by Lloyd Lugsden
Jimmy Cauty’s ADP (Aftermath Dislocation Principle) Riot Tour has been snaking the country since April and will end at The Panacea Museum in Bedford from 13th – 23rd December (12pm – 5pm daily).
In a previous career Jimmy was one half of legendary techno/pop/situationist act KLF with Bill Drummond, who for a while conquered the pop world before deleting their entire back catalogue of music – how cool is that? Jimmy and Bill then went onto work on various conceptual art projects, including the now legendary burning of a million pounds on a remote Scottish Island. Now Jimmy ends his latest exhibition in Bedford, bringing three shipping containers together for the first time, which contain scale models of mythical Bedfordshire scenes, hence the pilgrimage to the town…
We got to interview Jimmy, who in typical style, re-wrote our questions, which in turn were 7″ remixed by The Clanger’s own Lloyd Boy Rock for the print edition of the Bedford Clanger. Here is the full interview:
For those who haven’t seen the ADP model in a shipping container yet, can you describe what it is and how it is viewed?
No, I can’t describe it well enough, people need to see it… That’s why we’ve been touring it around the country and are bringing it to Bedford. It’s viewed through small holes drilled into the outside wall of the container; because of the restricted angles of view and some special lighting effects, it looks very real inside.
The ADP Riot Tour has been on a pilgrimage to 37 historic riots sites around the country. The words ‘pilgrimage’ and ‘riot’ are very emotive. Did you expect trouble or did you just want to play with the idea that there could be trouble along the way.
We did not set out to start any trouble or rioting but those words in the title have been known to cause concern amongst town councillors. Those concerns are quickly dispelled upon viewing of the work and quite the opposite reaction to rioting has been observed almost everywhere we have been.
For a lot of the time it was just left unattended in some quite run down and forgotten places so I was expecting trouble not from rioters but from bored teenagers and wild animals intent on destruction. So we made it as vandal proof as possible but it turns out no attempts have been made to destroy it yet.
We did note that if the container was left switched on all night – on an estate or by the side of the road somewhere, far from causing any trouble the local kids, foxes and badgers would spend many hours just enjoying it.
Seeing as there are 37 riot sites and only one site of the Apocalypse, do you think rioting is more popular that Apocalyptic Prophecy, or just easier?
Apocalyptic prophecy is kind of hard work and depressing and you don’t get any free stuff like trainers or TV sets.
How many miles has the tour travelled and how many people have seen it?
By the time we reach Bedford at Christmas the container will have travelled 3344 miles by road around the UK, me and my crew of ADP operatives will have travelled 9423 miles by road and rail and drunk nearly 8000 cups of tea while tending to the container. I personally have hit my finger with a hammer about 44 times while building the bloody thing. By the end of the tour and taking into account Dismaland and the Royal Academy summer show, the ADP will have been seen by over one million people. Many more than any other touring art work or model village in the world this year.
Can it go anywhere and is it only art when shown with a gallery?
We are calling it an off-grid touring artwork and yes it can go anywhere that can be reached by a 60ft crane. Many of the sites we visited have nothing to do with art or art galleries but that hasn’t changed the way people interact with it … If anything it’s better to see it away from art galleries just out there in the provinces, in a town centre or by the side of a road – we say we are taking it to the places that need it. My feeling is if you put something in a gallery and wait for people to come they won’t unless there is a good café in the gallery or it’s raining. If you take the art to them in a container they will come and look – even if it’s raining, we are sorry we omitted the café.
Does it matter if people don’t think it’s art?
I have found it’s usually best not to mention the ‘A’ word, It’s associated with difficult and unfathomable ideas, concepts and constructs that most people have absolutely no interest in.
The ADP is not difficult or unfathomable, or let’s say the unfathomable bits aren’t difficult.
Is it art?
It can be art if you want it to be. It can also be many other things including not art.
I prefer to think of it as still evolving and as yet uncategorised
The ADP Riot Tour literature says that the tour is both ‘Funded by The State for The State’ and funded ‘by The People for The People’. Which is most true?
Yes, that’s some ADP Riot Tour rhetoric and like most rhetoric neither statement is exactly true. I would say it’s partly funded by the state for the people. I guess the state gains from funding things that the people want, in that if the people are happy and content with the stuff that is being funded for them they may be slightly less inclined to riot against the state.
The tour is only part funded by Arts Council England; most of the funding is from selling merch like t shirts, books and riots in jam jars etc as well as some crowd funding by some of the hosts.
By honouring the sites of historic civil disturbance, do you think the ADP Riot Tour can help heal the pains of the past?
