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February 28, 2012


Matt Locke

The amount of speakers who talked about politics and 'action' at The Story this year surprised me. I knew a few would talk about this - Jeremy Deller, Tom Watson, and Ellie, for example - but I was surprised at how it emerged in Matthew Herbert's talk, and even subtly in Karen's and Scott's talks.

I think this is just the times we're in - politics is very close to the surface of culture at the moment, and will be for quite a while. If you're making culture at the moment, its hard not to think about the position your practise takes to the spirit of the times. At the moment, that means asking questions about how you can change things, or affect change, through your work.

It wasn't a deliberate theme - I'm always surprised by how much the details of the speakers' stories create little echoes and resonances during the day.


Hello Matt. Yes, one of the things I like about The Story is that it does always help me to think about my own practice in new ways. And I'm also sensitive to the fact that one mustn't presume a personal interest can always be talked up into becoming a general theme. Perhaps like James's bots, the speakers at The Story were simply 'trying to tell us something'.;-)

Just to say though - effecting change and 'doing stuff' (or indeed 'having agency') aren't necessarily the same thing. I suspect most writers like to think they might effect change. It doesn't mean though they're writing operating manuals or publishing manifestos or indeed engaging with the real world every time they write. And really it's this business of writing and 'story' being a function of doing stuff, rather than an end in itself, that worries me.

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