memory of the civil war is still a fault line that runs through Spanish society today. Its legacy is reflected clearly in all struggles in Spanish society including the struggle for independence in Catalonia and women’s struggle just the latest examples. The question of historic memory is also a major political issue in itself. There are estimated to be 1200 mass graves still to be uncovered  The rise of the far right in many countries and now with VOX in Spain make the lessons and relevance of the International brigade are extremely valuable especially for the emerging BLM and anti racist movement.  

So when we started this monument project we had these things in mind, We wanted it to do more than be a lump of interesting rock that you might or might not read what it is about. We decided to make the project of participation and include people in its design, construction and above all in ownership.

This included the making of the central figures of the monument which are sixty brigadistas singing the internationale (which is what they did as they sank to their deaths). These figures were carved in the street, squares and festivals over a 2 year period. The purpose was symbolic but also an opportunity to again and again tell the story and discuss the role of the International Brigades and the relevance. Over 700 people were involved in carving the central figures of the monument. 

We also started a school project which was about learning the history, artistic creation  and designing part of the monument. This part of the project was a break though as really the civil war is not properly taught in Spanish schools.The younger generation want to know their grandparents history especially as it’s so relevant. The school  project has involved about 1000 students so far in many events. It has also gone international linking Catalunya students with students in Germany, Australia and sweden.

We have also involved 100s of other artists internationally and locally in exhibitions and festivals connected to the main project. The first phase of funding of 20K Euro also was crowd funded. There are many ways to tell a story like this and we continue to involve people.

All this means the creation of the monument is very long. 7 years so far since the first idea. The monument itself which is planned to be finished May 2021 it is only the backbone to the wider memory, cultural and  political project. In involving people and highlighting the politics we believe we are honoring the brigadistas as they would not want to be remembered as individuals but for the ideas they died for. 

In your opinion, what is the role of artists in the crisis of capitalism we are experiencing today?

Most artists do not earn their living from art and most give up their passion to pay the bills. Other artists are working in low paid second  jobs to support their art creation as they are compelled to be creative. If you are lucky enough to earn your living in the creative industry you normally have  no rights, no contracts and no finical stability.. 

Capitalism steals the creative energies of the working classes and gives us  the worst conditions of all, arts funding is always the first to be cut by austerity. Why because we will continue to produce art funded or not, paid or not!. Capitalism’s greedy way will exploit this free labour over and over again. 

The weakness of the artist is that although we often know the realities of capitalism we don’t organise enough as workers.  Many artists understand the need to be collective but we have little in collective organization beyond the projects and centres we do them in. So in the present crises of capitalism we need to up our game.

Art in its nature is new, fresh, revitalising and if genuine always revolutionary. These are things the workers movement really needs to grasp . So I say the artists need to turn to the workers movement,  and the workers movement need to turn to the artist. To combine the day to day collective struggle with the cultural struggle for creative freedom. In this way we make our political movement whole.

More info 

www.Solidaritypark.com

Outa-space podcast station launched towards earth.

An International arts and class struggle broadcast.

Nobody can deny the world is in crisis. Socially, politically and environmentally things are being turned upside down. So what will the response of humanity be? Will we evolve or crash out? There are two important players in this game of humanity’s future. One is the workers’ movement and Left in general and the other is the artists. This broadcast is about exploring the relationship between the two and whether we will be able to get our shit together enough to at least finish with the barbarism of Capitalism.

It’s called Outa-space because working class artists often lack the place to make and create work. Whether it be lack of studio, rehearsal areas or just not the resources to be the artist their heart calls them to be.

It’s called Outa-space because the street, the squares and all the common places we mix in are where we need to decide our future. This collective action and street democracy can lead the future of humanity.

It’s called Outa-space because we need to take our minds above the clouds to look down on our planet, to dream, to wonder, but also to see everything in the context of everything else.

Art is just a normal human activity, not a special act by a clever person. The creative moment is central to what humans do to survive and solve problems.

