Crossed lines, no longer secure

One year ago, I was sat in bed. My partner-at-the-time was sleeping on the floor. I had found out a couple of days before that he had fucked another woman in his friend’s house on the Tuesday. I had left a full-time job at the beginning of the academic year, to give my time to the Junior Fellowship at Goldsmiths. Since September a family friend of his had offered us the attic room in her house for £175pm each. I could just get by on savings and my meagre income from the university. So, when things felt irreparable, I couldn’t afford to leave. He shared his privileges with me, which then became cruelly twisted.

It was a Saturday, and I just found out Mark Fisher died. Mark. The only person who made me feel like I belonged in the academy. Mark. Who’s text Good for Nothing made me cry because it articulated that same class power(lessness) I felt. Mark. The lecturer who I hung about after class to chat to, because I wanted to make sure he was okay. His vulnerability emanated from him. Mark. Who was glorious when angry, beautifully articulating those things at the back of your mind, those things that had been bothering you all your life, you just couldn’t name it. He was wonderful at naming things. Once named, we could do something about it – at least we hoped.

My partner and I sat separately on the bed, each of us crying. Neither of us able to comfort one another. I was too repulsed by him to even touch him. There was a particular cruelty to the chain of events, as those who had begun to build my trust and self-worth were rapidly taken away. So we cried. We hoped it wasn’t suicide, but we knew it was. Then it was confirmed and we cried more. I don’t remember much else from the rest of that day, other than receiving messages on Facebook as we lived too far away from our support networks.

I became fanatic, fixating desperately on Mark and being active on campus. Our attic bedroom became a site of despair, confusion and depression. Once I moved out in June, I returned once to collect my things, attempting to go on my own. As soon as I entered the room I had a panic attack lasting several hours, not stopping until my friend came over (reluctantly because he had also fallen out with my partner) and helped me. I spent six months in that space that I felt I couldn’t afford to leave. My declining mental health making any thought of getting another job and leaving impossible. We lived an hour (sometimes an hour and a half, depending on traffic) away from our support networks, our friends and our workplaces. Everything was an hour away from the emotional abuse we submitted one another to. Our landlady despaired, she was also going through a hard time after her parents’ deaths. It was a miserable, miserable period. I am relieved to no longer be there.

Friday night at Res., this came flooding back to me as I blinked back tears. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone what was going on in my personal life at the time. I felt classed and gendered, not finding any understanding. Respite came in the form of friends who let me stay with them, as well as organising on campus, fighting for Mark’s memory. I burnt out every week. Commuting, working, campaigning, crying, drinking, smoking, drugs, sleeping for long periods, spending long days inside too burnt out to move. I was lucky to have a roof over my head in London and I still value my landlady’s generosity every day. Privilege sharing is important. But when I did view the house I was going to move into, I cried because the residents made tea and were kind and caring. All of this is a reminder to never privatise myself to a single individual again and the mindfuckery that goes with that. Being communal in our selves is important. Considering Bifo’s writings, sense is indeed made in shared spaces and happiness is most certainly of the corporeal mind.

I miss Mark deeply. He just got what it is like to be poor. There was a bitter irony to my lived situation, and the loss of such a wonderful man. If he couldn’t manage it… we were scared. I think of him every day. I wish I’d told you how important you were to me. I wish your care wasn’t a rarity. You helped me feel like I belong somewhere, even if that was in not-belonging. Because you felt you didn’t belong either, Mark. The marks of class are indeed designed to be indelible, you understood it so well. I miss you.

When your dad talked about Hillsborough at your memorial, that you were there, and had carried that survivor’s guilt with you. I cried even harder. It made sense. It continues to make sense. You were a constellation of such incredible histories, communities and memories. And you lived the contradictions, perhaps more personally and creatively than many. I am so glad I knew you. I am so glad you shared some of your passion and fury with me. We are still dreaming of those lost futures as we try to enact unknown ones.

We are indebted to you, love.

