Stewart Home

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Kevin Llewellyn Callan (born 24 March 1962),[1] better known as Stewart Home, is an English artist, filmmaker, writer, pamphleteer, art historian, and activist.

He is best known for books of satirical pulp-fiction and non-fiction on topics ranging across cultural critique, radical politics and philosophy, and histories of punk rock and avant-garde art.

History[edit]

Home was born in South London. His mother, Julia Callan-Thompson, was a model who was associated with the radical arts scene in Notting Hill Gate.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he exhibited art and also wrote a number of non-fiction pamphlets, magazines, and books, and edited anthologies.[1]

His interests have included radical politics, punk culture, the occult, the history and influence of the Situationists as well as other fringe and avant-garde currents. His approach combines elements of satire and activism, the use of collective pseudonyms, plagiarism, pranks and publicity stunts.

Drawn to music, bohemianism, and radical politics as a teenager, Home had involvements with leftist groups including the Trotskyist Socialist Youth League and the publishers of Anarchy Magazine but professing autonomous communist political positions, he associated with the London Workers Group before producing punk (music) fanzines including "Down in the Street" and playing in such bands as The Molotovs. In the early 80's, Home operated a one-person-movement called "Generation Positive" and a punk band White Colours which called for others to form bands with the same name. The latter idea went forward into Home's SMILE, its name derived from the Mail Art zines FILE and VILE,which in turn parodied LIFE magazine. This concept of shared names led to kinship with a North American avant-garde group called Neoism which made similar use of collective and shared identities (eg. Monty Cantsin). Home joined the group, becoming its theorist and prime publicist but conflicts including that between Home and its co-founder, Istvan Kantor over the latter's personal use of the 'Monty Cantsin' as his artist-identity, led to Home's splitting with the group and his new collective pseudonym of Karen Eliot which he propagated in SMILE magazine. Continuing an eclectic mixture of Home's manifesto-style writing and reflections on radical currents in art and politics, SMILE, with significance for his future career, also began to be a focal point for information and interest on the history of cultural groupings such as the Lettrist International, the Situationists, Fluxus, Mail Art, individuals such as Gustav Metzger and Henry Flynt, as well as Home's own short fiction parodying pulp 'skinhead' novels of the 70's. SMILE issues also plagiarised from other, especially Situationist, writing, and as part of Home's experiments toward entering the art world, he drew on American appropriation art to develop a series of exhibitions and events leading to "Festivals of Plagiarism" in the late 80's. In a further step, plagiarising an earlier attempt by Gustav Metzger, Home then propagated the idea of Art Strike, encouraging artists to stop making art and highlighting the key role the art world's financial and cultural elitism was playing in the perpetuation of capitalist exploitation. This propaganda campaign caused a stir in the London contemporary art scene and Home, as chief contact for the Art Strike held talks at venues like the ICA, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and on BBC Radio in London. The international Mail Art network picked up and further disseminated the Art Strike campaign.[2] but Home has since admitted that he may have been the only participant and even that remains disputed, since two of his books, which he alleges were completed before 1990, appeared during the period of the strike. Having nevertheless gained influence and reputation, Home consolidated it with the publication of several books and by forming The Neoist Alliance, his third one-person-movement and a tactical reappropriation of the Neoism label for self-promotion purposes. Despite its name, the Neoist Alliance had no affiliation with the international Neoist network which had been active since 1980 and its activities chiefly comprised publishing Home's newsletter "Re-Action".[3]

Now courted by the London art and publishing scenes, by the mid-nineties Home was championed by fashionable curator Matthew Higgs who included his work in London group shows such as "Imprint 93", "Multiple Choice" and "A to Z". Uber-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist also included Home in a survey of Young British Art, "Life/Live" Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (October 96- January 97).

With the advent of the internet, the scenes in which Home had moved were changing and the influence he'd enjoyed somewhat declining. In response, he developed website and social networking presences while known primarily as an author and blogger but performance elements in his readings continued to develop and found their way into new involvements including internet radio and online film and video. Most recently, Home has been been the subject of touring retrospectives which have refocused a wider reputation as an artist, particularly in America where Home has now been included within the acclaimed online art-archive Ubuweb. Home's novel Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane was picked up by US imprint Penny-Ante and published there in 2013.

Writings[edit]

Home's books, appearing from 1988 onward, elaborate interests in his earlier writings for SMILE magazine.

The Assault on Culture: Utopian currents from Lettrisme to Class War (1988), attempted to inaugurate a new underground art-history deriving from Home's personal interest in a range fringe currents in art and politics. It was one of the books which revived interest in the Situationists and which Home would take forward as editor of What is Situationism? A Reader (1996).

