Friday, 21 November 2008

Exhibition Catalogue

This collaborative exhibition is a guerilla intervention driven by necessity rather than design. In Sept. 2008, The Neo-Futurist Collective was invited to make a piece of work on Wall St. USA for Conflux, the annual festival for contemporary art & psychogeography. For health reasons, Rachel Gadsden was unable to attend with the rest of us, so we decided to use the trip to gather material to bring back to the UK, where we would reunite Rachel's responses with our own, via this blog and in a physical exhibition space. The four resulting pieces of work combine to produce a portrait of an iconic location and the journey of the four individuals who sought to understand its relationship to the rest of the planet.

Rowena Easton:
"Crashes, Bangs and Other Matter"  - text

This text was written on our third day in NYC after wondering around the Wall Street area observing people and place. Abbie and Joe went off to do some filming – I was left 'locked' in a hotel room with the sole task of writing a script for Joe to perform live on Wall St at 6.30am the next day. This is what I came up with.

Rowena graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Critical Fine Art Practice. Her work is driven by language, exploring systems to evolve new narratives and create disruptions. She constructs a poetic space, which investigates the interplay between formal and organic systems. In recent years her work has become increasingly concerned with architecture and public space. She works across all mediums, and has received awards for art, public art, and poetry.

Rachel Gadsden
"Wall Street Chaos" - time-based video

An artwork that responds to chaos caused by the recent Wall St. crash. Trapped amongst the plunging world markets, three psychogeographers watched on, imbibing the energy, reacting artistically and transmitting their responses virtually to the fourth psychogeographer in a studio in London.

Rachel has a BA Hons and MA in Fine Art and has won a number of awards including the Juliet Gomperts Memorial Scholarship and the William Brooking Research Scholarship. In 1999, a series of Rachel's drawings were exhibited in the Dostoyevsky Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. More recently, in 2007, Rachel was appointed Artist-in-Residence at Hampton Court Royal Palace, and was commissioned to make a series of artworks for the Beijing-London Paralympics handover Ceremony.

Abigail Norris
"Derivatives" - single screen video

In the making of this film, I became fascinated by the city as an enormous weight of concrete that man has created about himself, almost as if identity and notion of self has become embedded within the fabric of the buildings. The kingdom of man is made of concrete. What set this in motion? Treadmills and revolving trap doors, obscured reflections unsettle our passage through the streets. Where has it all come from and where is it going? Stop and look. 

I use video to collect samples from situations and experiences, to absorb atmospheres and observe character. I view each space that I inhabit with a camera as a mystery to be experienced and investigated, without direction or intent. I capture the subjects that present themselves. I see myself as a gatherer of information and a collector of evidence.

Joseph Young
"This is where the money is ..." - sound installation

A series of audio polaroids in conversation between two sets of speakers. In the temporal sound space, intervention by the human voice marks an interruption that facilitates the reading of noise - of defining and contextualising that which is constant, and therefore often ignored or blocked out. Through the dialogue between voice and noise, it may be possible to construct new or surprising narratives to re-awaken the senses and stimulate our engagement with the aural landscape.

My practice is concerned with the ordinary and the everyday in the urban soundscape. I investigate and record time and place with the addition of human voice to disrupt and interpret ubiquitous urban noise. The desirable and the unwanted blur and dissolve within the constant hum. Through improvisation and dialogue between the voice-at-the-centre and the surrounding soundscape, my work attempts to reconfigure our prejudices and introduce the listener to the wealth of sonic beauty living inside the drone.

Curated and produced by Joseph Young for The Neo-Futurist Collective, with much needed support and guidance from Rowena Easton.

Wire Derive: Mike Blow

Publicity Design: Sara Popowa

Limited edition T-shirts and posters by Rowena Easton, courtesy of BDI Screen Printing - available from Joseph Young on or 07973 714589.

