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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Making an exhibition of my book.

Image of iron furnaces from 1853 plus text from book
For the launch of my book - on sale here -there will be an event and exhibition in September 2014. It will be held at the  Workshop Gallery in Castle Douglas (where I live in Scotland). The gallery is attached to my brothers’ furniture restoration/making workshop.

The plan is to illustrate the themes of the book with a collection of graphic images. I have done a quick trawl through images I have but they will need to be whittled down to 12 or so. There will also be some of my daughter Elizabeth’s paintings. Elizabeth designed the cover image of my book.

The chapters in the book began life as a series of blog posts for Radical Independence Dumfries and Galloway. Reading through them in print there are three phases of history  present

I. Deep history
This  phase runs from the origins of feudal land ownership in Scotland a nearly  thousand years ago when Scots kings borrowed the idea from the Normans in England. This phase carries on through taking in the Reformation, the ‘English’ civil war, the Jacobite rebellions, the Scottish Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and  reaches the present with the idea that the aim of Scottish independence is a democratic revolution .

2. Modern history
This phase covers the past 40 years. The argument here is that the radical possibilities of the 1970s, which could have pushed the post-war social democratic consensus towards a more sustainable society through a combination of social, economic and ecological justice, were  blocked by a neoliberal counter-revolution. More than blocked, the radical possibilities were actively suppressed. The problem here is that I link together what were quite separate ‘alternatives’ at the time- for example punk and the proto-Green radical technology movement .

3. Immediate history
This is where I am responding to, for example, Nigel Farage of Ukip being run out of Edinburgh last year. It is where I try to bring  the deep  history and modern history phases into alignment with the as yet unknown outcome of the Scottish independence referendum vote on 18 September.

To overcome the ‘too long, didn’t read’ problem, the text of the original blog posts is broken up by the insertion of images every 500 words or so.  Although there are illustrations/images in the booklet there are far fewer. The idea of the book launch exhibition is to re-illustrate the book  with a set of powerful/striking images.

Here are some of the possible exhibition images,

From the 'School Kids Oz' 1970

South Scotland Bio-sphere Reserve

Stop the City

Nigel Farage plus Sex Pistols/Jamie Reid graphic

Wind farm


Airds Moss, Ayrshire- monument to Richard Cameron and his followers
 killed after declaring war on Charles II in 1680.

Tipping the Slag by Edwin Butler Bayliss 1870-1950

Coal miner working narrow wet seam, Lanarkshire 1950s
The Mob- Kill Your Pet Puppy 1981
Lugar Iron Works 1858- close to Airds Moss above

Original art work for  Mob album
Let the Tribe Increase, 1983

Poll tax riot Trafalgar Square 1990 plus Situationist text

Situationist image on cover of International Times no.26.



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