 

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SSRIs

One recognisable cycle of the human complex system is that of anxiety and depression. Within this, we can recognise anxiety and panic as productive forces and depression as withdrawal or non-productivity. The productivity of anxiety succumbs, withdraws and collapses into exhaustion and depression. SSRIs or antidepressants can be used in an attempt to neutralise these intensities, softening panic (filling up) and depression (emptying out). The self can reconstitute itself whilst under the influence of these drugs through recognising the actual social forces and foldings that have occurred. This provides opportunities for the self to break with its fettered image (to quote Mark Fisher, “the mirror cracks, I am an other, and I always was” [1]) – or alternatively becoming more deeply stratified under capitalism through the ‘psychopathic’ extraction of useful labour.

This phenomenon will be critiqued and analysed through defining anxiety and its potential for post-capitalist desires, then situating my experience with antidepressants using Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, outlining the problem of useful labour extraction and finally introducing the notion of an ethics of the eerie. It is necessary at this stage to put a clear divide between the productive mode of anxiety and the withdrawal mode of depression because anxiety is too often rather reductively seen as cut off. This text separates them out in order to counter the assumptions around anxious experience to begin with, establishing a point of departure. There is a certain rigidity here that will be complicated as posts go on…

Anxiety as pathologised under capitalism exists as a limitation. It becomes cut off or blocked under such conditions. The productivity of anxiety does not occur in the capitalist understanding (surplus labour value), but in anxiety’s expansive capacity to respond to actual social forces using multiple (productive) processes. Hyperproductive anxiety may make the subject appear to be a fully functioning member of capitalist society in their efforts to subdue it. For example an anxious subject may meet every work deadline, but she is coerced by job precarity or low self-worth. It is to be argued that when triggered, anxiety signals the desire for something beyond or outside the current conditions. When this desire goes unfulfilled or thwarted, it becomes panic, which is then cut off, entering the mode of withdrawal: exhaustion or depression. Anxiety serves its function as a tool of everyday criticality analysis, identifying and engaging with oppression and risk. Uncommunicated, it exists as cut off and isolated – even paralytical. Since sense is only made in shared spaces, these uncommunicated limitations overwhelm the individuated subject and are interpreted as a personal failure to integrate or function properly within assumed norms.

When communicated, anxiety offers a basis for the collective building of structural/institutional critique. It has been subjugated as an experience for too long – David B. Morris argues that “we must be prepared to insist that pain, depression, and disability cannot be reduced to the emblems of a private dystopia.” [2] Non-privatised anxiety is the repeated potential openings for connection. Methodologies for reopening and engaging positively with potential connections offer difficulties, because of our embeddedness in existing oppressive structures. Coping mechanisms, such as the ‘flight response’ further perpetuate this conception of a totalised social where withdrawal is the only possibility. Instead, any “enquiry into the nature of what the world is like” should also be “inevitably an unraveling of what human beings had taken themselves to be,” [3] in order to make commitments that challenge the structural mechanisms that hold us and keep ourselves fixed.

Teen movies offer some insight into negative and positive aspects. Motives for assimilation may be either deeper stratification in the first instance or post-capitalist desires in the second; for example the desire to be accepted by the popular crowd who have utopia focused on the perfection of the self; or the desire to be part of a undercommons revolt involving “collective utopian politics and the public exercise of utopian virtues” [4] leading to a more harmonious, if still imperfect, social order. Here, a drama of value [5] plays out in an attempt to shift the responsibility away from the ‘self that must get better’ to the necessary expansion of the commons and facilitation of participation – the former being a negative solidarity of “solitary, private, individual” bodies. The latter mode is the anti-capitalist productivity, or commoning, of anxiety that we must mobilise. Both situations can lead to the cut off mode outlined above as the conditions for participation may remain ambiguous. The proposition here is how can we work from anxious experience in order to communicate potential alliances, equalising knowledges and mobilising a more collective politics.

