Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Probe My Ass

Posted by cathedralofshit on March 25, 2011

Inspired by the Otolith Group’s jolly wheeze of actually being a couple of artists who pretend to be an organisation in order to be classified as a Regularly Funded Organisation, our team of unpaid but stupidly posh interns have been hacking away at classified information buried deep in Arts Council England.
Okay, not really, we’ve been looking at their website. Shit isn’t it? What’s with the purple type? But aside from that pithy review of ACE website’s front end (“Dame Liz Forgan”) and back end (“Alan Davey”), we’ve found another couple of artists doing crap doodles, pretending to be a cultural organisation and coining it in! Step forward Proboscis – a fancy-sounding name for two artists: Giles Lane and Alice Angus. They are an “artist-led studio” (as opposed to say, an accountant-led studio?) who are non-profit (like 90% of most other artist’s studios) who focus on creative innovation (and other artist focus on what exactly?). But wait! “Collaboration is at the heart of our creative practice.” Great! Presumably this “collaborative spirit” is a joint bank account stashing away taxpayer’s hard-earned cash! Still, CoS doffs it hat to Proboscis and Otolith for this cunning collaborative “we’re really an organisation” ruse. We’re renaming ouselves “Rhizosupramatic Cathedral of Shit Organisation” and we’d like you all to give us 50k now.

12 Responses to “Probe My Ass”

  1. Fumer said

    There’s that ‘Practice’ word again…


  2. Look back in anger said

    It is a surprise that more artists haven’t cottoned on to this wheeze – performers have been doing it for years. Another fave with the dramatists is to apply not for RFO but a big load of dosh from Grants For the Arts. To make your application more sexy to the Arts Council you ‘donate’ some cash yourself to the project – this on paper makes it look like you are finding that minimum of 10% from other sources and shows how committed you are to the project. Of course you then factor in handsome salaries for yourself as part of the application so when you get the grant you simply pay yourself back the ‘donation’. Simpelz!

    • Ranty said

      I would much rather get angry at the fact that The Royal Opera House gets over £25 million and the Royal National Theatre gets over £18 million – they should be privately funded and not from our hard earned taxes.

  3. Gifty said

    I love collaborative practice – twice the artists, twice the cost, half the fun (and that’s just Langlands and Bell). If a splits who gets to keep the grant/commission? Who do you post the remnants of the burnt work back to?

  4. Yawn said

    I find it really difficult to get worked up into a lather over artists seeking to support their work by any means necessary. ACE makes the rules, remember. Being an artist is a miserable enough enterprise without added sneering when you play the game and win fair and square, no?

    In this anonymous internet entity’s opinion, anger is much better placed on:
    – the unneeded administrators, arbitrators, and hangers-on
    – the funders who make the rules (when they get it wrong)
    – the politicians cutting culture funding

    Of course, many of the people in the categories mentioned above would be thrilled if we just continue to shit on fellow artists and squabble over the crumbs dropping from their table.

  5. 😉

  6. Fumer said

    Nothing new here…

    Ballard said it well…

    Docile Herd

    “The funds disbursed by the Arts Council over the decades have created a dependent client class of poets, novelists and weekend publishers1 whose chief mission in life is to get their grants renewed, as anyone attending a poetry magazine’s parties2 will quickly learn from the nearby conversations. Why the taxes of people on modest incomes (the source of most taxes today) should pay for the agreeable hobby of a north London children’s doctor, or a self-important Soho idler like the late editor of the New Review, is something I have never understood. I assume that the patronage of the arts by the state serves a political role by performing a castration ceremony, neutering any revolutionary impulse and reducing the ‘arts community’ to a docile herd. They are allowed to bleat, but are too enfeebled to ever paw the ground.”

    Quoted text J.G. Ballard (2008 pp 233 – 234)

    1 This should also include; artists, gallerists, curators, projects space organisers, art-workers et al.

    2 It follows that any such gathering of the art herd can substitute a poetry magazine’s party – art opening, any social assembly of artists, art magazine launch, studio-gallery meetings, dinner parties, drinks down the pub etc.

  7. Khaki said

    what annoys me is ACE giving out public funds to private foundations like David Roberts Foundation.. Why the fuck do they keep on funding them? They don’t need the money and its just an attempt to legitimise their vanity projects.

  8. Ann said

    so should we leave cultural organisations to the bureaucrats to run and not try and get funding, not sure what you are sying whats wrong with two artists being an organiation, in fact whats wrong with one person being an org. People have been doing for years in others areas of industry, also why shouldn’t artists pay themselves 9look back in anger) its a priority that we do that otherwise we will go on doing everything for free forever. Lets stop this sniping about fellow artists are have a go at the right people Ax

    • Look Back in anger said

      So you propose all artist become organisations and pay themselves? Why stop at artists -there are hundreds of thousands of musicians out there bonking away on their keyboards in their bedrooms – lets pay them, they are just as deserving . My dad does a fair bit of model making – surely he deserves a few quid? Getting cold feet?

  9. Tony Blunt said

    The point in all this surely is that Otolith and Proboscis shit and shouldn’t be funded. Since receiving ACE funding Otolith became boring and irrelevant. Did you see their Turner Prize presentation? It made Langlands and Bell look engaging. Whether they are ‘artists’ or not is irrelevant. As for ACE, was ever an organisation so inappropriately named? Joker would be better but I’m not sure how an acronym could be crafted from that.

  10. Reggie Kray said

    I had the displeasure of seeing Otolith’s “sci-fi” film in Ghent last year. To be honest, the concept was interesting, albeit predictably making heavy use of SOMEONE ELSE’S IDEAS… Apparently Satyajit Ray wrote a script for an un-filmed sci-fi movie, and Otolith’s concept was to “pre-make” that movie, using, however, out-takes cobbled together from other Satyajit Ray films. So, using someone else’s ideas, and using someone else’s material, but in an admittedly (potentially) kinda clever sorta way. Problem is however the finished product was totally unwatchable and incoherent, and frankly an insult to Satyajit Ray (who at least knew how to make proper films). Hey presto nomination for the Turner Prize! Not content with actively shoring-up its reputation for rewarding failure, financial nepotism’s not far behind, as Kodwo Otolith’s brother Ekow is rewarded for famously fucking-up the ICA by being promoted sideways into a job at ACE

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