In a very small way it could do that, it can also act as a quick look into the future where things have taken a turn for the worst, like a warning to the public. Or, if you are a police officer, an exiting new world of possibilities.
The obvious analogy for the tour is that of a band touring local venues around the country before they make it big. Do you think that’s a fair analogy or do you think it demeans the tour as a work of art?
The ADP is a tough and resilient thing and is happy to be demeaned
The riot tour was originally conceived in the style of a rock and roll tour where the container would arrive in a town, throw a massive and very noisy opening party then leave before dawn. The logic being that every opening I have ever been to only appears to be about drinking free beer and wine and chatting to people with the stuff on the walls being of little or no interest, so why bother with prolonged exhibitions.
The logistics of the original idea however proved to be too complicated and expensive so we compromised on one week for each location. Even then, I think the short timescale at each site gave it a sense of urgency lacking in other visual art exhibitions.
The reality of the tour has been that people have wanted to look at the work, and are interested, and in fact, there’s been very little partying: people are usually so busy looking at it they forget to talk to their friends or go to the bar… It’s a very strange new phenomenon.
Do you think the mechanics of the tour are as important as the ADP model itself and would it be as good if it never went anywhere… became a static exhibit?
Yes the mechanics of the tour are as important as the model… As is the graffiti that has been created on the outside by people as its travelled around… The whole thing has become an impressive piece of folk art in it’s own right – almost outside our control – and has generated creative responses everywhere it’s been. The ADP is an incredibly robust piece of work and can function well in lots of different situations: It’s happy in a white cube gallery, as a dystopian seaside attraction, or as a vandalised shipping container on a housing estate in Glasgow in the rain. This wealth of new meaning however could only have come into being by doing the tour. If it had stayed in one place, it wouldn’t be what it is today.
Judging by the pages and pages of Instagram posts, the long timeline on Facebook, and the impressive list of local media coverage, the tour has been a great success. Do you think this kind of mediation accurately communicates what the ADP Riot Tour is or do you think people have to go and see it for themselves?
The tour has left a very positive social media trail behind it, again, mostly generated by other people, not us. Those images and messages are useful but you have to see the piece to really get it. I‘ve noticed that when people look through the viewing ports to see the ADP for the first time their reaction/response is a bit like a revelation. No matter how knowledgeable, sceptical or disinterested they are, that first viewing is usually accompanied by expressions of disbelief and amazement. They also instantly get what it is with no need for any explanation or mediation They don’t need to know anything about me or about how or why the work was created, it just resonates with them in an instant. We have also noted people identifying with it to the point they recognise it as a model of their particular home town, trying to work out which Tesco’s it is. I guess the model is kind of about everyone and everywhere – maybe that’s one of the reasons for its success?
In terms of local press we realised we could tell the story of the tour much more effectively by doing it stage by stage with each community using it’s own local channels to spread the news. As a result we have reached a massive audience in a more coherent way than would have been possible via more generalised coverage in London-centric trendy arts and culture press. Now the tour is nearly over it is more credible that someone could write something intelligent about the whole thing, but I’m not holding my breath.
Where can I buy a tour t-shirt?
Why did Northhampton council ban the ADP from being shown in their market square? Was it because they wanted to stop Alan Moore from seeing it and getting ideas? Did you thwart their plan?
The original plan for Northampton was to arrive outside Alan Moore’s house so he would not have to travel too far to see it. That plan was abandoned because his road is too narrow for 35 tons of lorry and shipping container.
Plan B was to show it in market square in the town centre but that plan was thwarted at the last minute, not because of Alan Moore but because it was the week of the referendum and the word riot in the title meant the council were worried it could be contravening Purdah (pre-election period) Law. The square was also the site of an ‘election riot’, so even though it was bureaucracy gone mad, they did have a point. Plan C was a three hour stop over at the Super Sausage Café and lorry park where Alan did get to see it.
Why did Penzance council ban the ADP Riot Tour from being shown on their seafront, and has that decision started a culture war between Falmouth and Penzance?
Penzance will probably never recover… Falmouth were victorious! To be fair it was only one councillor who objected on the grounds that the heavily graffiti’d container was not in keeping with the “positive” image the town was wanting to project to the rest of the world. There was a problem with some words that had been written on the container in Plymouth. Our response was to say if there were any words on the container that someone found offensive it was their job to over write them with something not offensive and not our job.
The people of Penzance nearly rioted when they found out the ADP was going to Falmouth instead…why they didn’t actually riot is another question.