Antidepressants, anxiety and heterotopia

Anxiety has been present throughout my life, although at the age of fourteen I suffered from anxiety and depression with increasing intensity. At my friend’s recommendation I went to see the local doctor. Following a blood test [6] and numerous psychological health questionnaires, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and given a prescription for citalopram. No further support was offered and I did not know to ask. I began taking the antidepressants with little to no information about what they would do – apart from that they ‘would help’ – as well as minimal information on the conditions I had been diagnosed with. I was not offered any form of counselling or therapy – not knowing any better than to place my trust in the doctor’s recommendations. Unfortunately my story is not uncommon and has various socioeconomic implications.

This ignorance meant I was cast adrift from the feeling self that I knew; observing situations and acknowledging the emotional reaction I would ordinarily have, without actually experiencing the intensity of the response-emotion. I was alarmed by my inability to experience intensity of emotion (or to resemble the image I held of myself). Because of this I decided to stop taking citalopram. On reflection, citalopram granted me an outside perception of the relation between social distress and my ‘typical’ emotional reactions. Although recognising these relations required me to hold some prior image of (my)self in similitude, a voiding process began. The abjection I felt towards unfeeling recognises the outside of feeling, inciting “the challenge of treating discontent, abjection and psychopathology as traces of an as yet unimaginable outside rather than as symptoms of maladjustment.” [7] The shudder of abjection is a shudder of the eerie.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) at the age of twenty helped me develop skills for articulating and mapping the external foldings that formulate my anxious mood. The psychological emerges “as the product of forces from the outside.” [8] Even then the eerie effect of SSRIs went unarticulated – dismissed as a missed opportunity to catch my mental health issues ‘early on,’ whilst simultaneously dismissing the conception of it being a politicised indictment of the care I received (fuck off and take these pills becomes we are sacrosanct individuals, so tell me about your family but don’t implicate my profession in social reproduction).

Michel Foucault writing on the mirror as a joint experience of utopia and heterotopia was the first text to come close to articulating my experience of taking SSRIs. Through this spatialisation the pathological can be verbalised, changing the structure of the “relation between the visible and invisible […] revealing through gaze and language what had previously been below and beyond their domain.” This “new alliance forged between words and things” [9] could not be founded in my initial ignorance and the use of heterotopia for this purpose is admittedly clumsy. However I have decided to keep faith with this lumbering articulation. Throughout, the interior mechanisms of the antidepressant diagramming is played out in exterior space:

“The mirror is, after all, a utopia, since it is a placeless place. In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal, virtual space that opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives my own visibility to myself, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent: such is the utopia of the mirror.

I acknowledge my typical emotional reactions, but I am absent from them. Whilst on antidepressants, emotion-intensities become a virtual mapping over my lived experience. I hold a prior image of (my)self in this moment. I am made visible, but I am distant, absented.

But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does exist in reality, where it exerts a sort of counteraction on the position that I occupy. From the standpoint of the mirror I discover my absence from the place where I am since I see myself over there. Starting from this gaze, as it were, directed toward me, from the ground of this virtual space that is on the other side of the glass, I come back toward myself; I begin again to direct my eyes toward myself and to reconstitute myself there where I am.

I begin to situate myself using the image of (my)self, coming back to where I am from the standpoint of another perspective. I am reconstituted in their relation.

The mirror functions as a heterotopia in this respect: it makes this place that I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely real, connected with all the space that surrounds it, and absolutely unreal, since in order to be perceived it has to pass through this virtual point which is over there.” [10]

Being distanced from the reactive self allowed me to see the pathological in active relation. This absencing allowed me to presence myself with a different relational understanding of (my)self and social forces. In order to be perceived, it had to pass through absence, holding the absent self distant yet in similitude.

