Verities Magazine

The Anthropology of Modern Culture

No 03

It is somewhat ironic that, at the height of human achievement, we find ourselves overworked, overstressed, anxiety ridden, prone to depression, driven to consume and live with little or no community life. All this when levels of wealth and comfort have never been higher. However the disparity of that wealth is increasing; Those at the bottom, plunge ever deeper whilst those at the top increase their massive wealth with every passing second. The subject of Class is not as easily identifiable as other hegemonies such as race and gender. When we are asked directly which class we belong to, we reply politely but wearily and play the game for old times sake since many people believe that class has disappeared along with the idea of ‘knowing your place.’ Those in power assert that the old class structure does not exist and that ‘we are all middle class now.’ However those with power have a vested interest in denying its existence because they are directly involved in creating and maintaining class difference. Why, for instance, has the idea of class been so easily overlooked in the production and presentation of contemporary art? Especially in an era in which artists are increasingly coaxed into an anthropological framing of their practice. We all know the art world has never been about meritocracy pure and simple. But just what was it that made gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nationality eclipse the class thing with such ease? Our approach to the subject has been consciously unsystematic; we were more interested in throwing ourselves gung-ho into something inevitably and hopelessly complicated. The irony of covering the subject in the medium, so often used to sell the inaccessible lifestyles of the few to the masses, does not elude us. So here is our attempt to discuss class in a time when class-consciousness has declined, inequality has become the norm, and disempowered people everywhere are invisible within their own national cultures.

An Issue of Class

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