We have a problem with Capitalism, it’s the central problem of humanity. Artists have no choice but to turn their attention to it, but as individual creators we are often weak. The workers’ movement at its heart is unity but often lacks creativity and lags behind. Mixing the two up can give the struggle against Capitalism an edge. Outa-space podcast station hopes to add a little to this process, find out what’s going on internationally, and tell a few stories

It is hoped the project will evolve in time. We hope you stick with us while we define the broadcast. The presenter and show designer is Rob MacDonald, co-host and commentator is Paul Paranoid, and the producer is Jonas Langer. The main artwork is created by Mike Haas. We hope you can collaborate with us. If you want to email Outaspaceinfo@gmail.com

First broadcast soon…..

Happy Birthday Mr Lenin

Today is Lenin’s 150 birthday; I want to celebrate his unique role in the revolutionary socialist movement. That can only be done by attempting to understand the ideas he fought for. There are though more ways than one in grasping what he stood for and this is a story about that.

22/4/20

Background

In October 2017 in the middle of the gigantic political upheavals that were taking place at the time in Catalonia, me and a group of artists who organised under the name “Badart Barcelona” decided to create a performance. We were a mixture of nationalities and we were participating in the independence movement. We called our event “Revolution now and then”.  This was part of a world tour that I was coordinating at the time which took place in 15 countries about the 100 years anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

For me it was one of the best collaborative works I have done to date. Not only was it experimental and successful, but also highly politically provocative. It was also about developing a discussion with a group of young people about what Lenin’s work on the rights to self determination really meant in the moment when it mattered.

At the time some Spanish Communist and left leaders were quoting Lenin but not supporting the uprising that we as Catalans and non-Catalans felt to be also our struggle. It seemed to me their position was – “we support your the right to self determination unless you want it”. This was the inspiration behind creating the Lenin plaque which in Catalan says “I voted” in reference to the referendum of October 1st.

This performance was also done in the teeth of opposition of a revolutionary party who adhered to Leninism that I had a short affiliation with at the time.  They had zero understanding of art, the art of struggle and probably in truth of Lenin himself. The plaque of Stalin (see below) and the smashing of it had a wider reason but for me it also had a personal feeling for these inflexible comrades.

Insurrection as Art 

The event was held in the fundico del Poble nou, Barcelona which was an edgy collective of radical artists who ran an old foundry building for art creation and community activities.  I was a resident artist there for 6 years. Unfortunately, it’s now gone as the gentrification developers eventually knocked it down.

tash2The day started with a successful open meeting on the struggle of artist today and linking of the artists struggle with the workers movement. It is not enough for an artist just to present their creative work and see the job as completed. For us organising, being part of the wider workers’ struggle and building for the ending of Capitalism was key to our need for freedom of expression. This meeting in reality was the first part of our performance.

We wanted to create a performance that mixed our different artistic abilities to tell the story.  We were dancers, visual artists, sculptors and musicians. In the end our performance relied partly on improvisation, in large part because the actual process of revolution that we were representing requires that the actors must overcome unforeseen obstacles and act according to changes on the ground. It was in this spirit that we trusted each other’s abilities and the central themes of our collective ideas. It was also the reality and lack of time to rehearsal due to real revolutionary movements developing outside. In fact many of our rehearsal times were spent discussing the Russian revolution. This process of creation was affected by reality inside the workshop as the local community were using our space to organise the local committee for the defence of the Republic. Although not soviets, they had an element of them and certainly had characteristics of revolutionary local committees.

To tell our story our performance was divided into 6 sections. Disorganization, Building of Dreams, Conflict of Organization, Revolution, Counter Revolution, and Rebirth

IMG_6272Disorganization – Many problems exist in our society but without focus there is not a clear idea of how things can change. With this in mind, Mike Haas ran an art workshop from early in the afternoon. He created a wooden/card based revolutionary tree. The tree represented the growth of ideas that come from seeds of thought, the branches were the different ways these ideas can develop and the roots that can get created when a correct idea takes hold. The workshop created the leaves to give the tree real life. Some of the leaves had political messages.

The leaves were placed in a voting box. This represented the courage of the Catalan people under the repression of Spanish state forces to vote on the 1 October. While the workshop ran guest DJs played tunes. The period of Disorganisation was a thinking time and included many political discussion around the table. There were here loose elements of representing the work of Lenin’s ‘What is to be Done?’.