Heterotopia describes a process, a relation between spaces. It offers similitude rather than resemblance, which simultaneously de-anchors the subject from an identitarian reference point and allows for a resituating of the self beyond this (or potentially deepening the embeddedness in capitalist orderings). This resituating is a process building outside of and in relation to homogenous or dominant modalities. Through SSRIs these hierarchies of intensity (anxiety, panic, depression) give way to a series of exclusively lateral relations [11] – different in the way they are experienced because of the emotional flattening of the SSRIs, but equivalent in regards to the relational processes that would produce such intensities. Instead of cutting off and withdrawing from intensities, a process of deferral occurs. The similitude of these processes shifts the point of reference, exposing mechanisms of desire, creation and their repeated potential openings. Here, we can see such relationships or responses from the outside, from the standpoint of another perspective. The self-referential remains, entering a process of disarticulation: again, “the mirror cracks, I am an other, and I always was.” [12] Potentially rearticulated and rebuilt after the shock of losing its referent – a freeing from identitarian fetters – the methodology of this is where we must intervene lest this deindividuated self be dispassionately reterritorialised in order to extract useful labour. This is where transversal practice is needed, but that is not to be expanded upon here.

In Flatline Constructs, Mark Fisher writes of the non-resistance of postmodern anxiety, perhaps to be further explored through the removal of reference anchors (see pg.43 Hetherington) and the desire for immanence. But that is to be expanded upon elsewhere…

Useful labour extraction

This text is about the specific experience of taking antidepressants for anxiety. Antidepressants suppress the vicious cycling of productivity/withdrawal leaving the analytical capacities and reflexivity of anxiety in similitude, distanced from the self-critical. In 4 Theses on Depression and Radical Praxis, Sophie Monk and Joni (Pitt) Coren work from Mark’s thought in Good For Nothing to make the argument for “a life-producing and therapeutic praxis that incorporates depression rather than abjecting it” as well as a demand for “a more nuanced thinking of pharmaceuticals.” [13] Depression, “whose underlying conviction is that we are all uniquely responsible for our own misery and therefore deserve it,” [14] struggles to recognise itself relationally, turning inwards because of its withdrawal mechanisms. Depression isolates, not recognising friendship and consequently never fully in the open. We may be able to begin working for change using antidepressants as proposed by Monk and Coren, because the ‘infernally paradoxical logic’ of depression is “the internalised expression of actual social forces.” [15] Monk and Coren explain that the left’s rejection of antidepressants due to the drugs’ connection with big pharma as well as the inability of someone on medication to be ‘fully present’ in radical politics disregards the lived experience and demands made upon those with mental health issues within activist politics. They argue that “medication has the potential to both pacify and galvanise us” and that our collective depression can perhaps be weaponised by using such medications, further enabling our participation in potentially traumatic and overwhelming confrontations with oppressors.

Antidepressants are criticised for their ‘numbing’ of populations because they are used as an end in themselves in order to trudge out useful labour, rather than as a transformative agent. Privatised disaffection is allowed to proliferate, antidepressants used to minimise the affective impact of this resubordination. When “the social subject is increasingly asked to perform its worth publicly as evidence of its value” [16] it breeds, as David Smail writes, “a technology of manipulation and deceit in which the plausibility of the front you manage to present becomes all-important.” [17] Antidepressants become part of these technologies of deceit, under the influence of “social forces, some of which have a vested interest in denying any connection between depression and politics.” [18] Popular culture tropes such as the ‘stepford smiler’ [19] acknowledge this.

In The Psychopath Factory, Tristam Adams writes that in semiocapitalism, “desensitisation is a symptom – but it is not an immediately unproductive symptom, like collapse and panic.” [20] Solutions such as antidepressants “follow the same psychopathic trajectory: returning the organism to a deadened, efficient and productive state.” [21] This resonates with the David Smail quote above, however an engaged radical praxis is what stops SSRIs from allowing people to simply be better capitalist subjects. This is emphasised by Mark Fisher in his article Good For Nothing, where he argues that the aim is to convert privatised disaffection into politicised anger. [22]

Adams believes panic and anxiety to be unproductive because of the organism’s exhausting sensitivity to the “energies and effects of late capitalism” and he quotes Bifo:

“[as] the acceleration of impulses provokes stress in the physical organism [it] demands a psychotropic reformatting of perceptions and cognitive interaction, through the use of psychopharmacological drugs or the pure and simple deactivation of empathy.” [23]

