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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
Facebook event
 

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.

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WRITER, ARTIST AND activist Penny Rimbaud investigates the question; ‘is there a real world?’ in an intimate discussion with author, musician and Louder Than War founder John Robb. Filmed in front of a studio audience at the Lush Studio Soho, London on 21 July 2017, the video of the event has now been published by Lush.

John Robb and Penny Rimbaud - Is there a real world?

Lush - Is There a Real World

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The challenging / provocative / controversial / suspect / distasteful / unconscionable (* choose your adjective) Cold Spring Record label are to release Kernschmelze II – ‘Cantata for Improvised Voice’, a new work featuring words and lyrics by Penny Rimbaud, vocals by Eve Libertine and artwork by Gee Vaucher. The musical soundtrack for the piece is composed of recorded voices processed by Charles Webber “to almost choral proportions”.
 

Penny Rimbaud’s Kernschmelze II – ‘Cantata for Improvised Voice’
 

Penny Rimbaud’s Kernschmelze II – ‘Cantata for Improvised Voice’

Kernschmelze: ‘the dying gasps of the Age of Enlightenment’. Kernschmelze II is a cantata for voices, in this case the voice of Crass songstress Eve Libertine, processed by Charles Webber to almost choral proportions. Working on Kernschmelze II alongside Eve Libertine, Penny Rimbaud has been able to produce a classic album on a par with their Acts of Love of 1984 (Crass Records). Libertine’s sparse, vulnerable poetics counter the almost Wagnerian scale of the work, challenging preconceptions of what music should be and making strong suggestions as to what it might yet become. Extreme electronics sourced solely from vocal sounds to create noise music of an intense and highly demanding nature. Ecopak with artwork by Gee Vaucher

Pre-order CD

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Penny Rimbaud reflects on the experience of his recent heart attack in a recent edition of BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts (7 November 2016), which is available (in the UK) to stream and download through the BBC iPlayer. Host Josie Long also quotes from the lyrics of her favourite Crass song Big A, Little A.

Rimbaud’s appearance on the show is also available (as a ‘Radio Four in four’ clip) on the BBC Programmes‘ site.

Penny Rimbaud - Short Cuts

Why I found my heart attack a beautiful experience

Penny Rimbaud is a writer, philosopher and musician. He recently had a heart attack at Rochdale train station. He explains how confronting death was profoundly beautiful and liberating.

First broadcast on Short Cuts, 7 November 2016.

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Twenty three of the exhibition pieces from the recent The Art of Crass exhibition are on show as part of the Punk in the East festival taking place in Norwich.

The Art of Crass pieces are on show in the The Alley, 20 Brideswell Alley, Norwich NR2 1HX (Wednesday: 11:00-18:00; Friday and Saturday: 11:00-23:30; Sunday-Tuesday: closed). Entry is free, and the exhibition runs until 3 December 2016.

The full programme of the festival can be found on the Punk in the East site.

 

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Gee Vaucher - exhibition

Gee Vaucher (1945) is an internationally renowned political artist living outside Epping, Essex. She is best known for her radical creativity, montages and iconic artwork for the infamous anarcho-pacifist band Crass. Employing an eclectic range of styles and techniques, coupled with an essentially DIY aesthetic, she creates powerful images exploring political, cultural and personal issues. She sees her work as a tool for social change.

This retrospective survey of Vaucher’s work is her premiere in the UK, bringing together for the first time a comprehensive collection of her paintings, collages, prints, photographs, videos and sculptures plus installation work and rare archive material.

MORE DETAILS OF the events that will accompany Gee Vaucher’s upcoming ‘Introspective’ exhibition, which will run from 12 November 2016 to 19 February 2017 at the Firstsite gallery space in Colchester have been published. Not all of the specifics are yet known, but these are some of the dates for the diary…

  • Friday 11 November 2016, 18:00-20:00: Private viewing of the exhibition, on the eve of the main opening; opening party
  • Saturday 19 November – Sunday 20 November 2016: The Print Project Workshop (featuring the Letterpress gang from Shipley)
  • Thursday 24 November 2016: Screening of ‘Angel’, a film by Gee Vaucher; followed by a Q&A session.
  • Friday 25 November 2016: Penny Rimbaud performs with “assorted musicians & words”.
  • Saturday 26 November 2016: Artist and Curator tour of the exhibition.
  • Thursday 1 December 2016: A discussion and debate on Gee Vaucher’s work with: Rebecca Binns, George McKay, Brandon Taylor & Stevphen Shukaitis (plus Gee “maybe stirring the soup”).
  • Friday 2 December 2016: Eve Libertine and Charles Webber. Eve Libertine has written the lyrics for & is co-director of an exciting new chamber opera Room of Worlds for live voices, electronics and video. The opera charts the physical and psychological journey of a woman in a patriarchal landscape of domesticity, love and loneliness, through medicine and memory, to the edge of madness. Room of Worlds is based loosely on The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and is the result of an ongoing collaboration between electronic artist Charles Webber (composer/video) & experimental vocalist and ex-Crass chanteuse Eve Libertine.
  • 13 January 2017: Penny Rimbaud reads the poetry of Wilfred Owen
  • 14-15 January 2017: Monoprint workshops with Eve & Pandora
  • 28-29 January 2017: no.w.here Film Workshop for Young Women

Full details of these and other events are still to be announced.

Firstsite
Lewis Gardens, High St, Colchester CO1 1JH
http://www.firstsite.uk.net
http://www.firstsite.uk.net/page/gee-vaucher

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CRASS CO-FOUNDER PENNY Rimbaud has a busy schedule of appearances this autumn, including the following events:

Small Wonder exhibition - 2016

Tales of the life and times of Small Wonder Records

Tales of the life and times of Small Wonder
Friday 23 September 2016, 18:30ish
Hoe Street Central, 3 Central Parade, Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London E17 4RT

As an event during the Small Wonder exhibition, Penny Rimbaud will be part of a question-and-answer session: ‘Tales of the life and times of Small Wonder Records’, the label that in 1978 unleashed Crass onto the unsuspecting public.


