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I will spend the first week of March 2010 living with only what you choose to give.

If you can't make it to the gallery in person please feel free to post anything you like to:

Ansuman Biswas
Stanley Picker Gallery,
Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture
Kingston University, Knights Park
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2QJ

Anything you give - large or small, essential or whimsical, material or insubstantial - will remain within the gallery for the week and will be used in some way.

You are also welcome to come to a closing event at 3 - 4pm on Saturday 6th March when everything that has been given will be used in a final performance.

 

 

Live video from the gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Present

 

I will enter the empty gallery with nothing and remain within it continuously for one week.

No food, no water, no clothing. Just my body in the space.

During the week anyone is welcome to give whatever they think I might need or want.

 

We are born with nothing and die full of ourselves.

Everyone has a mother to thank and giving can be close to gratitude.

Pure compassion owns nothing but an open heart.

Charity can also get twisted up, however, with half-acknowledged fantasies of power.

 

Gifts have been powerful binders of social groups from the very earliest societies.

A shower of gifts can be a way of showing off, but giving with humility can also be giving in.

A surrender to love.

 

These days aid can be a balm for post-colonial guilt and a lubricant for the post-industrial economy.

Aid is big business. In the global economy flows of debt, commodities and labour determine day-to-day life for many billions of people.

However poverty and luxury have shifting definitions. Not only human cultures but also entire ecosystems stand or fall according to our definitions of rich and poor, our well-intentioned giving and our insidious self aggrandizement.

 

Help is always predicated on more or less conscious decisions about who is deserving, and just what it is that they deserve. It may be religious injunction or shrewd investment.

Charity may also be highly performative, played out in Live Aid, Red Nose Day, Children in Need, and the adoption of third world babies by Hollywood A-listers.

Much of the balance of the present global economy might be traced back to a recent era in which Western Europe saw itself as a benefactor, bringing the gift of the Gospel and Scientific Progress to poor unfortunates mired in darkness and ignorance. In the present day many see the World Bank as merely the smiling mask of an imperial army.

 

Unexamined ideology and greed, in governments, corporations and individuals, have engendered international debts which can no longer be serviced, leading to the near collapse of the whole precarious economic system. Precarious because, in grasping so rapaciously what has been freely given, we have devoured the goose that laid the golden egg. We are killing mother earth, and as free air and clean water disappear our arguments over blame and entitlement only get more heated. What is there left to give? What do we share now?

Here. My gift is the present.

 

I offer this action as a gift.

I present an opportunity to examine our feelings right now,

to question our assumptions about consumption and expenditure,

and to discover the real nature of our relationships with one another.

 

 

 

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Present

 

I come to you with nothing

And leave you with less. 

 

I come in rags and bones

Dressed in a tissue of lives

 

I wait at your door with an invitation

To come out and take the air with me. 

 

I ask only for giveness

Give only space

And the falling through it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louder than Bombs... Stanley Picker Gallery

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