Anxiety can be understood here as a resistance to the capitalist understanding of productivity. Because if psychopathy is an example par excellence of capitalist code, then anxiety is a failure of capitalist code. The issue here is not necessarily the drugs themselves, but the methodologies of use. If the inside is a folding of the outside then we must move beyond the transgressive Ripley towards egress. The former being susceptible to capitalist assimilation due to its (see also: his) individuated mode for the extraction of useful labour. Through using antidepressants as an end in themselves, subjects become exceedingly vulnerable to capitalist reterritorialisations. He only helps himself: utopia in the self.

If, as Adams writes, “the horror of confronting the psychopath is the horror of the mirror – an exaggerated and emboldened form of our own subjectivity presented back to us.” [24] Then instead of seeking individual solutions to our collective pathologies engendered by late capitalism (the horror of the mirror), we must shift our focus outwards, using antidepressants as a heterotopic mirror space in which to hold ourselves in similitude, in order to break with its reflection – possible through taking a transversal approach to the outside via collective practice. A potential methodology for this reflective practice can be found in the relational dynamic of antidepressants and anxiety, in combination with an ‘ethics of the eerie.’ Observing and communicating complexity in order to leave or transform it.

Ethics of the eerie

In conjunction to the heterotopic qualities of SSRIs, we can also understand them as eerie agents, transcending affect-intensities in order to articulate them relationally. Under SSRIs a failure of presence occurs – “gaps where agency should be.” [25] In The Weird and the Eerie, Mark Fisher writes;

“the perspective of the eerie can give us access to the forces which govern mundane reality but which are ordinarily obscured, just as it can give us access to spaces beyond mundane reality altogether.” [26]

Eerie agents constantly pose the question of the eerie and from this, the outside becomes available. SSRIs invoke a partial emptying of the human, a disengagement from our current attachments. There is a serenity, an eerie calm, a detachment from the urgencies of the everyday. [27] The outside is available to us, engineered and manufactured as part of a practice – egress – or through ingesting an eerie agent. The sensation of the eerie can invoke anxiety (a folding) because of anxiety’s recognition of potential alterity in uncertain surroundings – “the quickest way to produce a sense of the eerie is to restrict information in this way.” [28] This filling up by anxiety can be seen as a failure of absence under neoliberalism because in this context anxiety is a something where there should be nothing. Conversely, as part of a postcapitalist desire, anxiety is a repetition of an opening to the outside, folding it inside the organism, filling it up.

Here, an ethics of the eerie can be put into practice, as outlined by Mark in his analysis of Tarkovsky’s Stalker;

“Cautious, always alert to potential dangers, drawing on [past] knowledge but aware of the way in which the Zone’s mutability so often renders previous experience obsolete, the stalker invokes a space bristling with unseen menace and promise. Humble in the face of the unknown, yet dedicated to exploring the outside, the stalker offers a kind of ethics of the eerie.” [29]

The stalker is anxious due to perceiving openings to the outside. He gathers intelligence, sharing it with others as part of a process of exploration. Everything the stalker knows, including himself, is disarticulated through contact with the outside. These proliferating connections offer a new and unknown consistency as an other; inviting alterity as opposed to identitarian fetters. Anxiety allows for a transversal practice, a productive and rational methodology that responds to the complexity of actual social forces through recognising potential openings or connections to the outside. These desires are often thwarted under capitalist structurings, becoming cut off and entering into depressive withdrawal. SSRIs enable the critical-rational framework of anxiety to remain, distanced from the human complex system, an in-human observation of response-relations.

SSRIs as an eerie agent remove the subject from the urgencies of the everyday. However, without an ethics of the eerie, the horror of the mirror results in a reterritorialisation, as we are magnified privately back at ourselves, abjection thrusting us back into the known – performing identities. In order to egress, an ethics of the eerie holds the known in similitude, entering a process of disarticulation (in a similar way to Foucault’s heterotopic mirror). This is not mere transgression, where the limits are known, but an adventure “involving forms of knowledge, subjectivity and sensation that lie beyond common experience” [30] which invoke the feeling of inscrutability – a barely perceptible world of eerie traces. Traces that fold into anxiety, signalling the outside.

