A scale model of a post-riot hellscape, the 'Aftermath Dislocation Principle' is a unique, semi-autonomous artwork with a mission to provoke, entertain and cause a disturbance… all for the public good.
An intricate, 1:87 scale model of a torched and shattered post-riot landscape, ADP was created by artist Jimmy Cauty, also well known for his work as part of pop mavericks the KLF. Sealed within a 40ft shipping container and viewed through window ports, the artwork has been on a nationwide tour of 36 historic riot sites, and was recently the centrepiece of an ambitious event in Hastings, on the south coast of England – ‘Power Up Ore’ was organised by a grassroots community project aiming to regenerate a disused power station site in the heart of one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country.
Steven Lowe is an artist and the founder of the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop in London, which he describes as a “creative platform, spiritual home and technical epicentre” for a small group of artists of a subversively socio-political bent that includes Billy Childish, Jamie Reid and Cauty himself. Here, he writes for GOOD TROUBLE and tells how ADP came to Power Up Ore, and how radical art can help transform neglected communities for the better…
Jimmy Cauty, famed for discordian subversions in the worlds of music and art (from No.1 hits with the KLF, to the K-Foundation 'burning a million quid', and touring a dystopian model village housed in a shipping container to riot sites of the world), was most recently seen on the derelict site of an old power station in Ore Valley, Hastings – a historic seaside town on the UK’s south coast.
Here, he presented his artwork known as The Aftermath Dislocation Principle (ADP) at one-day event ‘Power Up Ore’, in support of an ambitious community self-build project proposed for this site – one that has lain neglected for 40 years. This DIY regeneration project was instigated by the Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust to enable local people to take control of this unused land and build housing, businesses and other community facilities – by themselves, for themselves, and in the heart of their own neighbourhood.
Ore is one of the poorest parts of Hastings, and indeed the UK. In the 1830s, following the Captain Swing riots (widespread uprisings by agricultural workers protesting impoverishment), a “tough” workhouse was built there to hide the poor of the borough away from the growing genteel areas of the seafront. The area was developed in the early to mid 20th century with low-grade steel housing, giving it the nickname ‘Tin Town’, before it was further developed with more low-grade housing and industrial sites as the century progressed. Neglect and post-industrial deprivation afflict Ore to the present day.
The old power station could be the site that makes a difference, lying at the heart of the local community that could most benefit from inclusive regeneration. It also lies adjacent to an adventure playground run by In2Play in partnership with Hasting’s Council, who do amazing work that encourages young people to learn, play and grow. For Power Up Ore, it was decided a group of these young people should be invited to play an active and valuable role in curating the public engagement with Jimmy’s art.
This was the ADP’s second visit to Hastings. The first was last year, as part of the ADP Riot Tour – an eight-month pilgrimage to 36 historic riot sites across the country, powering through the land on a 30-tonne truck. The ADP is built into a 40ft shipping container and viewed through industrial observation ports in the side, so it is totally weather-proof, vandal-proof and able to be taken anywhere it is wanted or needed, as an off-grid artwork. The artwork has been a big hit everywhere it goes, and despite its outward promise of provocation and RIOT, all engagements with the public have been energised appreciation and pure joy – people love it!
The model itself is a monumental post-‘event’ landscape in miniature, made to an incredible level of detail in 1:87 scale. This landscape is a dystopian model village somewhere in Middle England, where only the police and media remain in an otherwise deserted, wrecked and dislocated land. The police have nothing left to do and are starting to cause their own trouble. It is both comedic and darkly fascinating, all executed with acute sensitivity and remarkable skill. The container itself has been heavily graffitied over the course of its travels, bearing the marks of the people as testimony to the communities it has engaged with, and makes for a colourful and alluring sight in itself.
On previous showings, children and young people have often acted as a highly enthusiastic conduit between the ADP and more reticent adults – peering in first, before dragging their parents over to share their discoveries. So, with Jimmy keen on the idea of young curators, a workshop was set up with him at the containers for a private view and discussion over pizza. At the planning session, they decided to offer badge-making, take photographs, ask people what they thought about the artwork, welcome people and give out leaflets, free tee-shirts and a specially designed poster Jimmy created for the event.
On the day, all were impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the young people, some of who had never been to an art gallery or been given the opportunity to be involved in anything like this before. They reported they had gained skills and knowledge from the experience, and have since shared information about ADP and the event with their families and community. This was all enhanced by the wider Power Up Ore event with local musicians and poets performing, free food for all, and the Heart of Hastings organisers rallying support for their vision of bottom-up development fuelled by people power.
What is proposed for the Ore site is truly progressive, participative, positive and inspirational, but of course its success is far from a foregone conclusion. Politics, money and reticent development agencies all stand in the way. The dedication and energy of those involved, along with growing local support, will hopefully prevail, and the presence of ADP there will hopefully be catalytic in its effect.
As one of our insightful young volunteers reported after the event – “Art makes a place creative and encourages people to be positive and achieve better things.”
With thanks to everyone at the Heart of Hastings Community Land Trust, all the Ore site volunteers, In2Play, Art of Regeneration, Hastings Borough Council (who funded the young people’s workshop), the Play Hastings team, and all the young curators. Top image: Thomas Mayer, all images courtesy L-13 Light Industrial Workshop.
Find out more about and support the plans for Ore Valley here
Find out more about the ADP Riot Tour here
Writer and editor based in New York.