IMG_6322Building of Dreams – In this act the live synthesized music of Jonas Langer began. This indicated the real beginning of the performance. Jonas sounds started as simple ambiance but was from this point ever present in creating all the moods of the whole performance. Then the sounds of percussion on stone was introduced by me.  I carved stone in time to the music and played a unique percussion on a stone drum kit. The final layer was added by a film of historical clips of the Russian revolution made by Tash McCammon that create the backdrop to the performance. This set the scene perfectly for the first audience participation of the evening, the adding of the leaves from the ballot box to the revolutionary tree.

Conflict of organization – In this act of 4 parts, Shawn Tarver and Jaime Latre dance performance gave a narrative to illustrate the struggle of ideas needed to create a revolution. Their section was named ‘Dialect of Movement’.

Central to the dance was a fight over Lenin’s booklet on the rights to self determination. These ideas are central to the discussions on the left in this epoch, not just in the Spanish state but across the world. A correct understanding of national question was central to the success of the Russian revolution, as were his writings on state and revolution which also played a part inside the performance. There were copies of both booklets for sale at the event.

They utilised their individual styles of Popping and Break-dance to illustrate not only the conflict of ideas but the need for a common programme and the need for unity to win the masses in struggle. They used combat and the style of ciphers to create amazing energy and emotion in the task to win the audience/masses to revolution.

Revolution – This act in the performance had everyone playing to their full energy. It included having the whole audience involved, being led by the dancers. We had previously discussed that audience participation here was key to the revolution and therefore the whole performance. With great relief we achieved this.

Counter Revolution. To represent the painful and often inevitable period of counter revolution, we changed the atmosphere of the performance for this section. Our dancers stopped and returned the audience to their seats, the music became dark and a sculpture of Stalin was placed on the now empty stage. This for us symbolised the betrayal and defeat that can affect revolution.

I was representing the working man struggling to find a way to overcome the counter revolutionary forces as I began to interact with the sculpture. Symbolically with an Ice pick I defaced Stalinist image in time to the beat of the music; this literally caused sparks to come from the stone. Then with a heavy mallet Stalin was smashed on the beat of the music and this then lead to the rebirth of the revolution.

Rebirth – The performance and music erupted again into another revolution, this time the audience were given percussion items to join in the music in the way of a cassolada, a traditional method of protest in Catalonia. This last part of the performance was like a party, a celebration. It continued for some time. Then we finished as the revolution had been completed … at least for now.

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I wrote at the beginning of this article that this was one of the best collaborative works I have done. It’s partly due to the youth and energy of the participants (not me) and the environment we did it in. But mostly it was a moment in time with fine young comrades who all knew we needed to be on the street, that we needed to organise, that we needed to fight for revolutionary socialist change, but we also needed art and culture to tell the wider story.

Some at the time thought this old Bolshevik was leading the youth astray like some sort of drunk Plekhanov (if only)  but in truth it was the willingness of young people to learn from all sides, in a fresh way to truly express and to make themselves broader revolutionaries, to learn from history inside the reality of today, that was inspiring. Yes, we probably got some bits wrong, but its only the wanna be cut and paste Lenins that don’t make mistakes when trying to learn to tell a story to a new generation.  That’s why this was one of the best collaborations I have done.  I hope Mr Lenin you would agree, anyway happy birthday and hopefully everyone can come to your party.

 

 

Coventry 2021 – The City of Homelessness?

A memorial project to Rob Windsor: An injury to one is an injury to all.

I am really pleased to announce the start of a new community participation monument art project. The object of this project for me is very clear. It is to politicise the events around Coventry – City of Culture 2021 while making a memorial sculpture to the ideas, methods and personality of my dear friend and socialist activist Rob Windsor.

As with other Community participation monuments  I have been involved with the idea will be to get the community to design and build a sculpture. In this case I want those affected by homelessness to be the key creators. Rob Windsor championed this cause and  it seems truly fitting to make it central.

At the beginning of January 2020 around the 8th anniversary of Robs untimely death at age of 47 the process of networking all those who loved and respected Rob started to come together. If you want to be involved please get in contact.
#THISISCOVENTRY

Coventry – City of culture or homelessness?