Continue reading “SSRIs”

a thank you

Written for the FAAH degree show catalogue, whilst I was a junior fellow

*****

This show is a celebration; a celebration of the final year group’s ability to collaborate and to be kind in times of hardship. Not only to gather in the Marquis of Granby, but to produce a collective body of work that is impressive and expansive because of the alliances that have kindled here. These are bonds that we have all been lucky enough to be a part of, building amid the hungover utopianism.

The death of Mark Fisher, the theorist and teacher we treasured, who affirmed so many of us during our time at Goldsmiths, shook us to the core. We were adamant that he would not be forgotten and the displays of pure militancy across the joint honours degree were certainly acts to be proud of. When I see the work and speak to this third year, I see how Mark’s presence and writings have worked in and through them – yet each person brings their own spin to it. It is these mutations that are exciting.

This is a year group orientated towards collective adventure, experimentation and joyful openness in a year that has been dogged by grief, disturbing global politics and division. This is a year group that acts with confidence, whether they would claim it or not, confidence in their ability to do something different, to bring one another together and produce something brilliant.

My life has been irreversibly affected by the influence of this incredible group of artists. I’ve jokingly said a few times that I’m having the best year of my degree and I’m not even on it anymore. The transmutations that have occurred through these additive and contagious alliances are tangible. A ferocious patience will be required to see where it will go next, but it is adoring in its immanence.

Thank you – all of you.

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suburbia

Knitting and weaving are deliberate (see: slow) processes, even when digitally assisted. By translating the cartoon image into the fabric, the immediate pleasure of the animated sequence is decelerated. The frames become fixed into the very structure of the fabric, yet the fabric itself is moveable, flexible. Cartoons are used because they have distinct framings, making them an easy subject matter for an interest in the mechanics of moving images. Rearticulated, fictionalised sequences reduced to key frames. Image is the structure of the fabric. Images are structure. Images are an integral part of our understanding of the world. (popular) Open images, which provide access to sites of memory – individual, collective, social (all of the past in the present). We have been produced through these image environments – television produces people. This is not an archaic practice steeped in nostalgia, but an exploration into the potential collective practices afforded by ‘common’ mediums. To reach beyond the provinces of alienation to create objects that reassure us in our ‘common’ culture. Our lives are serial. Understanding is accrued sequentially: repetitive sequences, linear and non-linear. We become our habits, unless we are fortunate enough to see the possibility to push beyond them.

Television offered some form of collective memory. Programs had time slots – the nostalgia for which is best summarised by Orin Incandenza in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest;

‘I miss sneering at something I loved. How we used to love to gather in the checker-tiled kitchen in front of the old boxy cathode-ray Sony whose reception was sensitive to airplanes and sneer at the commercial vapidity of broadcast stuff. […] I miss stuff so low-denominator I could watch and know in advance what people were going to say. […] I miss summer reruns. I miss reruns hastily inserted to fill the intervals of writers’ strikes, […] I miss seeing the same things over and over again.’ (p.599-600)

In Infinite Jest Orin goes on to argue that modern entertainment services are ‘not the same. The choice, see. It ruins it somehow. With television you were subjected to repetition. The familiarity was inflicted.’ I feel that inflicted is the important term here. The production of the subject through images is more ubiquitous than ever before. However there is a greater illusion of choice that subjugates us to greater control from alienating powers rather than towards a path of immanent liberation.

