Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category


 I’m quite late to comment on Marilyn Manson, he’s been around for years and everyone has mentioned that he’s a marketing genius but I quite fancied a brain dump on him. I’ve been watching his videos of late and using some of them as stimulus in certain briefings as they really capture the dark side of surrealism, which I’m, quite a fan of anyway.

Manson kicked off his concept of ‘shock’ around 1994/95 and has made quite a good effort at distributing it as a cultural idea which converges across a number of mediums – T shirts, music, music videos, live gigs, books,  interviews, films, documentaries, websites etc. What’s also great is that he gives credit to his content by using as many opportunities as he can to reveal he has intelligible reasoning and logic for it to exist, that and like it or not his look is quite cool. It therefore has the very makings of a successful brand – distribution channels and mediums along with a level of kudos. I guess what I’m trying to address is the use of convergence and transmedia strategies effectively to deliver a cultural idea into the heart of contemporary society. Some may argue that shock has always been there, Ozzy snorting ants is rock n roll story that’s used WOM to be told countless times. Sure. But in terms of a contemporary cultural movement and contemporary mediums that has been kicked off by a rock star I think Marilyn Manson proves quite a good case study. I guess the band brand of Marilyn Manson could therefore teach a few of the commercial brands a trick or two about getting into popular culture.

On a similar vein, I’ve noticed a few other ideas (using the word ideas to mean films, games, music) breaking out of their traditional platform. The franchise that is the Alien films looks to return Alien War to London in April 2008.


his was at one point the only film experience of its kind and saw 2 million visitors running and screaming through it between 1993 and 1996. Essentially bringing a very atmospheric film to life to be experienced – branded entertainment, branded content, convergence or transmedia? Probably all. Then I recently learnt that the Resident Evil games (which are known for their atmosphere and deep dark plot lines look to make the whole game experience a certain twist of reality by opening…..A Resident Evil House….but in Japan.


It’s only because I’m a geeky fan of the above (which usually have OTT fan bases) that I’ve started to notice them break out of their original launched platforms. It’s great for the business of content but also for taking a brand experience into a whole new dimension. Nintendo World, The Terminator Experience, Nike Land (which I would imagine could be fitness clubs) the possibilities are quite endless and can stretch as far as the imagination can.

It’ll be interesting to discuss other cultural ideas which have broken out of their original conception to become a much wider and involving entity if you know of any.


Anton xxx


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Arty Farty


I’ll just launch into this one. My partner is a Sculptress; she travels pretty much all over the world on private commissions, competitions, residencies or is in the UK on public commissions. As a result I pretty much have to spend 60% of my spare time in art galleries and exhibitions…..you can usually find me outside sighing, smoking with…I won’t go into that again.

Anyway, I’m currently doing the university final year shows. Goldsmith’s, Central St Martins, Royal College, Camberwell etc and one thing is a consistent thread throughout most which is that apart from an elite 5% of these shows I am distraught to the self indulgent matter that is produced. This may seem harsh and this may seem from someone who isn’t educated in art but then what is a qualification to critique? Essentially art is as subjective as the people you find attractive, the music you like and food you find tasty so I’m well in my right to say I find most university work quite appalling. On the flip side you are quite entitled to say you find it great…

…but let’s focus on it being so appalling. If you walk around these shows you’ll notice that the majority of the work has no appreciation of the end audience in mind whatsoever (a lesson taught on all art courses so I’m told). Presentation is bad, appreciation of space is lazy and even take away documents such a business cards are shoddy and ill thought out. Essentially a final year degree is to show case your best work to the public, it’s already marked so this is the beauty contest with the end objective to either get a scholarship to an MA course or get work. Why the fck then would you confuse the public with conceptual, self indulgent meaningless, ill presented wank? It just supports the statistic that 82% of art graduates aren’t working in the arts. I mean, one girl had a cardboard wall, with sand at the bottom and a projector at the top which gave a faint bluey effect – water I guess. She’s only put it in the most light part of the gallery so you couldn’t even see the projection. One had cut her business cards with blunt scissors, oh how very rustic, bin. One guy had filmed his shitty back yard in Stoke Newington with his bed in it and a lamp on the floor…..for 3 hours.

Final year degree shows make me really mad, they’re just not honest.


Go to one and I dare you to write your honest thoughts in their comments book. It’s liberating! No longer will little Johnny waste his time under the delusion that because he ticked all the right boxes with lecturers, got a 2:1 and his Ma and Pa said ‘great’ will he think that drawing the 12 most influential people in the world, 6 good, 6 bad and calling it ‘The Balance’ is any reason for him to think he has a pubic louse’s size of a chance of working in the commercial art world. Now when it’s good, it’s good. It does everything that art is meant to do, it engages by using some sort of drama or craft skill, it has a visual impact that registers making you curious and you always walk back to it.

I was then dragged kicking and screaming to queue for Damien Hirst’s recent exhibition at the white Cube, Beyond Belief. Now I like Hirst I was just tired and annoyed of walking all around Brick Lane seeing gash. However, when entering the White Cube, fuck me, that man is a genius. Knowing every single button to press when creating things that people will just gape in awe at is a bloody strong talent.


I wont get conceptual about how his work transcends from birth to death ending in a skull encased in £12m worth of custom cut diamonds (which strangely enough is shown first and not last) but I will say it’s just an amazing solo exhibition and should definitely be seen to instil confidence in the Brit art scene. It makes you angry that Tracey Emin is representing the UK at the Venice Biennale and that Hirst should be there destroying every artist that claims be the next best contemporary thing. It’s cliché to like the guy Saatchi made famous with the populist Shark and rotting cow head, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. He is populist because he’s just so fckn good. Anyway, I’ll leave it there. Just wanted to write how pissed off I get with degree shows and how much I melt at high profile, high budget and high expertise stuff. When put like that, don’t take any notice of the above, I’m clearly just a grumpy c*nt. ……but……  Deluze did say. ‘I don’t claim to be an artist, but knowing what I like puts me in a more powerful position than one’.

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