“Kim, if you had your choice, would you rather be a poisonous snake or a non-poisonous snake?” – “Oh, poisonous, sir, like a green mamba or spitting cobra” – “Why?” – “I’d feel safer, sir” – “And that’s your idea of heaven?, feeling safer?” – “Yes, sir.” William Burroughs, The Place of Dead Roads
Recently Kim’s been thinking about preparing for an apocalypse. There’s a lot in the news that bothers him. It always has. Sure Kim isn’t going ever to be any safer, but perhaps he can feel safer. So he’s been reading a book called Preppers by Lynda King that tells him that cataclysmic and catastrophic events often lead to major innovations, presenting the example of the Great Blizzard of 1888 giving birth to the subway systems in Boston and New York. He’s been thinking about the art he reads about and some of the posts he’s seen on Facebook about being innovative. He’s been thinking about art galleries. How they seem to be interested in preserving a culture, some dependability in the face of other stuff that’s not so good, like survivalists preparing for a mass extinction. How galleries can seem like cultural lagoons, almost invisible from the street unless you know they are there. As when O’Doherty says in that old book from the reading list how the galleries are secretly thinking that, "the outside world must not come in." Even how publically accessible events are often called private views. IMT Gallery is like that. Just off the road, hidden by honeysuckles and scaffolding. Halfway between the Metropolis strip club and the Museum of Childhood. That’s where he should have his exhibition. It’ll be of beans, bullets and BAND-AIDs… a survivalist’s tomb. But now he’s worried. Lacking basic understanding of plumbing he’s worried about how he’s going to dispose of all that human waste.
He remembers seeing Lars Movin and Steen Møller Rasmussen’s Words of Advice at IMT Gallery a few years ago in which a guy showed the camera a jar of resin containing a preserved turd he’d fished out of William Burroughs’ drain. He picks up SCUM by Valerie Solanas and reads what she says about culture: “…Lacking faith in their ability to change anything, resigned to the status quo, they have to see beauty in turds because, so far as they can see, turds are all they’ll ever have…” And he’d planned to stockpile culture! Stockpile performance! Stockpile pornographic materials! Store art like batteries for when the grid is cut off and he can’t access his cloud storage, and when the solar flares delete his memories and connections! What should he do? He likes art a lot, but this stuff about turds bothers him. So he will make an exhibition. He will see if AAS can help, and Maggie Roberts also. This seems like their area of expertise. And David Burrows. Yes, Burrows will know. And Joey Holder and Elliot Dodd. And Verity Birt, she watched civilisations being destroyed and she made it into art. And Luke McCreadie, he will know all about what to do at the beginning of a new history. And I bet he’s good at plumbing.