Fighting consumer culture, climate change, authority and injustice (“wherever it hides its filthy face”) are the vacuum cleaner’s bread and butter causes; Creative Resistance, Civil Disobedience, Corporate Interventions, Pranks, Hacktivism and Subvertising, the tools of choice. But with crisis dictating the agenda there has been little time to ask “What Difference Does It Make?”
For Louder Than Bombs, the semi-notorious artist-activist presented a variety of projects, actions and battles never clearly presented or documented before for the first time. This included a gallery installation of anecdotal wall-based texts, and a series of new public interventions including a participatory workshop Work is a 4 Letter Word conducted with students and artist-activists.
For the roundtable discussion What Difference Does It Make? the vacuum cleaner invited fellow artists and activists to present and discuss work created in direct response to the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The event, chaired by Olivia Chissel, included contributions from The Gluts and The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home who, in place of increasing their carbon-footprint, sent instructions for their contribution to be performed by the vacuum cleaner instead.
The week’s residency culminated in the performance This Civilization. Staged in collaboration with artist Franko B, the vacuum cleaner’s body was marked with the words “This Civilisation is Fucked”, the action serving as both sweeping political statement and intensely personal testimony.