Britain's Rubbish Preview, Decima Gallery, Berlin

Humankind is imminently headed for collapse. Shit! How did that happen? We need look no further than 'BRITAIN'S RUBBISH' says Decima Projects, who, along with a new Berlin art gallery, are staging a major show this October to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Emigre artists keen to raise awareness about our role in the world's demise include Bob & Roberta Smith, Cake & Neave, Darren Coffield, Franko B, Gavin Turk, Gilbert & George, Harry Pye, Louise Camrass, Laura Oldfield Ford, Mark Hammond, Mark McGowan and many others.


Take a walk down an average British Street: at the tabloid headlines in the news-stands, the ever-present CCTV cameras, the police officer arresting a cyclist for going the wrong way down a one-way street while round the corner his colleague is murdering an innocent civilian. Notice the boarded-up local shops that have made way for another Tesco, and the kids menacing congregation with little else to do but stab each other for sweets. Past the shit electronics shop selling us yet another TV so we can keep up with the Jones's, not to mention the tireless march of widescreen / flatscreen / digital technology requiring us to purchase another one every year - hear another hypocritical politician or another reality TV celebrity pageant, some trash about buying property, a soap opera through which to live your life, or an ad promising eternal youth. On to the bank to withdraw your paltry pay, your only recompense for a life of 9-5 misery and enslavement.

With world economies crashing around our ears, exponential increases in the rate of population growth, deforestation and climate change, the human race is now teetering dangerously on the brink of an endgame scenario. Yet our politicians still bow to the puppetry of corporate forces, and our populace are out to blame each other, rather than acknowledge their power to change things - at best apathetic, at worst ignorant, to the real machineries of power. The very agencies with the remit to serve and protect us continue to enslave us, through disinformation, surveillance and even reckless, faceless brutality, serving to deepen the world crisis yet further.

As a significant and continuing instigator, supporter and catalyst in the processes, attitudes, conflicts and policies, which have lead, us down this path over the last 30 years, perhaps it is time for Britain to give way to a little introspection.

It may be true to consider the U.S. as the real epicentre and driving force of the global corruption, blind profiteering, warmongering, dumbed down education, media manipulation, individualism, consumer capitalism, social control and plutocracy (amongst other flawed ideals) that is causing our insidious decline as a species - but criticising the US has become something of an international sport in recent years and therefore is a bit tired and glib, everyone is now quite well versed with the issues, and also, with Bush out, this may not be a good time for those issues to fully resonate.

However, given Britain's general tendency to support and partner the American approach, mirror, copy, syndicate and consume in vast quantities it's trashy output, align itself closer to Washington than with Brussels (ever hear a Eurosceptic lunatic bang on about how our policies are decided in Washington? thought not), it seems to make more sense to look closer to home. Evidence and artefact is to be found in everything from the pages of the FT to the fruit & veg shelves of Asda.

You don't have to go far to find what it is about British psychology, geography, history and culture that has let us down so seriously and insidiously. When our vast and rich cultural heritage has to make way for Noel Edmonds, Big Brother and Football Results, we should be smelling rats galore or are they leaving this sinking ship, en route to Mars?

The stakes are high. Britain, as the finance capital of the world and traditionally a beacon of innovation, a former empire and until very recently a real world power, is admired and mirrored elsewhere, often on vast scales. We need to heed, and share, the lessons from our very recent and blindingly obvious mistakes of the last 30 years. The rest of Europe (particularly Berlin) has (comparatively) hitherto resisted such phenomenon as individualism, excessive CCTV, celebrity seduction, the homogenisation of the high street and over-proliferation of big brands - but this is despite the best efforts of those who wish to create a plutocracy, and are succeeding in all but name, encouraged by our governments and ignored by the silent majority.

Russia recently traded in socialism for wealth beyond dreams for the few at the top. Prague has changed out of all recognition in the last 10 years alone, now overcrowded with EasyJet tourists and American Coca-colonisation. India and China, trumpeted (often by the likes of R.Murdoch, and others with a lot to gain) as triumphant examples of "progressive" nations, as we attempt to do away with their local customs and mould them in our own Image, as if having a McDonalds on every corner and 2 cars in every driveway is the only "civilized" way to be.

Despite Britain's considerable influence, we have transformed in a few short decades into a shining beacon of stupidity, a guiding light down the garden path of certain doom. Even a cursory examination of Britain's Rubbish and why Britain is rubbish can be very quickly populated with suspects aplenty: past, present and future.

Reaching the bank, there’s not much chance of getting your payout. The bank has foreclosed, is now in the hands of the receivers, and your pay-cheque has gone towards executive rewards for allowing it to happen. It’s now a trendy wine bar, populated by the same execs being wined and dined by headhunters. And they won’t even let you smoke.

BRITAIN'S RUBBISH is at 'Art without Borders', Hasenheide 73, Kreuzberg, Berlin from October 30th - November 8th 2009. Private View 7pm October 30th. Gallery open daily 2pm - 8pm / 2pm-6pm Sundays or by appointment +49 (0) 176 7825 3615


Artists include Bob & Roberta Smith, Cake & Neave, Darren Coffield, Franko B, Gavin Turk, Gilbert & George, Harry Pye, Louise Camrass, Laura Oldfield Ford, Mark Hammond, Mark McGowan and many others. See www.decimagallery.com
 

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