KENNARDPHILLIPPS: STATE OF THE NATIONS
“How did this yacht enter the channels of governance? Symbol of the super rich individual it glides unperturbed through vast oceans of capital profit.
The heartbeat of humanity is now separate from the powers that govern it. Birdsong cannot effect the adjustment of an algorithm, locked inside a supercomputer that cannot hear. The human logic that created capitalism cannot keep up with the speed of developing technology. And as our social supports are smashed up by corporate pursuits so society’s allegiance to the powerbase flatlines.
These owners of luxury, the purveyors of the unnecessary would like to eradicate solidarity, build more walls between peoples and communities. Create separation. With a view to lock more capital wealth into their small, weaponised fortresses. They live life based on fear.
These owners of all resources wish to own us, the citizens. They cannot gain strong allegiance. They offer nothing enduring in return. So they attack us in an attempt to bring us to such a point of despair that we will obey and beg for mercy.
Beg for mercy from the trollies lined up in the hospital corridors.
Beg for mercy in the council chamber deciding which service is cut.
Beg for mercy as the 90th emergency call comes through on your terminal.
Beg for mercy in a bag of food given out at the food bank.
Beg for mercy in the muddy squalor of the refugee camp.
Beg for mercy at your own front door to the bailiff.
Beg for mercy from the cold pavement where one must now sleep.
Beg for mercy to the screen that cannot see, hear or feel you.
A consumer economy separated from real need, it tries to infect us all. Luxury beckons us, blindsiding our mutual needs. With compliance scarcity grows. Addiction to an appearance of wealth in every magazine, newspaper, at every bus stop – an addiction wedded to a virtual paradise where an abundance of everything is made visible to our imaginations but starves us of reality.
The yacht glides on. Like a shark gorging on social structures – our structures that were engineered to nurture humane aspiration into politics.
Suffering the irrelevance of impossible luxury trappings is a humiliation. Suffering the decapitation of social services is a death sentence.
Aspiration is replaced by survival instinct that sharpens the senses to what is real and begins to make mockery of the virtual, capitalist dream.”
About the Artists
kennardphillipps is a collaboration between Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps who have worked together since 2002 to produce art in response to the invasion of Iraq. It has evolved to confront power and war across the globe. The work is made for the street, the gallery, the web, newspapers & magazines, and to lead workshops that develop peoples’ skills and help them express their thoughts on what’s happening in the world through visual means. The work is made as a critical tool that connects to international movements for social and political change.
In State of the Nations, resistance to the status quo is embedded in their deconstruction of news images and narratives built from everyday materials, photomontage and text. kennardphillipps dig into the surface of words and images to visualise the connection between the oppressed majority and the political and financial elites of the everyday, remixing earlier work and creating new artwork addressing contemporary issues relating to Trump, Brexit, the refugee and migrant crisis and nuclear proliferation.
This new work is commissioned by Chapter and Ffotogallery as part of Diffusion: Cardiff International Festival of Photography. The festival is initiated and delivered by Ffotogallery in collaboration with a wide range of local, national and international partners and supporters. The festival runs from 1–31 May and more information is available at www.diffusionfestival.org