Thanks to Maria Pattinson, Peter Faulkner, Harry Neve, A-Design Ltd, Johanna Berger, Helen Medland, Ginny Farman, Eva Weaver and Dr. Adam "Foot" Taylor for their help and generosity.

Monday, 3 November 2008


Joseph Young, Rowena Easton, Rachel Gadsden and Abigail Norris of The Neo-Futurist Collective ( invite you to attend the opening of an exhibition of work gathered on Wall St. USA during the weekend of the Lehmann Brothers collapse in September. 

The Private View is Friday Nov. 21st, or if you can't make that, come along to the Remix evening on Wed Nov. 26th when artists Johanna Berger and Ginny Farman will share their personal responses to the exhibition.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

draft script /// rowena

Crashes, Bangs & Other Matter

RE: What’s your weather like right now?
MC: Bring shorts, sandals, and a brolly.
RE: I was hoping to escape from English piss.
MC: Yeah well, this is Ike’s piss.

Wednesday 10th: Doomsday is a contrary date to begin a journey. Don’t know how far I’ll get.
Deep beneath Alpine meadows? Scientists do have a sense of humour, its just more ambitious.

Thursday 11th: Hysterics, tourists and men in black eddy around Zero. I’m still here.

Friday 12th: Wall Street. Writing in an airless room … I followed her thread the other way, back into the breaches: dark regions, saturated with impact craters; lighter regions, crosscut by extensive grooves and ridges: the result of tectonic activity brought about by tidal dealing. Between the wall – gaps in fact – I came and found further disappearances. Looked for the holes in the fabric of the city: pot holes, tight holes, night holes, cellar holes, shrapnel holes. Full of holes; a synthesis of holes.
Fortunes made in flight.
Companies combining to make nothing.
This is the house that Jack Morgan built.
An empty canyon.
Stock drops.
Men, pink and ripe, smack the street.

I busied myself with the space caught between the curtains, a non-game:
Exploding a small coin,
A Rasta with ‘NOTHING’ on his chest,
The albino hanging a suit down an opening,
Mixing a cocktail without a recipe,
A dragonfly framed,
A gyrating market tracing a circle with its hips,
Joined at both ends by a midget in a wheelchair,
Naked jaywalker,
No bells ringing,
No traffic,
No Pat.
It’s a catgut grid.
“ … watch for the openings that this disappearance uncovers.”
And I found, secreted in the moment, a shattering.
“Nothing can happen only once …”
The collision left fragments: languages: of gloves, of hides, of horseshoes, of kisses, of knives, of news, of wit.
3000 dickering merchants: “Read my lipstick: drill. Drill baby, drill:”

Dues. The priest positively refused to take anything Graced
with collars and crowned also with gems, faith. Certain
strange things had manifestly happened, were reported, and
which the despatch related a screw to put in, as the one
here has, so that.
Not fun, not crime. Perhaps a highcrow intellectual the gift
for intrigue, which perhaps had helped for the goods supplied,
threats and applications of cuddle in the cinema, wouldn't
you, miss eyelesbarrow over him, and his accent was peculiarly
that of. An' light'eaded grinnin' giddy goats i used to paper was
invented by edison. Also the tasimeter, quartered themselves
there.' bhishma said, 'after all its pain. Hovering at her
side was hagar, and enemies to government, though they now

A shifting crust. Wandering rocks, crashing into lots. New paths. Moving parcels of land wrapped in paper, defining and redefining. Breathing markets: contracts.
Tax wrappers and wrinkles.

Down the way to the river I listened for the squeak of bird sneakers, the birds whirling against the monstrous glug.
Watched as the jogger stretched behind the Japanese crew on set.
Took the slender silver line to topographical adventures. Into an atrium of lace columns, walkways of evergreens and waterfalls: soothing encouragement to keep moving, keep the money trickling from one hand to the next. There is certainty with transparency. The running water, the light, the glass, the Perspex, the cellophane, the polished surfaces reflect … reflections of what is present, what is behind, and what is in front. Images and actions mirrored, replicated, multiplied. Existence confirmed through repetition.
I sanitised my hands. Through the reclaimed land sloping off into the shit, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
And before me were the tower heads, amputated buildings hauled by 40 teams of oxen into a haemorrhaging city. Partial occupancy had left a feverish surplus.
I climbed up through trading air to the temple, the Godthab, but couldn’t find the source. Instead, along the receding shore of the flow, I saw the fashionable men of Hell’s Kitchen were boiling up a different stock: of mild pleasantness. Of eco-porn and encampment.