More important in terms of Home's oeuvre is that the book is also a tactically-manipulated history of post-war culture, partly for the purpose of historicising an obscure group called 'Neoism' whose primary theorist Home had become after joining them in the early 80's. This process is continued in Neoist Manifestos/The Art Strike Papers (1991) and Neoism, Plagiarism and Praxis (1997) but his 1995 novel Slow Death ridicules the historification process in a fictionalised exposition of his own experiments. In a further twist, its then-fictional scenes of the planting of Neoist archives in museums would become actuality when Home sold a large archive of Neoist documents to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Home's long-term interest in what he's called 'unpopular culture' has seen him edit many anthologies of his and others' work. These include Mind Invaders: A Reader in Psychic Warfare, Cultural Sabotage And Semiotic Terrorism (1997), Suspect Device: Hard-Edged Fiction (1998), Confusion Incorporated: A Collection Of Lies, Hoaxes & Hidden Truths (1999) as well as a substantial collection of samizdat collections from his own imprint, Sabotage Editions.

Home's first novel Pure Mania (1989), had parodied (or detourned, in the manner of the 60's Situationist groups), the 70's teen-pulp novels of James Moffat (writing as Richard Allen), a template developed from earlier short stories by Home published in SMILE magazine and later anthologised in No Pity (1993) Mixing high and low culture references with sex and violence, and a satirising of London subcultures in art, politics and occultism, this recipe fuelled Defiant Pose (1991), Red London (1994) and Blow Job (1997) The non-linear Come Before Christ and Murder Love (1997) and the picaresque Cunt (1999) saw Home experimenting more widely with literary forms and with the publication 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess (2002), he found the mainstream literary press in Britain finally receptive, ironically, to a book whose narrative viciously ridicules figures in the literary establishment.

Later books from Home have seen fiction and non-fiction interests overflowing, particularly in Tainted Love (2005) and his recent The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones (2014) which are inspired by Home's research into his family background which has also seen outputs in the form of exhibitions and articles elsewhere

Bibliography[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Pure Mania (Polygon, Edinburgh 1989. Finnish translation Like, Helsinki 1994. German translation Nautilus, Hamburg 1994).
  • Defiant Pose (Peter Owen, London 1991. Finnish translation Like, Helsinki 1995. German translation, Nautilus, Hamburg 1995). Some of the action of this novel takes place on the Samuda Estate
  • Red London (AK Press, London & Edinburgh 1994, ISBN 1-873176-12-0; Finnish translation Like, Helsinki 1995).
  • Slow Death (Serpent's Tail, London 1996. Finnish translation Like, Helsinki 1996) ISBN 978-1-85242-519-7
  • Blow Job (Serpent's Tail, London 1997. Finnish translation, Like, Helsinki 1996. Greek translation Oxys Publishing, Athens 1999. German translation, Nautilus, Hamburg, 2001).
  • Come Before Christ and Murder Love (Serpent's Tail, London 1997).
  • Cunt (Do-Not Press, London 1999) ISBN 978-1-899344-45-1
  • Whips & Furs: My Life as a bon-vivant, gambler & love rat by Jesus H. Christ (Attack! Books, London 2000).
  • 69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess (Canongate, Edinburgh, 2002) ISBN 978-1-84195-353-3
  • Down and Out in Shoreditch and Hoxton (Do-Not Press, London 2004).
  • Tainted Love (Virgin Books, London 2005).
  • Memphis Underground (Snowbooks, London 2007).
  • Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie (BookWorks, London 2010).
  • Mandy, Charlie & Mary-Jane (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013).
  • The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones (Test Centre, 2014).

Stories[edit]

  • No Pity (AK Press, London & Edinburgh 1993, ISBN 1-873176-46-5; Finnish translation Like, Helsinki 1997).

