Crass - 'We don't want to be nuisance but' flyer

There is no authority but yourself… and there is no self

19 August 2017 | 19:00-22:00
The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936
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PUNK IS OFTEN NARRATED as a kind of year zero, a total break with the past. But this is far from the case. Nowhere is that clearer through the anarcho-punk punk Crass, who taking the phrase “there is no authority but yourself” made connections with a range of countercultures and arts, from the beats to the hippies, existentialism to surrealism.

Crass emerged from Dial House, an open house and arts space in rural Essex. Co-founder Penny Rimbaud describes its ethos creating a space where people “could get together to work and Live in a creative atmosphere rather than the stifling, inward looking environments in which we had all been brought up.” It is from here that innumerable projects and collaborations have been launched, from artistic ventures to political campaigns, from the planning of the first free festivals during the 1970s to the Stop the City protests.

This evening will explore these overlaps of punk, performance, radical arts and culture through a curator’s preview. Stevphen Shukaitis will introduce and provide context and background. This will be followed by an open conversation (via Skype) with Penny Rimbaud.Finally experimental musicians Dharma and Awk Wah will host a listening session accompanied with archival footage of the Stop the City demonstrations.

This event is part of The Substation’s Discipline the City series, part of which will revisit the Stop the City protests:

Stevphen Shukaitis is a Senior Research Associate in Art History at the University of Essex Centre for Curatorial Studies. Since 2005 he has worked with Autonomedia, a New York based publisher and autonomous zone for political arts and culture. Recently he co-curated Introspective, the first large scale exhibition of Gee Vaucher’s artwork spanning more than fifty years.

Penny Rimbaud didn’t go to Oxbridge. He is not married, has no children and no dog. He does not have a private dwelling in the Home Counties nor a pied-à-terre in Hoxton. He neither drives a car nor owns a mobile phone; his landline is inoperative. When asked, he says that he is a bread maker, this being because he realises that his bread is considerably easier to digest than his poetry and philosophy. He has been writing for all of his life, well, at least the last sixty-nine years of it. He is under no illusion that his writing days are not numbered.

Dharma was the guitarist of The Observatory for the first 7 albums. His initial experimentations with the electric guitar were with effects and later on incorporating objects together with various extended techniques. In 2013, he released his solo debut, Intergranular Space, which opened up new vistas for his guitar work. Since going solo in 2015 he has been involved in various experimental and improvised music performances most notably at the Asian Meeting Festival 2016 which featured notable Asian improvisers like Otomo Yoshihide and Jojo Hiroshige.

Awk Wah is the solo project of Shark Fung, a prolific Mandopop songwriter in his youth who later spent time playing drums in band like Engineered Beautiful Blood, Amino Acid Orchestra and I\D. Described by The Sound Projector as “a bound man sewed up in a mailsack trying to wriggle free with nothing more than a small nail file to make his escape,” Awk Wah doesn’t give you too much to cling on to before he has moved on to something else sound-wise.

Discipline the City

May 2017 – December 2017
The Substation, 45 Armenian Street, Singapore 179936

Cities mirror us. What happens when our city becomes over-designed and over-regulated? Is there still space for diversity, or does the city tend towards some vague notion of a model citizen? Who has the right to the city and who doesn’t?

Sometimes, control is heavy handed — police, barricades, closed circuit cameras — but more often than not, it happens in the invisible seams of its architecture. It’s the spikes in public spaces to discourage loiterers, the railings in void decks to stop kids from playing football, the hedges that grow outwards to prevent you sitting on the curb. We get so used to it that we don’t realise how little agency we have. Or we do, and we are helpless.

At The Substation, artists work alongside architects, designers, historians, urban planners to examine the precarity of urban life. The city, in its imperfection, even unruliness, offers multiple possibilities for those unwilling to accept this helplessness. It’s in the margins, the in-betweens, and the elusive public and civic spaces that we might find our individual and collective identity. That we might find ways to make the city ours.