Since hearing about Coventry selection to be the 2021 city of culture I realised this was the moment to put together my ideas I have had for some time in planning to create a memorial for Rob Windsor. The fundamentals of Rob’s approach was always to be political, to draw out reality from what was happening in a situation and then act on it. So that’s how I want to try and create a memorial in his honour.

Recently, after many years away, I spent time wandering around Coventry thinking on this project. I noticed much had changed in the city  but unfortunately somethings were tragically the same, like serious homelessness, the problem literally stood out on every street corner.

My fear for Coventry City of Culture 2021 is that there would be an attempt to pay lip service to the problem but in reality push homelessness and other social questions under the carpet. Many cultural industry development programmes mean well by trying to encourage cultural investment for the city. The problem is they often only have gentrification as their solution, and social problems are moved to unseen places. I look forward to being proved wrong this time but I don’t think its an option to wait and find out. It’s been over 20 years since I left the Coventry and Warwickshire area. Since then despite much hard work from local charities the issue continues, or it seems according to local press reports, gets worse…

“The number of homeless households in temporary accommodation has increased by 186 per cent in Coventry since 2015/16….” according to Coventry Telegraph newspaper.

And then in 2018

“A family became homeless every 10 hours in Coventry last year” Coventry Telegraph newspaper.

So key to this intervention into the Coventry City of Culture 2021 will be to say why homelessness is still such issue and what we need to do to really end homelessness. The way to do that in my opinion is not to ask a politician, policy maker or even an artist but to mobilise people affected to stand up for themselves, to inspire people as Rob Windsor would have done, to clearly point out the social reasons and the necessary conclusions. In the process of designing and building the sculpture we organise, we learn what Rob stood for and create pubic art collectively to our own working class hero.

Rob Windsor an inspiration

Rob worked and politically struggled constantly against homelessness, its causes and the fight for a socialist solution. He was maybe best known for leading the fight against the Poll tax, where his razor wit and attention to detail proved invaluable to bringing down Thatcher. He was also known as a fighting socialist councillor for two terms between 2000-2010. His struggle for the homeless was honoured by Coventry Cyrenians, the homelessness charity, which named a charity and coffee shop after him. In future articles I will expand on my memories of Rob, his ideas and his important personal touch. I hope others will join me.

Windsors & Refreshed Charity and Coffee Shop 

I am also inspired to do this project in the memory of Kevin Hickey. I met Kevin at similar time to Rob. Kevin was homeless when I met him. He was struggling with his own demons. Kevin joined politically and socially with me and Rob. In those days we became very close. Over the years I lost contact with Kevin only to find he had succumbed to his troubles and committed suicide. I carry this sadness but unfortunately young suicide is more common than many people realise. It’s yet another reason to inspire today’s youth with ideas and creativity.

What Coventry culture and art means to me.

For me to return to Coventry to celebrate its culture heritage in 2021 is important, and if possible I can give something back. Coventry is where I started my artistic career as a young unemployed drummer in a band in 1989, we were based in Hillfields where Rob also lived. We were nurtured by the then Depot Studios which was situated behind the Belgrade theatre. This resource was invaluable to us giving us as unemployed young men access to learn about videos, poster art, organising events, and even a failed attempt at a cultural magazine. This for me was a first step of a long career in the creative industry.

How the project will be done

This article is just an opener and a conceptional idea, not the finished plan. The meeting on the 14th January will be the next step, hopefully from there the ideas will grow and we can develop a committee to direct the project. What is needed is your participation, your ideas and your energy. How big this project gets will depend on you and others who believe in it. These projects take time to grow and are as much about the process as the finished product. The previous community participation projects have focused on young people and the wider community being involved in educational workshops and activities. Held in community centres, schools, festivals and on the street. I think it’s an ideal time to mark Rob Windsor’s contribution to the city of Coventry; if you agree with me get involved.

P.S. If you can’t come on 14th January or you’re not in Coventry but want to help, then just send me a message or email. My number is 07835788919. At some point we will have to fundraise, and anyone who can’t wait to donate can pay at Rob007mac@gmail.com

For more info on Rob MacDonald, see my Facebook page  or website www.outa-space-com.

