Assume the Position {they have you over a barrel}

Assume the Position {they have you over a barrel}

Exhibition installation view.

Exhibition installation view

On the subject of

institutionalisation, corporatism, commodification and structural violence.

One of the first ideas that appears in my Year 3 Development journal refers to the phrase “they’ve got you over a barrel” I worked on and abandoned a logo similar to the “Keep Calm & Carry On” ones.


I tried sourcing an actual oil drum but gave up and eventually decided to build the barrel from Modrock and plaster, the base is reinforced with metal plates. The structure is supported inside with struts made from rolled up corrugated cardboard. I finished the barrel in pva, then floor paint undercoat then enamel auto body spray paint.

I’ve added a vinyl a corporate logo to the drum “XP LTD” I designed this as a reduction of the word EXPLOITED. Across the barrel is the word “OVER” (representing structural violence), it rests on a former care home feeding trolley representative of institutionalization.

Joseph Beuys (b:1921-1986) Zeig mir deine wunde {Show your wound}, 1974-1975

Show Your Wound joseph_beuys_zeige-deine-wunde_1974-1975

Show Your Wound

Show Your Wound

Show Your Wound

Installation, Lenbachhaus, Munich. (Further inspiration re: Bueys Show your wound (1974-1975) is an installation or an environment by the German artist Joseph Beuys. Thiss work was created in 1976 by Beuys in collaboration with Galerie Schell & Klüser in a pedestrian underpass of the Munich Art Forum in Maximilian street (now Maximilians Forum) presented and introduced to public. Passersby initially found the work had very little resonance. Munich Lenbachhaus purchased and installed Beuys in the gallery on 22 and 23 January 1980. for 270,000 DM From that point on it was highly controversial and sparked, like many other works by the artist, harsh criticism and nationwide protests. In the polemics the public called the work “the most expensive garbage of all time”. Beuys regarded the space as a “sick room” in which the viewer is confronted with their own mortality by “his wound” revealed and at the same time experiencing healing.

The reason I am referencing Beuys’ work is, I expect to set up my exhibition as some sort of sterile, grey, marketing office environment with the barrel on the trolley as the centrepiece.

They have you over a barrel

They have you over a barrel

They have you over a barrel

They have you over a barrel

I am toying with the idea of introducing a small ladder as, in Welsh/Cymraeg, “ysgol” translates as both “ladder” and “School”.


This is an extract from my dissertation…
Herbert Marcuse said that modern society’s totalitarian nature almost excludes the possibility of there arising any genuine opposition to it, Marcuse sees that the proletariat, stupefied by mass media, has itself become a counter-revolutionary force (see also Adorno and Horkheimer, with references to totalitarianism within the advanced capitalist culture industry).

“By virtue of the way it has organized its technological base, contemporary industrial society tends to be totalitarian. For “totalitarian” is not only a terroristic political coordination of society, but also a non-terroristic economic-technical coordination which operates through the manipulation of needs by vested interests.” (Marcuse H., 2002, p.5.)

Marcuse points to high art having lost its transcendent quality through being commercialized.