Défilé Historique, 2021. Digital collage using found photographs.

Freedom, Beauty, Truth and Love. The four indisputable cornerstones of the Bohemian ideal as upheld in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge (2001). A film which so skilfully wove together pop culture and artistic sentiment, and cinematically described how it would have felt to have been immersed in the fizz of the Belle Epoque.

Then as now, art reflects its society. Caught within the eddies of Postmodernism, we’re floating, directionless – spinning around in nauseating circles. The steam powered forward thrust of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries has long since petered out. Replaced by the 4K illusion of progress, stoked with Ego and mediated by “fact-checkers” and the first five google search results.

More than a generation of people have come to misguidedly view The State as their benevolent provider. Distracted and comatose by a constant drip feed of total banality and tawdry television programmes whilst shovelling shit bike-couriered food into their gaping mouths; One eye on the gogglebox the other skipping through an equally execrable stream of narcissistic slurry. Nah, don’t bother getting dressed to nip to the chippy, you’re fine to go in your polyester jammies. Just make sure you don’t plant your Tinkerbelle slippers in the pile of dog mess on the corner. Karl Lagerfeld had it right when he declared, “sweatpants are a sign of defeat”. Der Kreig ist aus, Karl. Well and fuckin’ truly. This deplorable existential malaise seems to have trickled its way into art’s water supply.

Artists were supposed to turn a mirror on society but instead most of them turned a mirror on themselves, and it became a ‘selfie’. … Now most writers, artists, poets sold out. Too scared to challenge in case they lost the corporate sponsor or some Government grant.

“Utopia”, on Amazon.

For many, this trickle has swollen to become an endless stream of unanswered emails, form filling, dead-end proposals and .pdfs; A torrent of unproductivity which has all but swept away any hope of encountering something decent, or an original thought.

Meanwhile, one of the largest and most violent assaults on our Human rights and civil liberties is broadly being met with a total and deathly silence from the art world. Do you mean to tell me that the most supposedly progressive and open-minded people within our population have nothing to say about the prospect of a global two-tier society; Installed through emotional manipulation and outright coercion? Dictated by villainously rogue and corrupt Governments, paralytic on “Emergency Powers”. Have I got that right? Because that is how it looks from here.

We’re all agreed aren’t we: Discrimination of any kind is loathsome. That’s irrefutable, isn’t it? No one should be shunned, displaced or locked out of society based on their race, sexual orientation, gender, social demographic; Or any number of variables. So where exactly do “Vaccine Passports” feature in your Mid-Century Utopian visions?

I am dumbfounded that anyone could think they were in any way acceptable, let alone a proportionate response to a disease that the average person has a 99.95% chance of surviving. Mandating injections which do not confer immunity or halt the spread, and requiring proof of compliance to participate in everyday life is all kinds of sickening. In France, it will soon be ILLEGAL for people to so much as enter a supermarket without being able to prove they have submitted to the jab. With prison sentences and exorbitant fines for those found to have dodged the draft. Is this really the world you wish to live in? There are no words.

Where are all those “critically engaged” artists, curators and gallerists? Where are you while our fundamental rights and freedoms are demolished right in front of you? As I long suspected, the only things which are ever truly critically engaged are public toilets. All equally full of shit.

Galleries and museums, in fact, any arts venues, cultural organisations or individuals which deny access to those who decline medical interventions, and insist on being presented with a “certificate” or “passport” will be withholding culture from perhaps the only people who truly value and understand it. The instant you play into, and enforce, such medical apartheid (and that’s exactly what it is), your apparent position as a beacon of equality, liberty and artistic freedom vaporises instantly.

For people within the arts to go along with, never-mind endorse and promote such a despicably divisive, unlawful and immoral practice renders me speechless.

Such a system contravenes not only English Common Law but also each person’s right to bodily autonomy as stated in the Nuremberg Code, The UN Declaration on Medicine and Bioethics, The Oveido Convention (1997), and Resolution 2361 (2021) Article 7.3 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, among many others. Their implementation is wholly unlawful and constitutes an illegal act. A crime against Humanity.

No one else gets to decide what we put into our bodies. NO ONE. I will not be bullied, blackmailed, pressured, cajoled, coerced, forced or shamed into accepting any medical treatment. Not least one which is only authorised for emergency use, and remains in clinical trials until 2023. We are each free to choose, and should face no prejudice for the choices we make. This is written into International Law with indelible ink, and has been since 1947. I needn’t have to remind you why.

I get the very strong impression my position goes completely against the art world’s grain. People I thought were friends have quietly unfriended & unfollowed; No conversation, no goodbyes – just unfollowed and blocked. A lot of them are artists, some very successful – on paper at least. Alleged free and critical thinkers. A completely woeful state of affairs catalysed by media borne fear and ignorance; I find that far scarier than any virus.

But not as much as the self righteous bilious vitriol which spews from the social accounts of people I used to like and respect. Particularly a certain coffee fuelled New York critic, whose recent blanket condemnation of people who decline such unlicensed interventions effectively wished them dead. An abhorrent stance for anyone who considers themselves to be in any way “cultured”.

You may not have realised it yet but we have entered an increasingly dark period of Human history, and the arts are all too eager to usher it in. Who could ever have imagined that?! The central maxims of the Bohemian Revolution laid waste by the very people who claim to embody and uphold them. Leaving nothing in their wake but venomous discrimination masquerading as kindly discernment and the pursuit of “safety”. Beneath your N95s lies another mask, and it’s slipping.

I will never yield to a “Health Passport”, politely but resolutely decline the offer of an investigational gene-based therapeutic, and will accept any and all consequences. Come what may.

Vive le vie de Bohème!!

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