on the links below the individual articles to download / view as either
a PDF or text file.
8 Summer 1999
Bordieu's Sociological theory of Culture -
With studies such as 'The Rules of Art and The Production of Belief',
Bordieu's writings have been an important if not vital contribution
to unravelling the underlying power structures within the production and
economic administration of education, art and culture. Here Fowler, the
author of an academic study of Bordieu and a lecturer at Glasgow University,
presents a precise overview of his work to date.
Art School Jungle - Lorna
A cartoon work from the creator of 'Witch' exploring the horrors
of the Art School life drawing class.
Tales From The Great Unwashed - Ian
A poignant and brooding short work of fiction which has the themes of
protection and fear of loss.
20th Century Prison Blues (an essay informed by four
novels) - Jim Ferguson
The novels are The Star Rover by Jack London, Men in Prison by Victor
Serge, Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler and Borstal Boy by Brendan
Behan. Ferguson focuses on several comparative aspects and levels of meaning
in these works - their parallel use of the interior monologue as
a metaphor for incarceration broadens out into a discourse on personal
History of the LMC - Clive
Well illustrated both visually and through Bell's quotations and
painstaking research. The London Musicians Collective forms a bridge between
the early experimental work of the 60s to the contemporary hybrid forms
of improvisational and electronic music. Bell's very faithful account
presents the history of the organisation from a very human and self-effacing
point of view. It explores the little known evolution of the Collective
and the vast range of unique events it has staged on an international
'Tun yuh hand and meck fashion'
- Mervin Jarman & Matthew Fuller
This is a short interview which outlines Jarman's 'Container
Project' which is an initiative to take a mobile media centre to
the streets of Jamaica.
Comic & Zine reviews - Mark
Although tremendously popular and influential, comics and fanzines are
still looked down upon in British culture as a minor art from. Variant
provides this revue section as a regular feature. From recently produced
and lavishly obsessive works of individual artists to re-issues of classics
of the genre, Pawson's enthusiastic round up explores a weird array
of underground graphic art.
Supplement: Byzantine Politics (The Abduction and
Trial of Abdulla Ocalan) - William
The first in a series of supplements to the magazine, this has been recognised
as at the forefront of reporting on the case. The product of extensive
research - it is a wide ranging work sensitive to the many twists
and turns of international law and diplomacy. It unravels the events surrounding
the abduction of Ocalan by forces which had earlier planed his assassination,
revealing grave abuses of international law and the judicial process.
Ocalan remains in a Turkish jail in circumstances exactly similar to those
surrounding Nelson Mandela's imprisonment.
The Wilson Plots - Robin
Robin Ramsay is a writer whose work provides a unique insight into the
political history of the 70s. It is an account which - unlike conventional
versions - takes into consideration the activities of the security
services and associated agencies. The focus of this essay includes various
attempts at de-stabilising the Wilson government. The essay looks back
on the paucity of the process whereby information came to public attention
in the media concerning the 'Spycatcher' affair and the case
of Colin Wallace. It also brings the reader up to date and outlines the
inadequacies in regulation of the largely unaccountable 'secret state'.
Dragsters and Drag Queens - Simon
The first of two US anthologies reviewed in Variant 8, this is a comprehensive
review of the anthology 'The Citiizen Artist', which contains
a selection of retrospective works from 78 - 98 drawn from the influential
US-based High Performance magazine. The book provides an in-depth commentary
on the - at times highly charged atmosphere - of the period, of which
High Performance editor Steve Durland is quoted to have remarked: 'the
performance artists had become the evangelists, and the evangelists the
A Cut and Paste Conversation - Renee Turner & Jason Bowman
Interviewed by Jason Bowman, Renee Turner is part of the De Geuzen Foundation.
Based in Amsterdam it is essentially an art and design team dealing with
site and context specific projects. The Foundation started in 96 as an
attempt to create a forum in the Netherlands for critical inquiry and
to initiate situations where visual practices are viewed and understood
as integrated social processes.
Art Activism and Oppositionality -
The title is that of the anthology of work from Afterimage magazine edited
by Grant Kester. Afterimage aimed to challenge institutional hierarchies
and widen the remit of art criticism. It wanted theory to engage directly
with context, community and issues of accountability and account for (and
reveal) its bias. Vance reviews the themes of the collection finding its
ideas and contentions still highly relevant to contemporary concerns.
The First European Seminar on Artists-run Spaces
- Micz Flor
Held in Stockholm with over 30 Europe-wide initiatives participating,
this gathering was a unique opportunity to explore the history, reality
and future of artist-run spaces. Micz Flor reports back on the flexible
structures which have emerged to deal with ethical dilemmas and bureaucratic
Return to the far Pavilions - Daniel
A review of the 48th Venice Biennial with a particular focus on the national
pavilions. Jewsbury concentrates on the Irish and British contingents.
When you care enough to be the very best
- Leigh French
A well-researched round up of the latest attempts by several funding bodies
to comply to new government directives. The article presents a strong
case that the coercion making public funding bodies function 'pseudo-capitalistically'
and uphold 'market values' has had a damaging and suppressing
effect on any open debate.