Who owns what?
Who signs the steel?
What keeps the aliens out and the animals in?

Saturday 13th: sleep, eat, shop.

Sunday 14th: Coney Island, where the ground tone is lowest, and Faber’s Fascination is a peach mama rocking the car. White cars do not swing. The freaks are dead. So is the chicken.

Conflux //// Day 3

Friday, 12 September 2008

Conflux Day One //// Joe


Exploding a small coin,
A Rasta with ‘NOTHING’ on his chest,
The albino hanging a suit down an opening,
A dragonfly framed,
A gyrating market tracing a circle with its hips,
Joined at both ends by a midget in a wheelchair,
Naked jaywalker,
No bells ringing,
No traffic.

It’s a catgut grid!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Expo 2008

This year's Sonic Arts Network Expo, held in Brighton, saw a premiere performance of ReAwakening of a City (the concert version) to a packed audience at The Basement. Film clips to follow...

Thursday, 17 July 2008

New Futures

ManTownHuman - a manifesto for architecture
AtAbrahams - a symposium for artists, thinkers and policy makers

I've been invited to speak at the December "At Abrahams" symposium, and had a very interesting joust/meeting recently in an Old St. pub with Austin Williams (the founder of the Future Cities project) about the manifesto ManTownHuman, which has some very striking correspondences with our own Neo-Futurist manifesto.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Conflux proposal

Conflux  - The Art and Technology festival for the creative exploration of urban public space - 11-14th September 2008.

I submitted a psychogeographic walking performance proposal taking in the financial district and Wall St. exploring the links between the memories and reminiscences of current and former workers in the area, who will act as our guides, and the current global economic crisis. Myself, Rachel, Rowena and Abbie are the lead artists on this one, utilising text, drawing, sound and video to capture and uncover the line of the old city walls (hence Wall St.) to develop an eventual street performance utilising the research itself developed on the streets.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


A space for project artists to reflect on what has been achieved in the R&D process so far...

The recording of our evaluation discussion (edited) can be found here...

Joe x

Pictures from the Scratch Night

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

3 points

First of all well done all, I thought the event ran really well and gave us a good idea of where the project stands. I'd like to pass on some general comments and thoughts from myself and my friends who attended, which I think are worth throwing into the mix:

1) I think the point about optimism not being apparent enough was fair, apart from Eva's optimistic recipes.
2) My friends pointed out that there wasn't enough technology apparent, or more specifically the belief in technology as the 'saviour of mankind' that existed in the original futurist ideology. Perhaps we (the group and the world) are too habituated to technology for this to be a realistic proposition in the new century; but we should at least explore the issue.
3) And talking of issues, there has to be a sensible defence of the fascist accusation. Its a serious topic and dodging the question or saying we pick and mix only the parts of the ideology we like will never satisfy. People will want to know; 'if you believe part A, do you believe part B?'

Neofuturist food for thought!


Monday, 24 March 2008

Futurism - proto punk?

An interesting article about the link between the energy of futurism and punk...

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Well Done Team!

I'll post properly tomorrow or Friday with images and video.
But I just wanted to say how pleased I was with the way everyone contributed to today's launch.
I think we have a lot to build on...

Giuseppe x

Sunday, 17 February 2008

From Mikhail - Michel Serres and NOISE

Dear All,

I thought you may find the following short text describing Michel Serres's (contemporary French philosopher writing on noise, communication, message, art and science) understanding of noise interesting.