In your press release it says The ADP Riot Tour will tolerate vandalism, but not art. What is that about?
Also…some of the graffiti on the outside of the container is shit. Is that on purpose?
That’s a kind of flippant throw away announcement we like to make from time to time.
There have been a few occasions during the tour when we have been approached by artists who have sought permission to decorate the container, and we have always said no. We like the way the graffiti has built up over the tour in a natural way and to give an “artist” permission to add to it would give too much weight to their contribution. We don’t mind them adding their mark, but only on the same level as anyone else. Graffiti is best when it’s illicit and without permission, and as it’s gone from town to town it has created a kind of multi layered document of where it’s been. Of course most of the tagging and messages are rubbish but it turns out that’s what people want to write, so we say bring on the rubbish!
Bedford has had no serious rioting until the very recent prison riots.
Are these an aspect of the tour or nothing to do with you?
I would say the timing of that Bedford prison riot 5 weeks before the container arrives in town is a terrible waste of a good PR opportunity for us and the prison…D’oh!
Why is the final date of the tour in Bedford? Can you explain a bit about the Panacea Society and why you wish to venerate them in this way?
The ADP is set in a mythical Bedford some time in the near future.
The Panacea Society’s version of Bedford was as the mythical Garden of Eden some time in the distant past … It was only a matter of time before these two versions of Bedford were going to collide. In some ways both the ADP Riot Tour and the Panaceans used stories and belief to bring relief and unity to people – no matter how off the wall the ideas might seem.
The Panaceans offered a cure for all ills that they would send to anyone who asked for free “Without money and without price”. Do you think the ADP Riot Tour follows in this tradition?
We are touring at great expense but the container is always free at the point of contact with the population.
The Panacea Society petitioned 24 Anglican Bishops to come and open Joanna Southcott’s box of prophecies and save the world, but they only prepared 23 rooms of them to stay in. Do you think there is any significance in this and have you petitioned anyone to come to Bedford for the end of the tour?
Apparently the Panaceans were expecting two Bishops to share a room, but luckily they never had to decide which two. Maybe that’s why they never came. The fact that 23 is a significant Discordian number is pure coincidence.
We’re playing it safe and inviting only in 23’s:
23 police commissioners to investigate and substantiate.
23 leading critics to analyse and evaluate.
23 head curators to discuss and contextualise.
23 single mothers from Stockport who don’t give a fuck about analysing or discussing art.
2 foxes and 3 badgers.
The Panacea Society prepared a house on Albany Road for Jesus to live him when he returned to earth. Are you preparing a house for anyone?
Yes we are preparing no 23 Albany Road for Banksy… We haven’t informed Banksy or the current tenants yet.
Banksy showed the ADP model at Dismaland before it was installed inside the container so we think he should have the opportunity to see it again. This is the closest we can get to the Second Coming.
In fact we are inviting everyone who has ever worked on the ADP to a tour closing party. Banksy is on that list because he was instrumental in gaining massive exposure for the model when it needed it.
What is the End Time Sound System and why?
The End Time Sound System and the Horns of the Apocalypse are an imagined sound system that played an apocalyptic chord to herald the End Times. They may or may not be built for the End Times event in Bedford on 23rd December 2016.
When the ADP Riot Tour finally shuts down at 00:23 on Christmas Day will anyone be there to witness it?
Probably just Banksy.
Now that the politicians have discovered that telling big easy lies and pandering to the people who believe them works better than telling big difficult truths and trying to convince people to believe in those, is the ADP Riot Tour a beacon of hope for the newly disenfranchised peoples of the world?
ADP has no overt political message … It’s up to the viewer to create their own message and narrative. If that includes hope for the future of the world against all the odds then that’s just fine.
And finally… seeing that the ADP Riot Tour has redefined the nature of all art in the 21st Century and has chosen Bedford as the epicentre for a new era, should Bedford council build a vast new temple with a gold pyramid on top, where the ADP containers and all the world’s treasures can be stored until we’ve worked out what the fuck is going on?
That’s one idea and we are working on the problem of what to do with the ADP after the tour is finished.
Some of the ideas are listed below
AFTER THE ADP TOUR ENDS SHOULD THE ADP CONTAINERS:
Be buried in a field near Stonehenge
Be installed in a purpose built museum in Bedford
Be sold to the highest bidder
Be sent off on tour around the world
Be donated to the state
Be installed in Tate Modern (with or without permission)
Be left in a lorry park in Kent
Answers on a postcard to:
ADP RIOT TOUR Solutions
L-13 Light Industrial Workshop
31 Eyre Street Hill
London EC1R 5EW