- Hand painted text on paper (56cm x 100cm)
I chose the three words that are contained in the manifesto carefully. I hoped that by placing them together, I would inspire the reader to push at the boundaries of the words’ meanings and help them to imagine a positive vision of the future. I was inspired by Kathi Weeks description of utopian manifestos and utopian demands which are designed to act as a provocation, without fully prescribing what action should be taken. The incomplete nature of the utopian demand challenges the reader to imagine an alternative future with the purpose of attempting to bring it into being. Weeks states that the format of the manifesto does this by deliberately “setting itself against the conventions of appropriate discussion and reasonable demands on which the reproduction of the status quo depends.”
Another key influence for this work was Mark Fisher and Judy Thorne’s Thorne conversation about the term Luxury Communism. They state that luxury is usually associated with Capitalist notions of excess; commodities which only a few people can afford. In contrast, Fisher and Thorne propose that luxury should be understood as the pleasure of luxuriating; “the sensual joy of having to do less work, time to be unproductive, and the possibilities for more intense sociality, eroticism and adventure this opens up.” By demanding universal luxury, my hope was that readers would question the common interpretation of private luxury and imagine a form of public luxury which everyone could enjoy and share together.
By making a demand for something that is currently seen as impossible, this manifesto requires that we rethink what is possible. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that it is possible to do things differently, but for positive and lasting change to happen, we need to demand it. This manifesto aimed to inspire collective action by creating a desire for an alternative world to the “business as usual” model we had before the crisis.
The work was exhibited at Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art as part of Baltic Open Submission from 19th May to 5th September 2021.