Glitter Action Group is a serious project that I’m interested in taking forward, as an interactive art/ immersive theatre project that could take a range of forms. In particular I want to use the liminal spaces of parties and festivals, when people are emotionally open and a step back from their ordinary lives, to process political ideas and emotions playfully.
I wondered about going to the Anarchist Bookfair, to troll it with glitter, because there’s so many people there to take the piss out of, but also so many people there who are awesome. I imagined setting up a mini queer/glitter dance party, and get people involved and glittered up, which tbh would be a more fun way to spend time than most options round the bookfair, and then have some others of us break the terrible news that glitter is produced from the exploitation of unicorns.
Activism is a bizarre and conflicted practice. Many people become embedded in particular sorts of practice, which can develop cultures that make them hard for newcomers to access. Anarchist street demonstrations. V. language aware queer scenes. Ethical consumption. People become so invested in their political & ethical life choices that discussing them openly is incredibly fraught and sensitive. And dealing with the limits of our power living under global structures is difficult. The ways we maintain our sense of worth are varied, and though we can attempt to make choices that are coherent between our personal and political lives if we think we’re truly succeeding it’s going to be because we’ve got heads in the sand to some of the inevitable tensions and hypocrisies.
I had theatrical improvisational conversations with so many people on the theme of ‘Do YOU EVEN KNOW where your glitter comes from?’ – and people reacted in so many different ways. How people think about global capitalism comes across really clearly. From hysterical laughter at the idea of fairtrade redemption (basically anyone who is fucking fed up with liberal lifestylist consumption politics), to ‘We in the west really should be setting an example’ (sincere hippy girl with shit Eurocentric analysis but OMG SO EARNEST), to discussion of the ideal forms of worker’s co-ops, . And the bit I like most is the deeply emotional acknowledgment that it is fucking horrible to be complicit in exploitation and there is no way out of that under our current society.
I’d like to think about ways we can channel the emotions & strategizing & prioritisation of forms of action on the disgusting unicorn factory farms to transfer to real life issues. Like the Duvet Day theatre project where people were left with the contacts of organisations taking action on issues related to stories told in the piece.
I want to bring this project forward with a tight core group of people who trust each other’s politics, but who bring different angles to it – who engage in real-world politics in a range of different ways, with different priorities but shared core values. I want to develop a space where we can operate on a basis of assumed goodwill to call each other in, and make the space as safe and comfortable as possible for a wide range of people. I want the space to be one for mutual understandings and new emotional connections to develop.
I want it to be really fun, and nourishing to be a part of this project. I want us to be able to run an expenses (or more) paid crew who are having a better time than we would attending friendly commercial-ish events as punters (such as Shambala, where this project grew as an idea in my head) or to do it for shits and giggles and catharsis and whatever else we may get out of it where-ever seems a good place. Or to be paid real money to run as a room at a clubnight or arts event that has actual money. For me, I hope to have fun with a sort of project I haven’t tried to make happen before. I want to have time being a performance persona because I love it and have never yet formalised it at all. I’m happy for this project to tick over at a low level until such time as people have the capacity/energy/motivation to make it have particular incarnations. It could just be two people playing with it at a party, and writing it up. Maybe we could spin out the mythology and make an online presence entirely within our fantasy campaign. We could play out wars between radicals and liberals, or trots and anarchists, or clicktivists or those who think ‘identity politics are a waste of time’. We could develop workshops for different audiences. We could follow our noses and do things that feel good in the gut and see what happen …