S Mark Gubb & Roadkill Zine
History of a Time to Come
Preview: Friday 12 February, 2010. 6 - 9pm
Open: 13 - 14 February 2010, 12 - 5pm & 19 - 21 February 2010, 12-5pm (Or by appointment)
Plus Zine Fair 20 February 2010, 12-5pm
For the fourth exhibition in CRATE’s Bad Translation programme, S Mark Gubb is teaming up with a hypnotist and East-Kent based fanzine Road Kill to rediscover his youth - specifically, his late teens, which he spent as a heavy metal and hardcore-loving musician and skateboarder in Margate.
For Gubb, as for anyone between the age of seventeen and twenty-one, these were seminal times, when cultural allegiances were formed and rock-star dreams pursued, while the pressures and realities of adulthood approached quietly. Towards the end of this period, Gubb realised that he had to choose between his beloved music and returning to study art. He chose the latter, but the local DIY music and skateboarding subcultures left a strong imprint on his work, which even now is as likely to refer to Napalm Death as it is to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
In fact, Gubb’s work is an exploration of how different subcultures, with their attendant languages, can overlap in contemporary society, creating challenges to notions of independence and originality for those who regard themselves as outsiders (or, indeed, insiders). A single work might find the common ground between the inclusive rhetoric of both the American political right and the independent music scene, but, rather than producing work that critiques this process from rigid ideological standpoint, Gubb explores its potential for good and bad with equal emphasis.
In this new work, he positions himself explicitly as the subject of the actions, decisions and tastes of others – someone whose personal understanding of time and place are part of a larger system of tastes and interpretations. In December 2009, Gubb visited a hypnotist to be ‘regressed’ to his time in Margate. The series of diaristic impressions of the town and the landmarks and events that were important to his time there formed a manuscript, from which Road Kill Zine will be producing a zine and exhibition of drawings.
Road Kill Zine
Road Kill Zine was started in 2007 by Craig Scott and Dan Singer. The pair met skateboarding in Whitstable and Herne Bay, and soon discovered the rich DIY culture and hardcore punk music associated with the sport since the 1980s. Inspired by pioneering hardcore bands Minor Threat and Black Flag (whose singers, Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins skateboarded together as teens), they adopted the ‘straight edge’ mantra (‘Don’t smoke, don’t drink...), and looked to the illustrators and fanzines associated with the bands for examples of how they might fill their evenings without dulling their minds. Their fanzines, which openly recall the subculture of the decade before they were born, take the classic obsessions of teenage misfits – zombies, sex, mistrust of grown-ups and authority figures - mix them with social commentary and weird humour, and render it all in a surreal anthropomorphic graphic style that reclaims each piece of source material, whether it be a slasher movie or a cheap pornographic image, as the subject of a very idiosyncratic imagination and worldview.
For History of a Time to Come Road Kill have produced a fanzine that takes the results of Gubb’s hypnotic regression and applies their skewed approach to his memories of day-to-day life in Margate, which include relatively quotidian events, such arbitrarily deciding to walk an unfamiliar route to his home. The results are tangential and phantasmagorical; a radical remaking of the past and an exploration of the relationship between Gubb, Scott and Singer; suggesting that illusive acts of the imagination and random thoughts are perhaps more substantive areas of commonality than any verifiable facts that might bind the three together.
In addition to the fanzine, which will be available for free from CRATE for the course of the exhibition, Gubb will work with Road Kill to produce a walk-in version of the ‘zine in CRATE’s project space. This could be seen as an attempt to make real those imaginary works the three have formed together. On the other hand, it could also be regarded as a shrine to the teenage bedroom or artists’ studio...
Zine fair CRATE will be holding an exhibition of fanzines and artists’ books to coincide with History of a Time to Come, featuring contributions from Road Kill – who will be bringing hand-printed hoodies and T-shirts as well as zines – and other self-publishers from Kent, including artist Lucy Harrison, who has a solo exhibition at CRATE in March. Other contributors include Duck and Cover Art Journal and Never Grow Up Zine. Entry is free, and all contributors will have work for sale. Non-contributors are welcome to bring their own fanzines to show and swap.
History of a Time to Come is part of Bad Translation, CRATE’s programme for 2009/10. It is generously supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.