UK universities have been under continuous but gradual pressure from government policy to re-adapt to a new pedagogic structure. While the most egregious effects have been felt more recently, the shift roughly began with the introduction of selective research funding in 1986, polytechnic institutions becoming universities in 1992, and the introduction of variable fees in 2003, which has snowballed since. Alongside a mix of new regulations and relaxations, the field of higher education has become marketised, which has unsurprisingly turned out to not be a good thing!

Post 2008 financial crisis, the HEI sector has started to perform some of the more predatory behaviours of neoliberal capitalism, with university vice chancellors being paid more than £200,000 p/a salaries and the teaching jobs becoming more precarious and lower paid. This mirrors the growing chasm of wealth inequality manifest amongst developed nations. The majority of students now are the same millennials coping with a declining standard of life in comparison to their antecedent generation. But it’s tricky to gauge how these miasmae operate within an institution such as an art school. How do the humanities respond to an intensive competition for research funding like REF or the large scale models taken from STEM practices? Year on year, the market logic in the governing bodies of the university hardens. The malign changes often occur by confounding stealth or by slow bureaucratic creep. …


A contemporary artist (or a collective, however long that 21st c iteration may last, like an Artforum x Entourage nightmare) is required to find a rhetorical anchor in this McLuhanian pleasuredome, This Miserable Information Age. Drolly opportunistic and thirsty for the coy coattails of interest capita, what sharpens the praxial teeth yet to bite? The compression and speed of historical information shared without context, self-expression null counter-culture vomit fog, #fakenews and the rest pulsed through a febrile internet, harnessed to weaponise all who attempt to interlocute simultaneous historicisation and dissemination. Gone are the 1.0 halcyon days before all net dwellers were obsessed with branding themselves, innocence lost as progress meta-marches downward. Now a gloam of tiny art blogger pictures orbit the arc of your electro-piss and a throttling sensation of non-hierarchical competition builds in the crater behind the place where a sensation of ‘heart’ usually would be. …


slides from a talk we did to some unfortunate art students about how not to be a total shitheel in the art world. from a pre-coronavirus time, but maybe still relevant to every schmuck trying to use social media self-promotion again while everyone is online and self-isolating because its a fuckin pandemic.

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About

HorribleGIF

lowering the standards of art on the internet

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