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Multiple screens, now our primary mode of consumption, was once a symbol of technical grandeur as well as potential madness through isolation. The descent into alienated psychosis is marked by the presence of multiple television sets in Roeg’s The Man Who Fell To Earth and Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In the television studio, multiple screens are used – the visual effect of so many cathode ray television planted into the walls … the control room … behind the scenes. Bertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch, Sidney Lumet’s Network, Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set … and many other works portray this surreptitious world of multiple screens. Bruce Nauman used multiple television screens in his 1986 piece Violent Incident. To see violence multiplied, repeated – therefore intensified. The television set itself holds a material presence little matched by domestic digital outputs. Gretchen Bender’s Total Recall 1987 orchestrates the commercial media landscape into a beautiful, yet critical piece. The arrangement of 24 monitors (techno-accumulation) a spectacle in its own right.

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For years I’ve wanted to curate an exhibition of video art in a shop window. Akin to an old television shop display where people would watch the news through the window in films. On the BBC’s Monkey Dust, Tony Blair repeats “education education education” from the television screens in the shop window. Propaganda dressed up as choice-freedom – “great sex for everyone … even if they’re married” – and the misery of unmet yet perfectly reasonable demands – “trains, that actually turn up”, “houses people can actually afford”. Monkey Dust exposes the bleak reality of the televisual mantra faultlessly. The beginning of the ‘emancipatory’ choice reflex (it’s your fault, you didn’t work hard enough to do well), rather than a critique of structural misery. Art cannot be confined to the inside of institutions – counter messages need to be on the streets and in communities.

We derive comfort from personal attachments, aesthetics, utility, touch. I posit that textiles and television are a natural combination in the field of domestic comfort (and conceptualisation of identity). Textiles have a strong sentimental value, and they play an important role in developing social and individual memory. Watching the television wrapped in a blanket, sat on the sofa with some pillows. There is a rich material culture constituted by textiles which is often only acknowledged popularly through clothing. The textiles that furnish our homes and bodies feel good and present us to the world and ourselves. I have spoken previously of the collective nature of watching, and as I’ve grown more familiar with textiles processes like knitting and weaving, I have begun to recognise the communities that take great pleasure in swapping skills and making together. I think there is great value in these community practices. Sewing, darning, weaving and knitting all have a value far beyond ‘hobbyist’ – they can enrich lives and are a sustainable practice against overconsumption, particularly when the ubiquity of textiles is recognised. It is an anti-alienating practice. Class difference is subtle but noticeable in commodity textiles, as quality correlates with price. In austere times, it is empowering to know how to repair rather than replace. From Mike Kelley to Rosemarie Trockel, textiles has a place in art; challenging notions of comfort and familiarity as well as shifting social expectations regarding class and gender.

I was a member of a film group called really off – we were working on a project about Milton Keynes. The soft drink Rubicon, produced in M.K, inspired the topic. One of Rubicon’s advertising slogans is “believe in beach” – an ironic statement for a drink made deep in middle England. From this starting point, we intend on creating a docu-fiction. We feel that a fictional Milton Keynes is particularly interesting as it is a relatively new city that can potentially facilitate our partial memories and fictions. We’ve developed a camera that always points in the direction of Milton Keynes. We’re looking forward to using it.

Overall, I believe in transversality – the intersectional spaces that constitute our experiences and the potential interactions contained within and between these sites. Television is a hybrid medium, traversing space and time, sound and vision, experience and non-experience, actual and virtual. Now the internet perpetuates an unhealthy ‘connoisseur’ relationship between subject and object – a false individuality potentially more universal and insidious than anything we could have imagined to come from television. The topography is different now, but it is still possible to achieve intersectional distributions of communities.

The transference of familiarity and comfort upon the art object – transference rather than sentimentality or nostalgia. I want to use the potential contained within these subconscious emotional registers. Regions that promote stability, acceptance, familiarity and comfort without inducing sentimentality nor nostalgia. An affective register. Bergsonian nodes. The working title for a textile work is How I Learned to Stop Worrying – a nod to Kubrick’s satire of state coping mechanisms and an acknowledgment of these innate desires for stability –  immanence – in the world. Manoeuvring these desires without succumbing to regression is what I intend to explore further in my future practice. Prioritising exteriority through both sensation and image cultures developed through machinic processes to provocate immanence. To move beyond the discontinuous cut off of identity to a continual uniting connection through materiality and image.