For October’s Nicer Tuesdays we welcomed four very different creative talents to Downstairs at Mother London to explore the world of satire. Each brought their unique perspective to bear on this long-standing source of creative inspiration.
First up and setting the perfect tone for the evening was Jonathan Wakeham, co-founder of The LOCO London Comedy Film Festival. From Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove to Chris Morris, he explained why modern society needs satire as a way to “find the human in the inhuman, the man in the machine.” Its aim, he said, should be to “illuminate not eliminate” and that at its best satire is like “a staring match with the truth.”
He was followed by the sculptor Barnaby Barford who is best known for his work twisting found ceramic figurines to make stinging socio-cultural critiques. He was drawn to ceramics “because they’re very unthreatening, they’re part of our daily lives. We don’t expect to be challenged by them.” He used his modern version of Hogarth’s famous Rake’s Progress to show how he uses this medium to make unsettling points about contemporary life.
After a short break comedian, writer and artist Miriam Elia took to the stage. In a hilarious whip through some of her work both past and present – ranging from a fake diary of her short-lived childhood hamster to a Take A Break style reflections on her relationship with the artist Martin Creed – she demonstrated how she “challenges the liberal lefty arts establishment” out of frustration with its preoccupations.
Rounding off the evening was political cartoonist Jeremy Banx who explained that his own process is a “sort of hallucination,” where he lets his mind “toy around with the logic of things.” From big news stories like the NSA spying row and the horse meat scandal (with which, he admits, he became slightly obsessed) Jeremy showed how to take complex news stories and distill their essence into something quick, funny and communicative. He also showed us some of his new personal work, revolving around the quotidian frustrations of the Grim Reaper.
Thanks very huge to all our speakers, to Mother London and to everyone who came along; Nicer Tuesdays will return at the end of November.