Sean Dissington || October 13th
It’s not every Monday that I get the bus into Hanley to look at a shipping container – but that’s exactly what happened this week. Jimmy Cauty’s Aftermath Dislocation Principle was in town, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
As I got onto Broad street, the sun was just starting to set, and Ash Wall could be heard calling the attendees to arms with his stunning guitar work and voice as he sang riot themed songs (and there were many attendees – on a Monday evening people in Stoke came out to look at art... It’s happening people, it's happening). The opening was attended by the artist himself – Liverpudlian Jimmy Cauty, the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent Councillor Anthony Munday as well as a great deal of intrigued passers-by.
ADP is a 40-foot shipping container containing a model that shows the aftermath of a ‘happening’, as Jimmy explained on Monday to the crowd, perhaps a riot, perhaps not. The point of the piece isn’t specifically to show the aftermath of rioting, but also to consider the role of disobedience and the structure of society. ADP contains a stunningly detailed 1:87 scale model depicting a post-apocalyptic scene showing the police standing around, unable to do anything, ostensibly having arrived too late.
At the opening event there was a fascinating talk by Fred Hughes, local historian about the Pottery Riot. He cautioned against romanticising the riots, but to appreciate the unity and civil disobedience that can stem from ordinary people taking back their power. His was a fascinating talk (you can read more about Fred and Stoke’s history here https://fredhughesblog.wordpress.com/).
Next up was Martin Gooding, delivering a spoken word piece that was partly a call to arms – partly a lament and partly a plea to people to take the power they have and use it. It was beautiful, and delivered with Martin’s unique skills as an orator, and with genuine emotion it was utterly captivating. If anything else happened while Martin was speaking I’ve no idea what it was.
As the event wound up, it felt like the end of a perfect summer party – (you know, when the loud people have gone and there are just a few best friends and lots of wine?) Ash Wall was singing, people were peeping into ADP to see what was going on, and another art event had gone brilliantly.
On Sunday there is more culture happening as Martin Gooding, MURDOK, Average Joe, Richard Redwin and Becky Cramer present two pieces as a response to ADP. As Martin told me “1842 was originally performed by B Arts in the early 90s, in celebration of the ADP Riot tour in Stoke-on-Trent we thought it was only fitting to give it a new airing, I've taken inspiration from the original script and added my own take on the events, expect flying furniture, drunken mobs and plenty of Chartism”
So give the television a break on Sunday, and get to the top of Broad Street (by the museum) to learn, to be inspired and perhaps to disobey.