On Friday the 30th October, we had an inspiring talk as part of the Industry Friday series by Noel Douglas, tutor and Activist. Noel entitled his talk, We are not fighting for nature, we are nature defending itself. Through this talk Noel aimed to show us work to do with Activism and Anti-Capitalism not just his work artwork he does in the field of Graphic Design.
He started off with some hard hitting facts describing to us what the 1% is and also what Neo Liberalism is, he split Neo Liberalism into five features:
- The Rule of the Market (Democracy undermined by the market)
- Cutting Public Services (Cutting Welfare, Privatising the NHS)
- Deregulation (Getting things in order to profit, taking away some heath and safety laws)
- Individualism (Isolation of people to avoid collective)
He followed this us with several examples showing videos that highlighted some protests about the society that we live in. First of all was a Swedish Magazine that aimed to show how women and girls are being changed and photoshopped when put on front of magazines. This would help young women and girls to understand that they cannot copy the medias images of them because all of them have been changed and distorted so they no longer look natural.This was highlighted again through a video of a Zombie flashmob in Chile where the students were fighting against paying for education, the message was that they should not be zombies all their lives and be allowed free education.This linked also to the protests about rising tuition fees in the UK where students protested against the fees being raised to £9000 a year.
Noel then went of to explain what people were doing in a more art and design context. Johannes Gees created a project called Hellomrpresident where he used a laser light to put out messages from the general public onto a mountain for world leaders to see. People such as Floodnet and They Rule Josh On create website which will overload other websites with messages from the general public. Companies such as Adbusters create imagery to highlight the political goings on in our society. They distribute this in the form of a magazine which used to be anti-advertising but has recently become more anti capitalist. mydavidcameron.com enabled the general public to change and edit a Tory advertising campaign by providing a template and encouraging them to create their own poster.
Noel works a lot with Occupy Design. They adapt certain ideas and political issues and create images more accessible to the public. They also have a magazine called Occupy Times. Some of Noel’s well known pieces include a set of playing cards with world leaders on, mirroring the set of card soldiers were given in Afghanistan to help them identify criminals. He was also involved in the project at the Turbine Hall in the Tate Modern where a wing of a wind turbine was placed without permission in the hall and acted as a gift to the gallery. The idea of this piece was to bring to attention the contribution of money that the oil company BP give the gallery. Unfortunately the gallery did not accept the gift neither have they stopped the BP sponsorship.
Noel puts emphasis on the fact that we all have the capacity to make images and we all share a language.