Non-fiction[edit]

  • The Assault on Culture: Utopian currents from Lettrisme to Class War (Aporia Press and Unpopular Books, London, 1988) ISBN 0-948518-88-X (New edition AK Press, Edinburgh 1991. Polish translation, Wydawnictwo Signum, Warsaw 1993. Italian translation AAA edizioni, Bertiolo 1996. Portuguese translation, Conrad Livros, Brazil 1999. Spanish translation, Virus Editorial, 2002).
  • Neoist Manifestos (AK Press, Edinburgh 1991).
  • Cranked up Really High: Genre Theory And Punk Rock (Codex, Hove 1995, new edition 1997. Italian translation Castelvecchi, Rome 1996) (an 'inside account' of the history of punk rock).
  • Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Diversions: A Collection of Lies, Hoaxes and Hidden Truths (Sabotage Editions, London 1995).
  • Green Apocalypse (a critique of the magazine and organisation Green Anarchist) with Luther Blissett (Unpopular Books, London 1995).
  • Analecta (Sabotage Editions, London 1996).
  • Neoism, Plagiarism and Praxis (AK Press, London, Edinburgh 1995. Italian translation Costa & Nolan Genoa 1997).
  • The House of Nine Squares: Letters On Neoism, Psychogeography And Epistemological Trepidation, with Florian Cramer (Invisible Books London 1997).
  • Disputations on Art, Anarchy and Assholism (Sabotage Editions, London 1997).
  • Out-Takes (Sabotage Editions, London 1998).
  • Confusion Incorporated: A Collection Of Lies, Hoaxes & Hidden Truths (Codex, Hove 1999).
  • Repetitions: A Collection of Proletarian Pleasures Ranging from Rodent Worship to Ethical Relativism Appended with a Critique of Unicursal Reason (Sabotage Editions, London 1999).
  • Anamorphosis: Stewart Home, Searchlight and the plot to destroy civilization (Sabotage Editions, London 2000).
  • Jean Baudrillard and the Psychogeography of Nudism (Sabotage Editions, London 2001).
  • Fasting on SPAM and Other Non-aligned Diets for Our Electronic Age (Sabotage Editions, London 2002).
  • The Intelligent Person's Guide to Changing a Lightbulb (Sabotage Editions, London 2005).
  • The Correct Way to Boil Water (Sabotage Editions, London 2005).
  • The Easy Way to Falsify Your Credit Rating (Sabotage Editions, London 2005).

As editor[edit]

  • Festival of Plagiarism Ed., (Sabotage Editions, London, 1989)
  • Art Strike Handbook Ed., (Sabotage Editions, London, 1989)
  • What is Situationism? A Reader Ed., (AK Press Edinburgh and San Francisco, 1996) ISBN 978-1-873176-13-9 .
  • Mind Invaders: A Reader in Psychic Warfare, Cultural Sabotage And Semiotic Terrorism Ed. (Serpent's Tail London, 1997).
  • Suspect Device: Hard-Edged Fiction (Serpent's Tail, London 1998).

Spoken word and releases[edit]

  • Comes in Your Face (Sabotage, London 1998).
  • Cyber-Sadism Live! (Sabotage, London 1998).
  • Pure Mania (King Mob, London 1998).
  • Marx, Christ & Satan United in Struggle (Molotov Records 1999).
  • Proletarian Post-Modernism (Test Centre 2013).

Funded Internet projects[edit]

  • NATURAL SELECTION (1998 organised by Graham Harwood & Matt Fuller, funded by the Arts Council).
  • TORK RADIO (1998 organised by Cambridge Junction, funded with lottery money).

Exhibitions[edit]

  • Humanity in Ruins, Central Space (London, February/March 1988).
  • Vermeer II, workfortheeyetodo (London July to September 1996).
  • Becoming (M)other, Artspace (London December 2004 to January 2005).
  • In Transition Russia, NCCA (Moscow, November/December 2008).
  • Hallucination Generation: High Modernism in a Tripped Out World, Arnolfini (Bristol April to May 2006).
  • Again, A Time Machine at White Columns (New York October/November 2011).
  • Part of Again, A Time Machine: a Book Works touring exhibition in six parts, SPACE (London April to May 2012).
  • Tilt, Building F (London November 2013).
  • The Age of Anti-Ageing, The Fucntion Room (London October/November 2014).

Selected film and videos[edit]

  • 'Oxum: Goddess of Love' (2007 30 mins).
  • 'Eclipse & Re-Emergence of the Oedipus Complex' (2004 41 mins).
  • 'Screams in Favour of De Sade' (2002 60 mins).
  • 'Has The Litigation Already Started?' (2002 70 mins).
  • 'The Golem' (2002 84 mins).
  • Ut Pictura Poesis (1997, 35 mm, part of project organised by Cambridge Junction with Arts Council funding).
  • Numerous videos including promos for books COME BEFORE CHRIST & MURDER LOVE (1997), RED LONDON (1994) & NO PITY (1993)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Turner, Jenny (9 May 2002). "Aberdeen rocks". London Review of Books 24 (9): 36–38. 
  2. ^ "A Life full of social interaction: Stewart Home". InEnArt. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.stewarthomesociety.org/reaction/

External links[edit]