Art School by M4SK 22.
Music and video by David Moss and Simon Woolham.
Art School is a film about the new art school building at Manchester Metropolitan University featuring some footage shot by Simon at the empty new building and incorporating video made by myself while studying Fine Art at the art school in the late 90s. The film also uses imagery by some ex students of the art school. The music is an improvised meditative Blues. The way we create music is by sending music files over the internet, responding to each others ideas and building the song out of these improvised transmissions.
It’s a film about the history of the art school as experienced by myself and Simon Woolham. It’s a film about the role of the student in social history, and about the important element that defines the student situation; that element being time. Since the abolishment of student grants and tuition fees, the student who isn’t independently wealthy is forced to go into debt and often into employment while studying. This imposed situation changes the time which was once a student’s right. Instead of an open time period in which to research and practice, and explore around and beyond the the University social environment, the student who is not independently wealthy is now coerced into pseudo-cyclical time, the illusion of time that society labours under. This destruction of the free time once afforded by right to the masses can be seen as a deliberate conditioning of the student body politic towards a socially responsible behaviour pattern. This social responsibility is inauthentic as it is responsible only to the projected facade of the social reality.
In the art school this mediation by the apparitions of economy seeps into the mental studio space, painting the walls with invisible signs displaying threatening messages, disguised as professional careers advice, selling the alluring lie that the way to survive and prosper through the production of art, is to produce art that conforms to the standards demanded by the society. Prosperity here is measured by the potential for success as an art star, the commercial myth of the artist. This aspirational art that surrounds us, mediated by market forces, is always devoid of the radical edge that could oppose the social illusion. The glamour of radicalism becomes a marketing device.
In historic terms, the once radical student is removed from the time necessary to fully develop political consciousness and that development is replaced by the student as commodity prepared for entering the marketplace already shackled to the economy by debt. This can be seen as a deliberate plan to negate student radicalism and the development of a counter culture. This plan has slowed the natural movement towards radicalism, dovetailing with the proliferation of commercially motivated state approved causes.
There is still time. That precious un-commodified time that is necessary for the process of self realisation and the development of a political consciousness is impossible to contain, therefore it is impossible to destroy, so only the means of access to this constant time are temporarily blockaded. There is still time.