FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Pictures at an Exhibition

I first tried my hand at political collage in a London bed-sit in early eighties London, using pictures from discarded magazines I’d collected from bins and skips. First efforts were vaguely about poverty and ecology, but as my political awareness increased I began to include the figures of Power at that time, mainly Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

I molded their well known faces onto alien bodies and put them in strange situations and backgrounds, getting cheekier as I discovered I could get away with it, and even have the pictures shown at places where people enjoyed seeing their masters ridiculed in such a manner. Thatcher’s jaws yawned dangerously as Ridley Scott’s Alien; a grinning Ronald Reagan swept down to tear the suspended body of Christ in eagle talons.

By the mid eighties I’d moved out of the bedsit into a Brixton squat and the pictures were still making themselves. Shuffling through the cut out pictures, images would suggest themselves and I’d either reject or agree and glue them down.

A front cover of the ‘Sunday Times’ supplement of the Queen gingerly sipping from the coconut in her white gloved hand during a South Seas visit, and an ‘Observer’ one of the Pope slumped on his throne, plus a hard-on cut out of a gay porno mag, merged into the image of Her Majesty giving His Holiness a blow job in the depths of Hell! (That was a popular one – black and white photocopies were seen as far as Germany.)

In a rut in 86, tired of being arrested at demos and evicted from squats, I left the country vowing never to return until Thatcher was out of power. And I didn’t either.

Yes, time passed and my collage making days seemed to be over. Until along came the eleventh of September 2001 – and the reaction to it of the American President, George Walker Bush. My itching fingers sought out scissors, gum and magazines.

A thousand images later in 2005, (of Bush, Blair, Bin Laden, Condi, the Popes, Sharon, his late pal Arafat, old Uncle Colin Powell and all), apart from exhibitions in Istanbul and London, I was showing the pictures on the website I set up in 2002, ‘Carnival of Chaos’ — named after the description a Turkish journalist wrote in a review.

Leading up to the first attack on Iraq the pictures poured out daily. A depressed cease-fire lasted for months after the invasion, but then a renewed assault began. On all of them who keep the corrupt system going — Church, Royalty, and Politicians and Corporations.

After nearly three years ‘Carnival of Chaos’ had become quite popular, sometimes with hundreds of visitors a day, making it necessary to pay for extra bandwidth every month.

So it was a bit of a surprise when I logged in on Sunday morning, only to find that the site had been removed. It was gone. Disappeared.

Checking out my Site Builder I found the following message:

“You are no longer an authorized member of Tripod. You have been removed because your web site violated our Terms of Service”

I wrote to Tripod asking them to explain the reason for the removal, but so far have only received this auto-acknowledgement:

Thank you for writing to the Lycos Abuse Team. We have received your email and will be reviewing it shortly. Please be advised that due to the volume of emails we receive, this may be the only email you receive from us regarding this matter.

During its three year lifespan ‘Carnival of Chaos’ has carried some fairly disturbing and/or amusing images reflecting the interesting times we live in, but Tripod bravely allowed all to pass.

Images such as Mother Teresa teaching Birth Control; Donald Rumsfeld performing a ceremony with the decapitated head of an Iraqi child, Jesus throwing up at the Apartheid Wall in Occupied Palestine, Blair being lobotomized, and Sharon assassinating Arafat.

Most of the images were self explanatory, but some required background information. To fully appreciate ‘The Royal Wedding’ picture of a used tampon sticking out of a souvenir mug celebrating the nuptials of Charles and Camilla, it helped to remember the infamous taped phone conversation where the future King wished he could be with her in such a form.

But President Bush was definitely the star of the show. Bush as a vampire; Bush as a baby; a monkey; a cowboy; as an insect, a madman, every kind of animal, Hitler, Crusader, Pharoah, entertainer, warrior, dummy, alien, terrorist, hostage, jester, monster, king, threat to the world. In four of the collages he is being assassinated by the only person suitable for the job — good old Jesus!

On Friday the British newspaper The Sun flashed a smuggled picture on its front page of prisoner Saddam Hussein in his underpants. Bush pledged an investigation.

‘Carnival of Chaos’ has featured nudes in the past and got away with it. Sharon’s ample form has been laid bare several times; Condi’s been done; and even Laura, the President’s charming wife has revealed all on the website without complaint or closure by server Tripod.

But it seems they finally lost patience at the posting of this latest image — TYRANT’S PANTS.

A wise friend commented:

“It seems that the act of authorities is slowly being got together. It is on the agenda to regulate the internet, but it has not been worked out how this will be done. There are legitimate reasons (e.g. pornography) behind which regulation of other things can be hidden. A number of things point to progressive regulation/control, not only in the area of the internet.”

President Bush is always going on about ‘freedom’. Where is my freedom of artistic expression? Where is freedom in general — anywhere? America should be a beacon of liberalism and freedom. It should be helping and healing the world, not attacking, robbing and raping it. Not ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’ at all, but Land of the Fee and Home of the Slave!’

Whatever — here for your delectation is the last image displayed on ‘Carnival of Chaos’.

 

Probably the last straw that caused Tripod to call an end to the show with the words:

“You are no longer an authorized member of Tripod. You have been removed because your web site violated our Terms of Service”

Would that we could say the same thing to this man!

“You are no longer the authorized President of America. You have been removed because your behavior has violated our Terms of Service, over and over again!”

MICHAEL DICKINSON is a writer and artist who works as an English teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. He designed the cover art for two CounterPunch books, Serpents in the Garden and Dime’s Worth of Difference, as well as Grand Theft Pentagon, forthcoming from Common Courage Press. He can be reached at: mdickinson@kablonet.com.tr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Michael Dickinson can be contacted at michaelyabanji@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
Farzana Versey
What Religion is Your Nationalism?
Clark T. Scott
The Focus on Trump Reveals the Democrat Model
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Do Bernie’s Supporters Know What “Not Me, Us” Means? Does Bernie?
Peter Harley
Aldo Leopold, Revisited
Winslow Myers
A Presidential Speech the World Needs to Hear
Christopher Brauchli
The Chosen One
Jim Britell
Misconceptions About Lobbying Representatives and Agencies
Ted Rall
Trump Gets Away with Stuff Because He Does
Mel Gurtov
Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the Insecurity of China’s Leadership
Nicky Reid
Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard and the Slow Death of the Democratic Delusion
Tom H. Hastings
Cross-Generational Power to Change
John Kendall Hawkins
1619: The Mighty Whitey Arrives
Julian Rose
Why I Don’t Have a Mobile Phone
David Yearsley
Parasitic Sounds
Elliot Sperber
Class War is Chemical War
December 05, 2019
Colin Todhunter
Don’t Look, Don’t See: Time for Honest Media Reporting on Impacts of Pesticides
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail