In the garage this morning, delving into the archives, I discovered a box of (mostly sprayed) gold objects amidst other small metal items.
The fortune cookie below is one of the ‘Stock Exchange’ gold pieces from 2009. Finding it is timely, having been reminded of this piece of work by an artist I hadn’t seen in a while at the APT gallery, Deptford on Saturday. The gold objects were exhibited and put up for exchange in ‘The Stock Exchange’ cabinet as part of my contribution to the ‘Alchemy’ exhibition for the Deptford X arts festival. The fortune cookie has lasted surprisingly well, considering it’s foodstuff and has been knocking around for so long.
This is what I wrote about the state of financial affairs in the UK at that time, in 2009:
‘It’s been a year of uncertainty and in the current economic climate, nothing seems to be safe. People are struggling to cope with the possibility of losing everything – their work, their income, their homes, their relationships, their communities.
While the rich rush to transfer their investments into gold, the poor pack up their jewellery in envelopes in response to the glut of Cash For Gold ads on TV.
‘The Stock Exchange’ gives you an opportunity to put right some of the wrongs that have been inflicted upon us. This is your chance to be an Alchemist and turn your base metal into gold.
Just bring along an item of non-precious metal (lead, copper, aluminium, zinc) and exchange it for one of my golden offerings. Watch the process of reverse alchemy unfold, and help to transform gold into base metal.’
Six years on, and nothing has changed. I sprayed a total of 79 objects gold in all, the number 79 representing the atomic number of gold. Despite a lot of exchanges being made at the time, I still found plenty of ‘gold’ in the box marked ‘Stock Exchange‘ this morning. Saturday’s conversation with the artist who remembered the work and told me he still has his ‘golden treasure’ made me realise how relevant the sentiments expressed in the above piece of writing still are – degrees of unfairness and greed continue to be issues, as the gap between the rich & poor/the haves & have nots in our society grows ever wider. I might just need to resurrect this piece of work.
Bread and Roses #3.
Created in response to the General Election results on May 7th 2015. As I continue to record the decaying condition of Bread and Roses in the weeks and months ahead, it will act as a visual reminder of the consequences of neglect.
Five weeks on and signs of decay are already visible.
Click here to see the changes so far: http://www.katemurdochartist.com/latest.html
‘The left in Britain is still in shock. We did not have time to emotionally prepare ourselves for a Tory majority government, because the pollsters and analysts with their fancy graphs and scientific formulas were insistent that the election race was neck and neck … For many, it is as though time stopped at 10pm on 7 May 2015: we’re still trapped in that moment of horror and panicky disbelief.‘
Owen Jones, The Guardian, May 27th 2015
Three weeks last Thursday, the election result was announced and I woke up the next morning feeling quite numb. I’ve shifted away from the feeling of ‘panicky disbelief’ Owen Jones describes above to feeling simply, angry.
Which was why I was keen to respond to a call I saw on Twitter over the bank holiday weekend just gone; a public request from artist Peter Liversidge, asking for peoples’ nominations of protest songs to add to his own. I nominated Elvis Costello’s Tramp the Dirt Down which remains as powerful a song to me today as it did when it was first released in 1989. It’s nothing, if not angry! You can listen to it by clicking on the link at the end of this post.
Costello clarified the song’s message in Q Magazine in March 2008: ‘You shouldn’t really celebrate when anybody dies, but I think she did this country a disservice in the things she tricked out of people.’
I also believe Thatcher did Britain a disservice – a huge disservice and I dread what Cameron and his government’s imposed austerity measures might do to so many vulnerable people of this country over the next five years. That said, it feels important to maintain some degree of hope and to hold onto the fact that someday, sometime in the future, things will be different. Change does happen, campaigns for fairness and justice do succeed and people power works.
‘Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.’ to quote the inspirational Anne Frank.