Patriotism & the ‘great game’: the impact of Wilfred Owen’s poetic testimony

Patriotism and the ‘great game’
12 October 2016, 18:00
River Room (2nd Floor) – King’s Building, Strand Campus King’s College London, London, WC2R 2LS.
Free entry – but advance booking required

Rimbaud joins an academic panel to discuss Wilfred Owen’s devastating accounts of the conditions of war during World War One and his denouncement of the patriotism that persuaded an entire generation of young men to ‘step in line’ and play the ‘great game’ of war. This patriotic call to arms was a global affair, as can be seen in the first verse of A Lockhead’s poem, published in both the Times and The Poverty Bay Herald, New Zealand on 26th January 1915.

This discussion serves as an introduction and accompaniment to the performance of ‘The Pity of War’, which will take place on Thursday 13 October in King’s Chapel. Penny Rimbaud will perform the war poems of Owen accompanied by Liam Noble and Kate Shortt on piano and cello with visuals by Gee Vaucher. Both panel discussion and performance seek not to glorify victory, but to remember the terrible darkness brought by war.


The Pity of War

The Pity of War
13 October 2016, 18:30-20:30
Chapel – Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Tickets available online shortly

Penny Rimbaud will recite the war poems of Wilfred Owen accompanied by Liam Noble and Kate Shortt on piano and cello with visuals by Gee Vaucher.

‘I was a war baby who, like many, didn’t meet their father until they were three or four, which too often was too late. My father brought the war home with him. He never much spoke of it, rather he was imbued with it; it seeped from his every pore. He was distant, absent and cold, and he made me feel fearful. Then how was I to know what horrors had so muted him, horrors which in his imaginings and his dreams would forever be present? He would speak of “the real world” and how he’d fought for my freedom, but as I grew older I became increasingly cautious of the conditional nature of that freedom. I’d seen pictures of the death camps, knew about atom bombs and was aware of the carnage, but, beyond a sense of uninformed sorrow, I grew to feel loathing and contempt for what seemed be the utter senselessness of it all. My father’s war and his real world had to me become synonymous.

In my late teens I was introduced to the poetry of Wilfred Owen and from one line in his “Strange Meeting” I was awoken to an entirely new way of being – “I am the enemy you killed, my friend” – no malice, no terrible vengeance, only love; a true expression of human possibility beyond the bitter brutality of jingoistic cant. In Owen’s selfless tenderness I had at last found something that made sense within the madness of the warring material world; we are no more, no less than the other, divided only by the fall from grace. It was from this illumination that I became an active pacifist committed to the promotion of peace and love.

It is, then, only natural that I chose to commit myself to present Owen’s poems throughout the centenary years of the euphemistic ‘Great War’. In doing so I am able to honour the great gift that he gave through his life, his works and his untimely death.’


Rimbaud in performance

Penny Rimbaud, TMDG conference, Argentina

Penny Rimbaud
TMDG conference [international design conference]
Sunday 16 October 2016 (TBC)
Av. Juan B. Justo 3525, Peralta Ramos Oeste,
B7602EHJ. Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tickets available online

Penny Rimbaud pledges to take “art, politics and common-sense nonsense” during a trip to Argentina part-sponsored by the British Council. Details of other events during the trip are still to be announced


An evening of poetry and jazz, Canterbury

An evening of poetry and jazz
Thursday 20 October 2016
Free Range
Water Lane Coffeehouse, Water Lane, Canterbury Kent CT1 2NQ

Described as ‘one of the country’s great trombonists’ (BBC), Annie Whitehead is joined by Penny Rimbaud and the immensely experienced singer, bassist and producer Jennifer Maidman for an evening of poetry and jazz.


Penny Rimbaud - portrait - Louder than Words

‘Open Door, Open Heart’, Louder than Words festival

‘Open Door, Open Heart’
Louder than Words festival
Sunday 13 November 2016, 14:00
The Palace Hotel. Oxford Street, Manchester, M60 7HA
Tickets available online

We’re delighted to welcome back Penny Rimbaud to Louder Than Words 2016.

In ‘Open Door, Open Heart’ Penny Rimbaud and John Robb discuss the meaning of peace and love in a world which might so easily appear to practice the opposite – ‘There is love if we make it’.

Crass founding member Penny Rimbaud has been writing poetry, song lyrics, philosophy and memoirs for over 50 years. A drummer, performance artist, environmental activist and philosopher, he claims “breadmaker” as his most prevailing occupation. Rimbaud and Crass’s lasting influence on youth culture are a testament to the original importance of their words and deeds. Having formed a collective in 1967 to live outside of the status quo, Penny Rimbaud continues to inspire new generations of artistic rebels.

Highly regarded as one of England’s great rebel poets, Penny Rimbaud is a prolific author and fearless explorer of possibilities in life and art. Over the three decades since Crass disbanded he has been involved in a myriad of arts projects, published over 14 books, and released vast ranging music including free form jazz, spoken word and symphonic punk.

An undoubted festival highlight, join us for this very special event!

Steve Ignorant is also appearing at the 2016 Louder Than Words event on the same day.


Penny Rimbaud and Hugh Metcalfe

Penny Rimbaud and Hugh Metcalfe
Tuesday 15 November 2016, 20.00
The Klinker
Apiary Studios, 460 Hackney Road, London E2 9EG

Dada poet Hugh Metcalfe is joined by Penny Rimbaud on percussion to excrete tales of shite, crap and general unwholesomeness.

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