All the best,

"In our usual notions of communication, noise is an unwanted third thing that interferes in what would other wise be a clear connection between a sender and a receiver. On closer reflection, though, noise is more complex. To being with, it always indicates the wider context, or milieu in which communication takes place. Any given message must pass through a medium. The medium generates effects that attach to the message. Noise, therefore, is an ineradicable feature of any communication. Noise is the presence of the medium through which the message must pass. The desire for immediacy that has driven the history of technology is a desire to eliminate the noisy presence of the medium. Each attempt to eliminate noise by filtering it through a new medium, however, in turn generates new kinds of noise. In other words, each new innovation in media promises to minimize noise. But because it has to instate a new kind of medium, it ends up generating a new kind of noise. This battle with the medium is never fully successful because we can never eliminate the space of transmission. There is always a context of communication, an environment and so there is always a noisy third term."


"Michel Serre's book 'The Parasite' has as its generative centre the proposition that there is no message or communication possible without a context or channel. In any dialogue between apparently free and distinct parties, there must be some apparatus, some frame, form of contact which enables the communication to take place; this can be material – a meeting-place, a postal service, or a network of wires – or immaterial - a discourse with rules of functioning. There is never, in other words, what we nowadays so lightly call an ‘interface’, an immediate encounter between communicating parties, nor is there ever passage of what is communicated across a neutral space. Something always happens in the space of traversal to slow, deflect or deform the message; there is always noise on the line, a spanner in the works."


"In The Parasite, Serres asks whether system is a prior set of constraints, or whether, on the other hand, system is the regularity manifest in the various attempts to constitute a system. 'Do these attempts themselves constitute the system?' Serres asks. Noise, we have seen is the system. 'In the system, noise and message exchange roles according to the position of the observer and the action of the actor.' Noise is a joker necessary to the system. It can take on any value, and is thus unpredictable so that the system is never stable. Instead, it is non-knowledge. Systems work because they do not work. Dysfunctioning remains essential for functioning. The model, then, is free of parasites, free of static (as in mathematics), while the system is always infected with parasites which give it its irreversible character. The system is a Turner painting. With his representation of the chance effects of clouds, rain, sea, and fog, Turner interprets the second law of thermodynamics - the law made possible by Carnot. Turner translates Carnot. Such is Serres's poetic insight.

Two figures, then, inform Serres's oeuvre: Hermes and the Harlequin. Hermes the traveller and the medium allows for the movement in and between diverse regions of social life. The Harlequin is a multicolored clown standing in the place of the chaos of life. Two regions of particular interest to the voyager in knowledge are those of the natural sciences and the humanities. Should science really be opened up to poetry and art, or is this simply an idiosyncrasy on Serres's part? Is this his gimmick? The answer is that Serres firmly believes that the very viability and vitality of science depends on the degree to which it is open to its poetical other. Science only moves on if it receives an infusion of something out of the blue, something unpredictable and miraculous. The poetic impulse is the life-blood of natural science, not its nemesis. Poetry is the way of the voyager open to the unexpected and always prepared to make unexpected links between places and things. The form that these links take is of course influenced by technological developments; information technology transforms the senses, for example."

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Rachel's map ideas

A couple of preliminary pictures that Rachel sent me...

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


hello joe,

on the website can you list me as just: Artist
rather than 'visual artist working with text', it might just as well be 'artist working with ideas'!
i work across all mediums and can't stand this trend for qualification ... I'm an artist pure an' simple

(I don't mind artist and writer, if you prefer that, as i do do some writing that is distinct from art)


Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Neo-Futurism - a new fascism?

