Kiss and Confess

23 February 2009

Unhelpfully headlined but long and otherwise very nice Guardian piece on Forced Entertainment by Lyn Gardener, as the company prepares to revive the second durational performance we ever made Speak Bitterness. First presented in 1994 the work has been shown in its long version only three or four times, the last of them in Frankfurt about 5 years ago. I’m really looking forward to going back to it and have been busy collecting and writing new confessions.

We argued about small items on the bill, complaining that we ought to pay less than our colleagues because we’d drunk tap water not mineral water, or because they’d had deserts and we had not. We went around local stores asking them to donate prizes in a raffle that didnt really exist. We were ghostwriters. We were graverobbers. Under our leadership the company made an operating loss in its auto operations of 150 billion yen, or $1.7 billion, for the fiscal year ending March 31 – the company’s first annual operating loss since 1938, a year after the company was founded, and a staggering reversal of the 2.3 trillion yen, or $28 billion, in operating profit which had been earned in the previous year. We were unprofessional. We were completely incompetent. After a period of reflection on the comments we made, we called a hasty press conference and took back every word. We apologised for any offence or embarrassment that we undoubtedly caused. We said that it was not our intention to make unfounded and distressing allegations and to make clear that we retracted our comments without reservation. We orchestrated the first worldwide Ponzi scheme — a complex pyramid fraud that lasted longer, reached wider and cut deeper than any similar scheme in history. When telling a story we lacked the skill of abbreviation. We confess to X-Boxes, Gamecubes, Megadrives, PSPs and PS3s. We put our feet in the footsteps of those who went just before us. We didnt make our own route, we just traipsed along behind. We got sent back to the past to stop the future from happening. We got sent to the future to ask them for help, guidance or a powerful weapon of some kind but when we got there we found the place deserted.  We offered miserable discounts. We offered support and down-home guidance to our staff. We filmed a frog’s leg, twitching on a slab. We just wanted to work for the Beckhams. We sowed a horses head onto the body of a cholera patient, replacing his feet with hooves and his hands with the tentacles of an octopus – he didn’t last long but once cleaned, pickled and placed in an outsized jar he made an excellent attraction. We had sex in the visionary position – sat far apart on opposite sides of the room and gazing and, masturbating, staring at each other in a mixture of fear, desire and disbelief, certain in the knowledge that even if we came together we would not come together at all. We worked at Guantanamo. We worked at Abu Ghraib.We designed the Millennium Dome. We were Neocons. We lived in condos. We drove the planes right into the towers – it was beautiful, beautiful, beautiful and it changed the world. We lost our grip. When daylight came we lost our limited charm.  

Speak Bitterness is on 28 February, from 6:00 – 12.00 midnight (European time) at  PACT Zollverein, Essen, Germany.

There will also be a live webcast of the whole event on the Forced Entertainment website from 5pm to 11pm (UK time)


You can find a work of mine amongst the many in this show in Manchester:

{Part 1} Curated by Mike Chavez-Dawson

14th-28th Feb 2009. Rogue Project Space – Rogue Artists Studios.

66-72 Chapeltown Street, Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2WH

Opening Times: Wed – Fri 1pm – 4pm. Sat – Sun 2pm – 5pm/

Press release info:

The Kiss of a Lifetime is a limited edition print show featuring the work of both internationally renowned artists and emerging talent from the UK and abroad. The show aspires to give an overview to what the ‘Kiss’ signifies within our contemporary culture in the broadest sense, from the romantic to the lifesaving, from the prosaic to the violent. The show is presented salon style, with the artists proofs pinned to the wall – like that of a love forlorn bedroom covered in posters of idolisation.

With over ninety artists the show features; Mark Applegate, Magda Archer, Edward Barton, Dave Beech, Divyesh Bhanderi, Simon Blackmore, Andrew Bracey, Brass Art, Lee Campbell, Paul Caton, Suki Chan, Lucienne Cole, Jane Chavez-Dawson, Mike Chavez-Dawson, Sandy Christie, Faye Claridge, Nick Crowe, Sophia Crilly, Antony Crook, Gordon Dalton, Alexandra David, Jo David, Stephen Davids, Gary Daly, Paul Davis, [deletia], Sarah Doyle, Sam Ely, Tim Etchells, Freee, Doug Fishbone, Bec Garland, Dom Garwood, Dave Gledhill, David Griffiths, S Mark Gubb, David Hancock, Shona Hadley, Lynn Harris, Paul Harfleet, Richard Healy, Andy Hewitt, Len Horsey, Rachael House, Stewart Home, Hilary Jack, Mel Jordan, Naomi Kashiwagi, Mark Kennard, Serena Korda, Abigail Lane, Jean-Pierre Lapeyre, Wiebke Leister, Chara Lewis, Charles Lindsay, Katrin Lock, Tessa Lynch, Jo McGonigal, Mark McGowan, Jude Macpherson, Melanie Manchot, Jim Medway, Alexis Milne, Jason Minsky, KristinMojsiewicz, David Molloy, Franz Otto Novotny, Joerg Obergfell, Matthew Pawson, Gary Peploe, Vinca Petersen, Anneké Pettican, Harry Pye, Brian Reed, Katy Richardson, Isabel Rock, Kenny Schachter, David Shrigley, Pamela So, Lisa Solminski, Paul Stanley, Chris Taylor, William Titley, James Topple, Jessica Voorsanger, Charlotte Young, Kai-Oi Jay Yung, John Walsh, Simon Woolham, Andrea Zapp, + Further Special Guests TBA.