Book Block

Art. Class. War (Antiuniversity 2017 Closing Party), curated by Mike Watson, London
June 2017

Art is entwined with both class and war as it provides the tools to promote the interests of the capitalist class via signs which mesmerise, confuse and pacify. Sometimes these signs, like flags and royal seals, are put directly to the service of power. At other times art is used to provide a cultural distraction for the elite, who lose themselves in the irony and glamour of the biennale or art fair. For this reason, art can only challenge the injustices of class and war if it first engages in its own war of class with itself. We need to address the unfair working and appointment practices, low or no wages, workplace discrimination by gender, race and sexuality as well as sexual harassment. Art. Class. War aims to place the art world for one evening firmly at the centre of these issues involving the public in a night of music and performance, aiming above all to ask what role art has to play in the nexus of class and war. Proposed artists: League of Art Legends (Electronica and VJ set, Mike Watson and Simone Bertugno), Andrew Cooper (performance), Snovit Hedstierna, Robert Pettena, Shiraz Bayjoo, Antti Tenetz (VJ performance), Fiamma Montezemolo (projection), Mark McGowan.

Robert created an archeological site composed of books concerned with human rights and their violations; the gradual erosion of our human rights in the name of security, trade agreements and corporate power.
He built the books into a miniature city, which he then covered with clay, leaving a few relevant titles half exposed, perhaps focussing on Trades Unions, workers rights, freedom of speech, privacy, to show how all of these Universal Human Rights are being gradually buried under a barrage of multinational agreements and national legislation, now only dimly remembered.

© Robert Pettena 2022