Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest
Dirty Protest

Dirty Protest

In 2011, artist Patrick Brill (known creatively as Bob and Roberta Smith) made waves in the art world with Letter to Michael Gove, an oversized painted-word response to the Education Secretary’s proposed eradication of art from the British school syllabus. In his feature film Art Party, distributed by Cornerhouse Artist Film, Smith builds on his 2011 protest with a mix of performance, interviews and imagined scenes, en route to the 2013 Art Party Conference, where he and other speakers championed the importance of art and its place in the education system. Part documentary, part road movie and part political fantasy, Art Party ultimately asks “How do you tell one man he’s got it wrong?”

Art Party opened Thursday 21 August 2014, and will continue to screen on general release including the international festival circuit.

On the occasion of the first screening of Bob and Roberta Smith’s Art Party, on GCSE results day (Thursday 21 August 2014), to celebrate the release of the film I was tasked with creating a night of revelry in Cornerhouse galleries. This hinged upon two new participatory commissions, for which we were joined by audiences in excess of 400 people, resulting in a close decision on almost having to close the doors to allow one-in, one-out, such was the demand to take part!

Dirty Protest (2014)
Bren O’Callaghan

A participatory open call  invited 200+ members of the public to create a gigantic, glorious mess without any other purpose but for imaginative release. Taking place within an initially sterile room with pristine white walls and fabric fitted floor , a viewing window was installed along one length for those who would rather peer in from the outside. Racks of disposable overalls, goggles and masks were available for those venturing within, where over 100 litres of rainbow hued paints in every colour, including fluorescent, glitter infused, flesh tones, ultra-violet and metallics, were supplemented by brushes, mixing palettes and a few bum-cheeky  jars of chocolate spread. The instruction-intention was simple. ‘Stage your own dirty protest‘. Release the creative muse! Before, during and after photographs documented the process for posterity.

Supported by Brian Clegg art supplies.

Squirtapalooza (2014)
Charlotte O’Toole and Ben Grainger

Stuff icing bag. Attach nozzle. Squeeze. Aim. Pipe! Head pastry chef and ‘pornicakor extraordinaire’ Charlotte O’Toole with Ben Grainger of Home Sweet Home  hosted an icing-slathered intervention, bolstered by buckets of buttercream. Mountains of ready-prepared cupcakes, doughnuts and outsized sponges awaited ornamentation with teetering piles of toppings,  including an edible Trifle Range, with balloons filled with custard and cream and a man-size Michael Gove target, while over to the side, patrons could lie back upon sun loungers and subject themselves to lip-smacking Cakeovers. Those with a cast iron constitution were invited to contribute towards the creation (and subsequent consumption) of the cut-and-shunt, freak show marvel that was Frankenpudding, formed from a myriad of sponges. Stomachs, beware! You had nothing to lose but your waistlines…

Kindly supported by Home Sweet Home. All pictures Chris Payne.

As featured on BBC News, The Skinny, Creative Tourist, Mancunian Matters and Tusk,

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