'State of Print' is the current show on at Peacock Visual Arts in the W OR M space. Having heard about the concept I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, artists printing onto cardboard boxes? which then get stacked up? And yet here before my eyes I was met by cardboard boxes, which had been printed onto and they were indeed stacked up! Yet there was so much more going on but perhaps it's best to recap with a statement from the State of Print.
"The is a proposition. An evolving visual declaration initiated by a collective of artists beguiled and amused at the catastrophe of current social political thinking and the comedy of established systems of governance.
We propose then to cast adrift on a nonsense of our own (print)making – a makeshift non geographical region built upon the flow of ink and a constitutional raft of recycled cardboard. The intention is to explore the current state of nations and the notion that everything that formalises a nation state is printed – money, maps, laws, information, governments, monarchies etc.
The has no boundaries. It has the potential to expand by invitation – with each contributor becoming a citizen of the State of Print – and can be reconstituted and reconfigured continually. At a time when the current state of nation power is globally inflexible and dogmatic, this project provides a creative and theoretical antidote to the current paradigm.
Welcome to the ."
So far the show has travelled from Ireland to Dundee and now Aberdeen, with more artists adding to the state at each stop, the final being Glasgow next week before hopefuly heading off to the states next year. Hundreds of boxes currently make up the show with a wide range of print work from EU / Brexit themed additions to more recent political happening's, the red cages bearing the SOP State of Homeland Security emblem being particularly poignant. As real world events unfold the state is able to respond and critique the information that passes through its borders.
Before that though you'll have to get your papers stamped so you can enter the microcosm that is the State of Print. Indeed as you enter the W OR M the first thing you'll notice isn't the corridors of beautiful and ornate boxes but the Bureau de Sop, an in house exchange shop where depending on the strength of it, you might get 16 sops to the pound£, a nae bad exchange if you want to pick up something from the State of Print shop which includes postcards, t shirts and rather beautiful screen prints.
The State of Print is a survey of the power of print, the power of artists and a timely reminder that we need to be looking deeper at the world around us. Indeed the majority of the work has a clear political or social theme and shows us its not all just fun and games. Yet there is joy to be had in the State of Print. The interaction created by the show from having your own SOP papers stamped upon entry to the exchange rate roll call all help take the viewer out of their immediate surroundings and allow you to enter a new space both physically and mentally if you're open to it. You might even stumble across an illicit black market in contraband items, none of which I can reveal at this moment in time but these small details really make the State of Print a wonderful place to visit.
I've been assessing my own work of late and thinking about how Aberdeen artists address some of the bigger world issues and the spiralling political strife we seem to hear about on the news. And its really not something that tangible apart from a handful of artist's like Roderick Scott or Fit Like. Some of the Nuart murals deal with a few topics, Trump and Women's Rights being prominent amongst them but I hope we'll see more politically and socially engaged work in the future from across the board. Indeed as we become spoiled for choice in Aberdeen I'm finding myself looking that little bit harder at whats on offer and seeing how it engages citizens and communities or perhaps even involves them. State of Print appears to do both by the bucket which can only be a good thing!