Logo design and design oversight over limited edition art piece. Piece tells the story of Porphyria's Lover in photographs.
Commission by Ellen Rogers and Emilia Pelech to produce a newsprint book showcasing new and old Slovak fashion in various locations around Slovakia itself. I accompanied the trip to shoot backstage photography and produced a short film.
78 page book that contains an extended photo essay by photographer Ellen Rogers. Story and additional artwork by me.
As a fairly fresh enrollee to the school of Anarchism and Voluntarism I've, more recently, been looking back over the past few years of coming to terms with the logical extensions of morality that Anarchism presents. I'd be the first to tell you that I'm hideously under-nourished when it comes to the literary works that underpin the movement; so that for the most part I've acquired my knowledge by means of Osmosis and my own application of the core principals upon situations and conversations I find myself in. In other words very slowly and often haphazardly. In fact, for several years I was something I didn't even know there was a name for, let alone millennia of thought behind.
Along the way I've discovered so many great minds who've honed what I only knew in my gut into masterful conceptions of free societies and moral consistency, but along with this enrichment has also come some more negative aspects.
One of the first realisations most fledgling anarchists make, it seems, is that as we exist today, at the beginning of the 21st century, all political will is issued using force. In other words every moral decision made by the few, in the name of the many, is administered by means of violence towards everyone regardless of their consent. This applies to all matters from the care of children through to the amount of salt in foods, eventually non-compliance with dictates will be met with violence, whether it be through bailiffs or police raids. So the first realisation hits you that there are some people in society who seem to have been granted the right to do something that, from day one, you're taught is immoral. Furthermore you're taught to always solve you differences amicably and that 'violence solves nothing' or even 'violence begets violence' as Martin Luther King quoted. But if the very people we're supposed to look up to as our leaders use violence to solve things everyday, then how can this be true?
Unfortunately for the statesmen no amount of flag waving or military parades can mask the 'do as I say, not as I do' aspect of their existence. So for the newbie anarchist comes the phase of seeing everything the government does as sinister and coercive. Doubt begins to creep in about the efficiency of public services and whether or not the people who work in them are aware that they exist on money unwillingly attained (stolen). The world of dependable bin men, friendly postal workers and caring doctors you held as a child begins to disintegrate. All you can see is a system of totality forced upon everyone, it's minor benefits all pale into insignificance next to the great lie that prevails. Then you notice something far worse.
Everybody is at it. Western governments have honed the practise of separating the population from the violence inherent in the system to a fine art. The system has given rise to generations of people who have no idea that when they utter phases like 'that should be banned' or 'people shouldn't be allowed to do that' they're actually advocating violence against other people which the state gladly facilitates. Then the fun really begins for the blossoming anarchist as suddenly everyone they know becomes a living queen of hearts yelling 'off with their heads' at every mention of a tax-dodger or drug taker. This is really the point when you fall out of the window of the castle in the sky that once knew as reality and land in a strange new place altogether. You see the system for the first time as a parasite on the back of otherwise free society. You see people as inherently peaceful who are lead into advocating violence unwittingly because it's the only way they think that things around them can improve. You see the state continually grow year-on-year as more people jump at the chance to exert their will on others through this immoral rift that allows them do things they normally wouldn't dream of. You see a world cast into the shadow of violence whilst pretending to bathe in the light of freedom.
These past few weeks I've been buried up to the eyeballs in research material for the Video Game I'm working on which, in part, is centred on the Soviet Union (you can see one of the bespoke pieces I made for this research here). I've tried to prescribe myself as detailed a look into the organisation and effect of communism in Russia as possible. I wanted to look at things from not only the top-down ideological beginnings and execution but also the aftermath on an individual level. I feel I have at least added some substance in my mind to things that were purely notional to me before now. Things like the the organisation of the Cheka that went on to be the NKVD and eventually the KGB, which has given rise to contemporary Russia's power elite (Putin himself served as an officer for 16 years). Or the internal struggle of the original Bolsheviks against Stalinisation.
There are so many things I would like to discuss on the topic of freedom vs. statist control (of which I see Communism is just one brand) but the first I want to touch on is a positive one, that is related to the natural growth of Anarchism through benign technologies. It's a simple concept that requires a few simple understandings to grasp (don't read if you know this already, what follows is a VERY basic description). The first of which is the idea that 99% of people on this planet are anarchists but simple don't know it. This can be illustrated by an analysis of anyone's day to day activity. For example when in living memory have you or anyone else you know used violence or theft to achieve anything (other than self defence obviously); this can be obtaining an a new car or making friends or even proving a point? Furthermore have you or anyone you know ever hired someone to use violence or achieve something on their behalf? If the answer to both of these questions is 'no' then that's because you're most likely following your everyday moral compass if you even thought about it at all. More to the point, if you answered 'no' then you're obeying one of the basic principles most Anarchists follow which is non-aggression. In other words most people on the planet will avoid violence as hard as they can in their day to day lives. They wish only to go about their business and solve any problems or disputes in peace and would be very happy not to see violence (that isn't in the rare case consensual (think boxing and other sports that involve the consent of both parties)) at all. The opposite is true of any state; its only method of solution is force. Whether it be a tax, levy or any statute, all of it is enforced by violence leaving no room for discussion or consent - simply do as the state says otherwise have your property stolen or be taken to prison. Sadly the truth is we've all employed somebody to use violence on our behalf, that somebody is the state, but for the most part that's probably because we feel we have no choice and that brings me onto my next point.
The second idea to grasp is the notion that the state is simply a company that supplies a service. Any politician will be happy to tell you that government is there to serve the people and as such acts as a tool to enrich the lives of the many. All very well and good, I fully support the idea that a group of people can get together and offer their service for the betterment of everyone, who knows, I might even pay for that. But wait there's a catch, you HAVE to buy this service, there's no choice in the matter. These people are going to give you a service otherwise you can damn well go to prison. You have to hand it to them, it's a great business model, think if others adopted it; either you shop at Morrisons or they'll come round, kick your door in and steal your stuff (they might even take your children while they're at it), what a deal!
My point being that just like any other business the government takes in money and in turn supplies a service, as vast and varied as that range of services is, it is a service none the less. Only for some reason, granted by themselves, they can use violence to uphold their business model.
Though this creates the illusion that governments are above and, in turn, free of the market, this is just not the case. It may be true in terms of profits realised by the state but it's not true of the services they offer. If the products of the government cannot keep pace with emerging solutions from the free market then their relevance is diminished. Their are countless new technologies that diminish the supremacy of the state. One of the shining examples of this is, of course, Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a shining example of an emerging technology that was created expressly to alleviate the failings of socialist economic models. New methods of handling copyright and legal document filing through the block chain are also being explored in order to break the current model of state protected cartels and courts. The free market can only view state interference as a violent obstacle to peaceful exchange and thus will work to flow around it.
It should be realised that any new technology that seeks to present a solution to a problem that is shared by large quantities of people it takes away the potential for the state to expand. In other words since the birth of the industrial revolution (and even before if you were to be strict) we have been seeing a slow global emancipation through technologies that provide a benign solution to problems that would otherwise allow the state to leverage violence.
Although it probably need not be mentioned but the internet itself is one of those key technolgies that is rapidly dimminishing state supremacy. It is shining a light into places that states thought they could operate in the dark, it's dissolving national boundries and allowing everyone to communicate on an equal level, where before there was only nationalism. It's an historically unprecidented leap in humanities' capacity to deceminate insformation for itself and not rely on the decisions of a few who only had control at heart. It is a form of education no state could ever deliver, no matter how much they stole from the people. It has provided more unity and equality than any piece of legislation.
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