Monthly Archives: October 2012

Red, White And Blue


From 07/11/12 to 08/12/12

Location: London Chelsea Space, United Kingdom


Private view: Tuesday 11th November 2012   6 – 8.30pm

Red, White and Blue explores relationships, influences, and appropriations in political, pop and punk imagery. Critically positioned in the context of this Jubilee and Olympic year, the exhibition reflects upon corresponding historical moments: the 1951 Festival of Britain, the birth of punk and the Silver Jubilee. Picking up where our last show, DOME, left off Red, White and Bluelooks again at how the recently re-emerging themes of austerity, legacy, and national identity have resonated across the last half century, both in the UK and internationally.

Red, White and Blue combines film, photography, graphics and contemporary art to expand the relationship between pop and punk culture, politics and place, reflecting back upon the past as well as examining the present. Whilst ideas of Britannia and Britishness permeate this exhibition, the show includes international perspectives of place and political defiance from Sao Paulo, Sarajevo, New York, and Ljubljana.

The exhibition begins with plasma screens and video projection; a control room or nerve centre; a video immersion tank. Next, a kind of billboard alley of photographic images, pop art, graphics and posters; imagery piled high, international, and layered with histories. Anti- government protests from South America and civil war in the Balkans are depicted through posters and the moment of the Royal Jubilee of 1977 and the emergence of a Punk sensibility is evoked in black and white photographs.

At the end of this graphic walkway a TV on the floor acts as an abject sentinel, a cathode tube at the end of the tunnel. In the main space, ideas of pop, punk, politics and place are consolidated within vivid, colourful artworks. Emptied out and cleaned up abstracted details of political symbols and music related graphics find new materiality and new meanings in a contemporary context.

Curatorial concept and design: Donald Smith with Daniel Sturgis

An illustrated publication is available with foreword by Donald Smith and main text by Michael Bracewell.


Chelsea Arts Club Trust logo





The Practice of Everyday Life 
Michel de Certeau

General Introduction

This essay is part of a continuing investigation of the ways in which users-commonly assumed to be passive and guided by established rules-operate. The point is not so much to discuss this elusive yet fundamental subject as to make such a discussion possible; that is, by means of inquiries and hypotheses, to indicate pathways for further research. This goal will be achieved if everyday practices, “ways of operating” or doing things, no longer appear as merely the obscure background of social activity, and if a body of theoretical questions, methods, categories, and perspectives, by penetrating this obscurity, make it possible to articulate them.

The examination of such practices does not imply a return to individuality. The social atomism which over the past three centuries has served as the historical axiom of social analysis posits an elementary unit-the individual-on the basis of which groups are supposed to be formed and to which they are supposed to be always reducible. This axiom, which has been challenged by more than a century of sociological, economic, anthropological, and psychoanalytic research, (although in history that is perhaps no argument) plays no part in this study. Analysis shows that a relation (always social) determines its terms, and not the reverse, and that each individual is a locus in which an incoherent (and often contradictory) plurality of such relational determinations interact. Moreover, the question at hand concerns modes of operation or schemata of action, and not directly the subjects (or persons) who are their authors or vehicles. It concerns an operational logic whose models may go as far back as the age-old ruses of fishes and insects that disguise or transform themselves in order to survive, and which has in any case been concealed by the form of rationality currently dominant in Western culture. The purpose of this work is to make explicit the systems of operational combination (les combinatoires d’operations) which also compose a “culture,” and to bring to light the models of action characteristic of users whose status as the dominated element in society (a status that does not mean that they are either passive or docile) is concealed by the euphemistic term “consumers.” Everyday life invents itself by poaching in countless ways on the property of others.

1. Consumer production

Since this work grew out of studies of “popular culture” or marginal groups,[1] the investigation of everyday practices was first delimited negatively by the necessity of not locating cultural difference in groups associated with the “counter-culture”-groups that were already singled out, often privileged, and already partly absorbed into folklore-and that were no more than symptoms or indexes. Three further, positive determinations were particularly important in articulating our research.

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“Popular culture studies is the academic discipline studying popular culture from a critical theory perspective. It is generally considered as a combination of communication studies and cultural studies. Following the work of the Frankfurt School, popular culture has come to be taken more seriously as a terrain of academic inquiry and has also helped to change the outlooks of more established disciplines. Conceptual barriers between so-called high and low culture have broken down, accompanying an explosion in scholarly interest in popular culture, which encompasses such diverse media as comic books,television, and the Internet. Reevaluation of mass culture in the 1970s and 1980s has revealed significant problems with the traditional view of mass culture as degraded and elite culture as uplifting. Divisions between high and low culture have been increasingly seen as political distinctions rather than defensible aesthetic or intellectual ones.” ///


Throughout this elective we will attempt to create contemporary definitions of what the elements might be that make up POP(ULAR) CULTURE. We will start with the parts that make up the phrase and then move on to the philosophical, theoretical and material manifestations that have occurred in the past and the present. 

We will deconstruct what has been said before about these ideas and unpick and unpack them to form a new anatomy of POP(ULAR) CULTURE. By finding out what are the PARTS that make it up we might then be able to form a new BODY of thought that challenges what has gone before?

The AIM of the course is to create a deeper understanding of what these terms might mean to us and their relationship to our practices. One OBJECTIVE is to create a Wikipedia page that either add to the existing pages about these subject or create a NEW term that more acurately defines what POP(ULAR) CULTURE might mean for you today.




Pop Culture:

Popular Culture:



Pop(ular) Culture:

Fridays 10.00am – 12noon

Mark Ingham (MI)

Upper Casket


Takashi Murakami at Versailles

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“This option explores popular culture allied to social theory and its relationship to market structure and the creative process. Popular culture changes constantly and occurs uniquely in place and time and forms currents and eddies that represent a complex of mutually interdependent perspectives and values. The unit will include a broad range of case studies and examples from a range of design and media disciplines including visual communication, fashion, music and print and broadcast media.”


Is it this we should be talking about?

Popular culture

From Wikipedia:
 Popular culture is the entirety of ideasperspectivesattitudesmemes,[1] images and other phenomena that are preferred[citation needed] by an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the late 20th and early 21st century. Heavily influenced by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates theeveryday lives of the society.

Although terms popular culture and pop culture are in some cases used interchangeably, and their meanings partially overlap, the term “pop”, which dates from the late 1950s, belongs to a particular society and historical period. Pop refers more specifically to something containing qualities of mass appeal, while “popular” refers to what has gained popularity, regardless of its style.[2][3][4]

Popular culture is often viewed as being trivial and dumbed-down in order to find consensual acceptance throughout the mainstream. As a result, it comes under heavy criticism from various non-mainstreamsources (most notably religious groups and countercultural groups) which deem it superficial, consumeristsensationalist, and corrupted.




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