James has stumbled in from an evening of drafting ideas for the next issue of FUN magazine, now I'm not one for talking about her indoors but mild annoyance has encouraged me to do so. After discussing their ideas for the next issue based on body modification (radical) and people who offer themselves up to being murdered, I was passed a copy of Issue 5. On the cover, under the banner F.U.N is a picture of what seems to be a sleeping child, James informs me 'its a dead baby'. A flick through a few more pages and we're onto an image of a dead man with about 40 knifes stuck in his body, I hand the magazine back.
It's taking me ages to articulate what I want to say in this blog about this publication but to cut to the chase I think it stinks of East London anti-cool (fyi its not cool to be cool so anti-cool is cool) - James tells me the whole point of it is to question the human form and proclaims 'that man was probably killed lawfully and this is just your knee jerk reaction' - Now I think this argument would stand or be more palatable if it was balanced with cohesive articles on capital punishment, child death etc but looking at their website 'Your mum was found on this server' I'm really not sure this is the politic they are pushing for.
Now It may not surprise you that its contributors are from Vice and Real Gold. I guess I should expect this from a group of 30yr old + artists who live in London Fields, drink at the Alibi and ride a fixed gear but I'm asking myself why this magazine, I've barely looked at titled 'Fun' flogs images of dead kids leaves a bad taste in my mouth? Maybe it questions my values or ethics but I really don't think that was at the heart of their intention, even so when I probe James in how he would feel if our nephew was pictured dead on the cover of a magazine in Berlin he feels uncomfortable with the idea - I guess then this means its OK if the dead child is one you don't know? - "that's different, that baby died 100 years ago"- Maybe its the lack of humanism attached to presenting the images that's upsetting?
There is a broader argument to have here about the censorship of work and the viewer. Last year after seeing Kim Nobles show 'Kim Noble Will Die For You' in which he gives his spunk to young women in the audience, gave his ex girlfriends telephone number out with instruction to insult and threw money at black people I was left with the same troubling questions - is this progressive? am I easily offended? is it just me that thinks this is rubbish?
There is this recent trend is fucking off your audience (Romeo Castellucci's 'On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God', Ontroerend Goed's 'Audience') as some sort of artistic statement or radical engagement that is seen as revolutionary or forward thinking, I think its basic, juvenile, cheap and lazy. Throwing images at me of dead human beings is like Noble throwing a strop because I won't leave his auditorium when he is supposedly "kicking me out of the show".
It's likely they'll use this blog as some sort of inspiration to buy another Victorian image off ebay or do a limited edition print of it for a gallery show at Truman. It'll only encourage them but I'm not interesting in them, I just wanted to air my feelings and find your stance - educate me.
Maybe I'll go down Vyner Street on First Thursdays with a few knifes and post the images on my tumblr, although I'm sure they won't be there because they are of course cooler than that.
In the interest of democracy - http://www.greatenjoyment.com/main.html
After thought: Is this the difference beween fine art and performance - one can deliver the politic or message over a period of time and explain its meaning, the other is face value? Is this the shit you learn at art school? Why do I feel I'm not in on the joke? Am I the thick one?