The lady doth protest not enough

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I have not been to a demonstration since the anti-war protests in London in 2003. That demonstration was ultimately ignored and 14 years later I am certain this demonstration will be ignored as well.

The demonstration today outside Downing street was not on the same scale as the Iraq war marches but it lacked the clarity of those protests, which will make it easier to dismiss. Was this a demonstration about Trump? Theresa May? Immigration? Capitalism? All of the above?

I went to the march out of disgust at the Executive Order on Immigration that Trump signed and the lack of forceful condemnation from the UK government of such a prejudiced and counter productive policy . The only thing that I think a protest on the streets of London could possibly influence is the UK’s government response.

The young crowd outside Downing Street had more eclectic and wider reaching aims. There was a carnival atmosphere to the proceedings and I couldn’t help imagining what the civil rights movement marches were like, and comparing their stoicism with the jamboree of crude jokes on cardboard that was before me on this chilly January eve.

Chanting will never be my thing. The crowd mentality of giving up your choice of words to someone else seems to stop analytical thought.

“His hands are small, he can’t build a wall.”

“Build a fucking fence around Mike pence.”

“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

Chants that would fade in and out, peppered with lone shouts of “Fuck Trump” and “Dump Trump”. I find it bizarre that so many UK citizens are calling for a democratically elected leader of another country to be removed.

The anti-Iraq war movement failed. Have we learned anything from that process? How can we ensure that such a popular swell of public opinion is not ignored again?

The arbiters of success for demonstrations such as the one tonight cannot be attendance numbers and vague notions of solidarity. It has to be their ability to bring about change and the current method of marching has not been effective at changing anything – neither policy nor minds. Yet many people will go home from the march tonight thinking to themselves what a successful nights work.

If there is one thing we can learn from the civil rights movement it is the importance of thinking incrementally. So many protestors tonight came with broad, noble and naïve aims. We need more clarity and specificity. The focus at this juncture for British protestors should be for a stronger statement from Theresa May condemning the Executive Order on Immigration.

P.s The most annoying chant of the night was a call to free Melania and Ivanka Trump. I hate the hypocrisy of belittling and exonerating these women and making an assumption that they have no agency, from behind a faux feminist shield.

Björk Digital

c0522ac9-fcd0-45d7-b9c5-06e95ae26d96I recently went to see this exhibition at Somerset house. Having never experienced VR it was mindblowing. About as mindblowing as TV was to Björk in the 90’s.

Being in a room with a bunch of strangers all blind to the outside world but all witnessing the same experience was slightly disorienting but it was a glimpse at what will surely be the future of communal viewing experiences.

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It reminded me of How Not to Be Seen: A Fucking Didactic Educational .MOV File 2013, a fourteen-minute, single-channel video projection. It consists of five chapters or lessons, each proposing ironic and often humorous ways in which an individual can prevent themselves from being captured visually by digital technology, and adopts the structure and tone of an instructional presentation. Featuring the artist Hito Steyerl and other actors, including members of the crew that helped to shoot it, and narrated by an automated male voice with an English accent, the video addresses the condition of hyper-visibility that emerged in the early 2010s following developments in the way digital images can be created and disseminated, and archived online for the purposes of surveillance. The title of the video makes reference to a sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. 

 

Ketchup sandwiches and other things stupid poor people eat…

Great article by Anastasia Basil that explores the tendency in the U.S to blame poverty on the poor.Healthy sandwich with Ketchup

Don’t confuse aid with charity. Charity is old coats. Donating a coat doesn’t make you a good person but I bet it makes you feel like one. You didn’t even want that coat anymore, what you wanted was the closet space. Sure, you could have sold it at a garage sale and made, like, twenty bucks. It was an expensive coat, damn it. But you, with your heart of gold, gave it away. There’s a twinkle in God’s eye just for you.