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Acid Renaissance: update 1

By Paul Watson on .

Acid Renaissance: Albion’s True Standard Advanced

As work steps up on my new series of artwork, Acid Renaissance: Albion’s True Standard Advanced, it’s about time I provided an update on the ideas and thinking behind it.

First of all, Acid Renaissance is not a fantasy series. It certainly borrows quite a few tropes from popular fantasy (and folk horror and various other sub-genres), but it’s about potential futures not about an imagined past. It’s also very heavy on metaphor and allegory, so please don’t view it as a literal depiction of what I imagine as a potential future. Sure, it can be enjoyed on a purely pictorial level and that’s fine, but please don’t think that I’m predicting that people will be running rounds with wooden antlers on their heads etc. OK, now we’ve got that clear:

I’ve said before that we need to radically re-adjust our relationship with the climate and the environment, but I don’t subscribe to any back-to-the-land fantasies. While ditching the technological advancements of the past few hundred years might be survivable (in the short term) for able-bodied people like myself, many people — because of disability, health issues, age, or other reasons — rely on modern technology, 24 hour electricity and heating, transport infrastructure etc. to survive on a daily basis. To pursue some sort of anti-technology pastoral utopia is to deliberately condone the brutal extermination of millions of people. There’s a word for that sort of behaviour.

I could recite a string of other changes I think we need to introduce as part of the eradication of late-stage capitalism or whatever we’re calling it this week: radically-improved equal rights, Universal Basic Income, a 3- or 4-day standard working week, a more progressive democratic political process, a massive improvement in animal welfare, and so on. But this is not a political manifesto, at least not of the type you get pushed through your door during elections. So back to the artwork:

Well, so far there are three-and-a-half pieces of artwork in the series: two photographs (The Children of Winter and The Historian) and one linoprint (The World Turned Upside Down), along with a short piece of video of The Children of Winter). I have four more sessions scheduled with life-models in March which will produce more drawings and photographs (under the working titles of The Wise Woman, The Selkie, The Swamp Witch, and the Spirit of the Forest), another linoprint planned (working title: When Adam Delved & Eve Span), and I also have some video footage from a recent visit to Avebury and Silbury Hill that I have a plan for (which consists of slowing it right down and then putting together an audio backing track which will I hope will sound like the Sisters of Mercy doing a cover version of She Moved Through the Fair that then explodes into some psychedelic guitar nonsense), but I probably won’t get time for this last piece next month.

I’m trying to make prints of artwork from this project available on my online shop as they are ready, and so far there’s the The Children of Winter giclée print and a limited edition The World Turned Upside Down linoprint available. Sometime in March I will be releasing The Historian as a giclée print as well as some of the new artwork from the March sessions mentioned above. Any order from my online shop (whether it’s for artwork from this project or an older project) comes with a free Acid Renaissance sticker and badge, as well as my grateful thanks.

More soon!