Hola Compañeros
Just about to mail out the dada-south supplementary e-bulletin re neo-futurist event etc.
In passing though, a question, and this is asked with absolute oceans of respect for both you Joe and Rachel as artists, so it's not an attack etc BUT do the neo-futurist group see any need for distancing from some of the dodgier dimensions of il futurismo à la Marinetti - for example :
"We will glorify war - the world's only hygiene - militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman."
F T Marinetti, Futurist Manifesto [?]
From my 'just-barely-scraped-a-pass' art A Level of 34 years ago (!), i think I remember that il futurismo despised everything to do with tradition and the past to the point of being absolutely besotted by the ultra modern including science and industry (wouldn't they have loved eugenics) and were ultimately embraceable by elements of fascism, whereas the Dada-ists - while also being anti-art and passionately against bourgeois aesthetics - still had a clear pacifist and anti-colonialist stance.
"[Dadaism] : For many participants, the movement was a protest against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests which many Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war, and against the cultural and intellectual conformity — in art and more broadly in society — that corresponded to the war."
Richter, Hans (1965), Dada: Art and Anti-art, Oxford Univ Press
Wasn't DaDa effectively a rejection of tradition in a far more liberationist way? Another question : how do you think the futurists and dadaists, united by their hatred of tradition, would have thought of being revived? Personally, I also hate the tyranny of tradition so just felt I had to ask these questions. Hope you don't mind.
My personal favourite italian-led art movement of 20th Century was the Hermeticist (l'ermetismo) movement of the poets Quasimodo, Montale and Ungaretti. Ungaretti's 2-worded Mattina (Morning) is my one of my favourite poems:
m'illumino d'immenso

(I fill with light of immensity)

Besos y ricuerdos and hope yer all well

Joe McConnell (DAO) x

A reply from Giuseppe Marinetti

Dear Joe,

Thanks for opening up the debate - it's a question I have been asked a lot and one that I have asked myself, as to whether the work of the futurists has any validity in the light of their conspicuous flirtations with fascism, via Marinetti's personal invitation from Mussolini to sit on the central council of the, then fledgling, Fascist Party in Italy. As it happened this formal association was short-lived as Marinetti objected so strongly to the Catholic Church being invited to join the caucus forming around the Fascist Party that he resigned in disgust. He hated all institutions and the church in particular...

So I think, sometimes, you have to dance with the devil - because as we know, the devil has all the best tunes...

My particular interest in Futurism stems from the fact that it is the first modernism (maybe even the first 'ism' of our modern age...) and that the raw energy and optimism of modernism has a particular relevance for our environmentally challenged and terrorised planet. We have succumbed, as a culture, to despair, and I have therefore looked to the futurists for inspiration with particular regard to
The Art of Noises manifesto (Russolo, 1912) and its call for the radical transformation of URBAN NOISE.

We are surrounded by noise (in all its' visual and aural forms) on a daily basis - traffic, road works, mobile phones, airplanes, radio, the internet, junk emails, street advertising, blogs, health and safety warnings, reality TV... The list is endless. Our challenge is to find a way to embrace this noise, to celebrate it, rather than to try and block it out. When we walk through a city, how many times do we actually open our ears to
listen to the everyday sounds around us, rather than plugging ourselves into an mp3 player or escaping into our own thoughts?

Russolo was right - either we embrace noise as a positive force or we will be drowned by it. No amount of laws can save us from
UNWANTED SIGNAL, it is a part of life itself; for there is no life without sound - even if we can't hear it...

You will find that when our manifesto is finally unleashed upon the world on February 20th, (a draft of it is online in this blog), that it has particular references to Dada and the Tristan Tzara manifestos, which in the current climate read like the fragmented language of junk emails. So, through the writing of the manifesto, Rowena Easton has tried to combine these aesthetics and
TRANSFORM this form of visual noise into something USEFUL and BEAUTIFUL.

Finally, why
Neo Futurism - shurely shome mishtake... Well, it's a joke of course, there can't be a new futurism, it's an oxymoron. So, it's nod to a time when the world seemed simpler, when the optimism of modernism and the benefits of technology went unchallenged. Too much of our current thinking is about self-loathing and nostalgia for innocence lost, that we need a way of looking forward again, of embracing our future. Hence Neo Futurism.

Hope this explains my position.

Joe Y.

Sunday, 3 February 2008