[Written at the Tate Mod 05/11]
Art is about shaking things up,
subverting everything that is safe and familiar.
Art sends you a link to a video
of your cosy little norms cheating on you,
in your own bed, with a handsome amalgamation
of everything you loathe
and then when you cry about it, Art just shrugs.
Art is about disrupting everything that is settled.
“Shaking up the still”
“Art as an extension of the body”
“Describing without describing it”
“Disrupting the settled”
I write these things down as I wander through the collections.
I am not settled, I will never be settled.
I am disrupted, severely, unfortunately.
Settled. I do not know the meaning of the word:
this truth makes me feel unsettled.
I’ve been told before that I’m a work of art –
each person who has said this meant it in a different way,
it doesn’t matter how, not really.
But if art is about disrupting everything that is settled,
what am I? How do you disrupt the already disrupted?
Can you break the broken?
Maybe it would be real artistry to settle the unsettled.
Perhaps to rectify the disturbed would mean to
discover the masterpiece underneath.
But no. This canvas may look pretty
but still been stretched and abused and exploited.
The framework in the centre of this sculpture
has crumbled; I fold in on myself
because I can’t hold this brain up anymore
with of all of its heavy thoughts and fuckery.
But as long as my outermost layer stays easy on the eye
it’s fine for me to be dead inside.
Art may well be about disrupting the disrupted
a test, an experiment,
to see how much disruption the disrupted can take
before they break
another layer of paint
let the cracks show
gloss over it all
keep piling on the paint
like the pressure that we’re so used to…
oh, am I talking about art or psychiatry?
You can’t hang me on a wall
if I’m hanging from a tree.
We are disrupted daily hourly
Above all, wholly.
We are entirely disturbed.
If art is about shaking things up,
I am the perfect subject.
Life has shaken me,
I am still shaking
recoiling from the things I’ve seen
running from my archive of deleted scenes
shuddering in my pathetic tent where I live
between the edges of some temperamental tectonic plates;
they are noisy neighbours, disrupting me at all hours.
It is possible to disrupt those who are unsettled,
it’s just a little less easy.
Nobody pays to see me anymore.
I am no longer part of the collection
although I am still on display
I have morphed into a metal figure on a toilet door
and while I am bald, I have a triangle dress
and all of my scars have gone – plus, I have no eyes
or ears, so no more lies and no more tears.
No longer the exhibitionist I was before
when I was adored
when I was a whore
when I was unconscious on the floor.
Things are quieter now.
But I’ll never be settled.
No, never settled.
If someone hears that I’m settled
they might decide to disrupt me
to shake me up
to make me into art.
My coffin in the ground
will be the grand finale
The cemetery will be the gallery
and people will come to see me again
not as a life form, but as an art form
A masterpiece that’ll take the art world by storm
My coffin in the ground
six feet under
a cheapo headstone bearing the official details of one of my personalities
some yellow roses, a pack of JPS and a vodka miniature
perhaps some rain
My most disrupted self, finally settled
The opposite of art
This final installation is named
art will seek to settle the disrupted.
It is probably the case
that art saves more lives than psychiatry.
But when you’re standing graveside saying
what a waste, what a waste,
you won’t think of my soul at all
you’ll just think of my pretty face.