Further links

Homelessness charities in Coventry

Tributes to Rob

plaque
The feature photo of this article is Rob outside council house burning poll tax bills. This is a work inspired by that picture. The work was dropped and broken and remade as best it could be. It originally had “an injury to one is a injury to all”. Breaking this work made me sick to the stomach and I left it undone for 6 years. Only recently I had the courage to make the most of it as I knew I would be attempting to create something better in Rob’s memory

Murdered for Painting

July- 2019, Stockholm – 66521503_1338055693012893_1765695118771224576_oOn July 8, 1973, in Uruguay, Walter Medina, 16 years old, was murdered by police. He was shot in the back when in protest he was painting “constitution popular” on a wall.

Walter Medina was politically active, wrote poetry, and played theatre. Over five days in the streets of Stockholm Rob carved a stone wall in Walter’s honor we had lots public participation, and importantly, the family’s involvement. We explained Walter’s struggles and the need to continue the struggle today. The process ended in an arts festival organised by BadArt with many other participants creating protest art.

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Periphery is the Centre project takes off!

Periphery is the centre started in May 2019 and is ongoing. It is a community art project to create participation monuments in Gothenburg, Sweden. The project is supported by Hyregastforeningen (tenant union). There are presently two connected projects running, one in Angered and other in Rannbergen, and maybe others in the future. Over 600 people have so far been involved. The project continues in Spring 2020.

The people who live on the periphery of Gothenborg are the centre. They are the life blood of the city. By ‘periphery’ it is meant not just physically those who live in the working class housing estates that surround the city, but those who are on the periphery in general whether it be by class, gender, race, or social situation, like refugees and immigrants. This project is about saying those who are pushed to the edge of society should be recognised, for we are the majority. We run society. We are the centre.
The main idea of the artwork is to celebrate our unity and diversity and together create a monument to struggle and internationalism of the people of the periphery.

Such a lot took place in summer 2019 and so many people were involved there will be more posts soon. You can follow on Facebook.

Here is a video of process and plans made by a local resident. https://youtu.be/YJBzIEmmjtM

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Solidarity Park enters next phase

36188943_10156312656951278_3321795236497195008_nSolidarity Park  started in May 2016 and is ongoing. This project is building a memorial monument to the International Brigadistas of the ship Ciudad de Barcelona that was sunk in the Spanish civil war. The project method is to have mass participation in the process of creating a memorial. over 1,000 local and international people have created art and participated directly in creating the monument. There is a parallel International schools project which has a direct involvement in designing the memorial monument. There have been a number of exhibitions showing the process of the work, the latest being Brigadistas Return. The first stage of this project raised €20,000 from crowd funding.  The second stage, which is funded by the local council, has now started.  The physical monument is forecast to be completed by May 2021. In May 2020 there will be a number of events taking place to mark the anniversary of the sinking, including placing the first stone … more information soon. To find out more See the Solidarity Park website.

Video of Interview with Rob MacDonald about Brigadista Return Exhibition.

Speech by Rob MacDonald speaking about Solidarity Park at the May Day event in Gothenburg and launching Periphery is the Centre.

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Why I want you to donate to community participation monuments. 

IMG-5312Monuments are political 

Whether they are memorials to people or events at the core monuments, public art has a political message. Who has the power to erect these works controls that message and public spaces in general? It’s almost exclusively the rich, powerful and establishment that decide. In this political context the idea of community participation monuments (CPM) is developing. I want to challenge this notion of who can put up a monument and put ordinary people’s stories central.

We need to tell the story of the working classes, disenfranchised, underrepresented, and forgotten in our society, and create public art that represents us. Its important to tell these stories by using the energy of those who it is important to and by their active participation. CPM in that regard sees itself as part of, and an aid to, social and political movements.

Creating a solid financial base

I am in the process of creating two community participation monuments/public art works. Solidarity Park and Periphery is the Centre. There has been an army of participants in both projects but I realize already I cannot do this project alone, and I cannot continue without financial backing for running costs.

My aim is to create a professional cooperative and linked network to continue these projects and develop others. The first task is to create a solid financial base. While I have financial support from crowd funding or sponsoring organizations for the actual projects, the organizational structure and daily costs are not being met. Most of the development work for the projects, the participation work I do in schools and on the street, is for free. I also have no cushion for the many complications, delays and unseen costs. While I am inspired to do the projects I obviously need to eat.

