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Variant 20 Cover image


Variant 20 Summer 2004

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Front cover: 'Nae Mair Pish': info
Glasgow Autonomous Project (GAP)

As the wealth and health gaps widen ("in Shettleston, [Glasgow] the average man will live to 63, 14 years less than the UK average"), a sticker campaign highlighting the contradictions between the poverty & inequality in Glasgow, and the Council's £1.5 million re-branding campaign. (Also see: Save Our Pool)

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Ourganisation: An Open Letter of Invitation
" open access web site through which it is hoped that, by means of your participation, we can, together, build up an ongoing resource, archive and tool of collective investigation into the issue of self-institution."

Flaxman Lodge "is where registered users can post articles, comments, suggest research, discussio topics and events. Users can also upload images, create, move or edit forums, open wiki's and alter the overall look of the site.
It is also a key administrative motor for the [physical FL] space..."

FBI Abducts Artist, Seizes Art
Six Critical Art Ensemble artists subpoenaed in the latest installment in a bizarre investigation in which members of the US Joint Terrorism Task Force have 'mistaken' an art project for a biologocal weapons labatory.

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Global Liberalism is an Oxymoron
Daniel Jewesbury continues his observations on the nature of 'democracy' after the Iraq war: do those who seem to eager to promote it to the rest of the world even believe in it themselves any more?

From Hard Edged Compassion to Instrumentalism Light
A critique of UK Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell's latest appeal to liberal arts institutions, the document 'Government and the Value of Culture', and of the ongoing instrumentalisation of 'Culture' as a positivistic force to facilitate a 'stable society'.

'Pathfinder': The End of Housing Benefit?
An informative introduction to changes to Housing Benefit in the UK; the ongoing 'deforms' of the Wefare State dressed up as enabling 'choice'. We would like to expand upon these issues within Variant and welcome contributions that inform these areas.

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From racial state to racist state
Ireland on the eve of the citizenship referendum

Ronit Lentin
Explores state racism in Ireland as a manifestation of 'biopolitics', the desire to regulate, classify and control the individual body. Having racialised Irishness and established whiteness as its outward sign, the state is now engaged in policing its boundaries, both political and corporeal.

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Dancehall Dreams
Tom Jennings
"Most of the biggest chart successes of the past couple of years in the urban music field focus on the twin themes of the local club and neighbourhood environment, and sexual play and relationships...never before has there been such consistent questioning of suexual conduct and motivation and such sustained foregrounding of women's empowerment... the implications of women's sexual expression and autonomy, and their representation in a pornographic era, are by no means simple."

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Zine & Comic Reviews
Mark Pawson
A return for this regular feature, once again vehemently traversing the unique indy-to -industry graphic printscape, including: La Nouvelle Aux Pis, Brittish Greasy Spoon Instruction Manual, Nude...

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The Tyranny of Structurelessness
Jo Freeman
Originally addressed to the 1970's women's liberation movement, it remains applicable to other areas of radical struggle, a fine example of theoretical lucidity and modesty. Freeman presents the ramifications of the issue of 'structurelessness', setting out the factors that people need to consider without offering simplistic solutions or indulging in heated rehetoric.

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Your Machines: Your Culture
Simon Yuill
A thorough overview of a series of workshops and discussions at the Machinista Festival, Glasgow, introducing Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and its relevance to artists' practice, self-publising and distribution networks.

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Free Software Foundation -
Creative Commons -
OpenOffice -
Dyne-bolic -
Lowtech -
Freenetworks -
Glasgownet -
READ_ME festival -
RandomState -
Agile Process -
Saul Albert -


Mise en Scene au Chateau
An informal exchange discussing the benefits that self-organising and collaborating across a spectrum of practices can bring, as witnessed by the audio visual nights Mise en Scene at the artists' studios the Chateau, Glasgow.

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Mise en Scene:
The Chateau:

Racism in the Irish Experience
Colin Graham
extends this analysis in his review of Steve Garner's new book, Racism in the Irish Experience. Garner examines contemporary racism in the context of the previous Irish experience of discrimination; he contends that the common disappointment at the failure to translate this experience into a more enlightened attitude toward the 'other' is simplistic, and disguises the ways in which racism operates.

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Cultural Provision for the Twenty-first Century
The Cultural Policy Collective
A contribution to overturning the democratic deficit of new Labour's vacuous notions of 'partnership' and 'culture'. Notably, the pamphlet outlines the extent to which 'Social Inclusion' is failing. This is an essential read for everyone involved in constructing or delivering Social Inclusion Policy and its successors.

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The full pamphlet can be downloaded from:

cultural democracy


Global Spin and the public interest: An agenda for research in a globalised Scotland
Dr David Miller
A delve into the murky world of spin suggesting that it is much more extensive than we often think: A global—indeed a globalised—phenomena that has marked and detrimental effect on democracy and the public interest. "...The cardinal principle of spin being to attempt to align private and vested interests with public interests—to pretend that they are the same. The consequences of these processes of globalisation and the rise of spin also have consequences for academic disciplines and for a research agenda in a globalised Scotland adequate to understanding how the global and the local are intrinsically intertwined..."

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