I feel because of the nature of the projects I must be answerable to people that share my vision. So I want the sponsorship from you not governments or companies. If you donate and send me a contact email, I will show you my accounts I will consider you my democratic base. I will not take any more money than a average skilled worker’s wage. Surplus money will be put back into developing a bigger team and projects that don’t have independent funding.

Examples of why I need your money

The monthly running cost of creating this type of work is significant for a single artist. I have basic monthly running costs as follow: €300 self employment tax, €400 workshop rent, €250 petrol and tolls costs, €150 payment for van, €100 accountants, €100 insurance. €800 personal (rent and food). A total of €2,100 that must be found each month to continue. With a yearly cost of at least €25,200

For the last three years I have been dedicated to the solidarity park project. We successfully raised €17,500 by crowd funding which paid for the creation of 60 half meter stone figures and allowed me to develop a community campaign. I have done teaching to supplement income but the work now is too intense for that.

We now have the agreement of the local council to fund the remaining installation of solidarity park. But I am not a big company that local councils are used to working with. I have had to borrow money to produce the rest of the work with payment at the end of the project. This in reality for me means no wages for over 2 years and a big debt and all the risks that come with this. So I need support to build a secure future for the CPM idea.

What I need to continue

My plan is to raise by public donations half my yearly running costs. €12,000. Fund-raising itself is a tough job. But I am hopeful you will back me. I hope to develop a more sophisticated methods of encouraging you to support me, like workshops, merchandise, mini sculptures etc. but for this moment I just ask you for whatever you can afford.

There are a few ways to donate

To start with, you can use the Facebook fundraising campaign I have started. My Facebook page

You can go to Solidarity park crowd funding page which can be found at solidarity park crowd funding

You can donate by PayPal rob007mac@gmail.com or Paypal.me/robmacstone
I will shortly be creating a payment page where other options will be available.

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f**k have I got to learn Viking

65E97FA3-CA83-4663-A821-9B07DC800C3AHey, I am getting involved in a new project. The idea is a similar format to www.Solidaritypark.com project. That project was five years in the making and is now hopefully about to enter a critical and intense phase. I am going to be insanely busy. A great time maybe I think to build the bridge to my next project.

So I’m off to Sweden, first to Hammerkullen, Göteborg. This bridge’s foundations were already in existence. I was invited in August 2017 to be an artist of the #HAU17 project and Video . I am very honoured to be invited back. My focus in Gothenberg will be similar to the last time with issues such as refugees, social rights, and internationalism but this time I hope much  bigger, more participation and definitely more direct with #participationMonument

For me the process is as important as the finished item. Making art can focus our consciousness and give us confidence in general. If we do that collectively it can create solidarity and a common symbol for us to gather around. Social and political movements need culture and creativity. Well, more than need they must have them. Without it’s like being at sea without a compass. Solidarity Park for example in a modest way and part of a wider process is a symbol for the need to recovery the historic memory of the spainish civil war! The International Brigades and all that means, people participating creatively can tell many stories at once and allow us to discover the whole.

So today with this blog post I start a new process. I hope through this website and Facebook page to keep anyone interested and up dated but also keep myself in check.  I have a lot of basic ideas which I am hoping others will develop and change. 

This first trip is amount communication. So maybe I have to learn some Viking, well the Swedish version. Luckily most Swedes speak English … but really with the subject matter I want to deal with would be nice to at least try and not always speak my imperialist tongue. Then again Hammerkullen has a population of 80% immigrants, many originally South American. My journey in learning Spanish and Catalan has been long and hard and still proves to be so … oh f**k.

I have always been threatened with accusations of being dyslexic. People close tell me all the time and I often reject it but at times I feel it in an extreme way. For me this complication has to become an inspiration otherwise I’m finished. When we are told we can’t, we have two choices. Either we believe it or we don’t. I choose to be thick and ignore the obvious obstacles. It works for me (after all we are a long time dead) to say things aren’t possible. 

So me learning Swedish quickly or at all is not likely. But if the front door is shut try the the back door, a window and if necessary sometimes a battering ram to open another way. Thankfully communication is not all about language. 

So Göteborg here I come.