Parallel State

Chan, JJ [Speaker] (2021) Parallel State. In: Artbomb Festival : Public // Street Art Forum; 05 - 09 Aug 2021, Doncaster, U.K.. (Unpublished)


In response to the following provocations, JJ Chan presented a series of rhetorical questions around imagining and unimagining the social, economic, and political contexts of the prevailing now in Doncaster; "What Does a Northern Town Look Like in the Parallel State and what happens in it’s public spaces? Without a north:south binary, how will Doncaster’s past inform this reimagined version of itself? If Doncaster were self-governed, what would it look like? How would it interact with other urban and rural communities? What would its public spaces look like?". A year before this event, Mark Rappolt had written in Art Review Asia, that the devastating impact of Covid-19 “makes art, and the communities that engage with it, more worthy of preservation than ever”. In critical response JJ wrote in ArtAsiaPacific: "what’s worth preserving?" "As we start to rebuild our normalities," they continued "we need to ask ourselves what our past normalities had neglected, what they had marginalized, and what we might bring with us into the newly emerging." As we emerge out of lockdown, what normalities are we going to accept? In the Parallel State, are we all migrants... what of our culture, of our Donny, will we bring with us? All citizens in the Parallel State are equal and not bound by geographical restraints and prejudices. The Parallel State is a fictive breakaway state - a space to collectively imagine alternative solutions to life on earth - free from the oppositional constraints of the failed states in which we live. All citizens in the Parallel State are equal and not bound by geographical restraints and prejudices. The presentations were followed by a Question Time style panel discussion. This event formed part of a one-day forum titled Public Art to Street Art at the Artbomb festival in Doncaster. It was co-curated by Eelyn Lee & Helen Kilby Nelson of the Parallel State together with Olivia Jones of Doncapolitan, a citizen-led publication and movement in Doncaster. Other speakers and panellists included drag performance artist Bipolar Abdul, artist and local Labour Councillor Sarah Smizz, writer and activist Olivia Jones, and Clare Devaney who is Strategic Lead for Place & Culture in the North. Together, the forum hosted discussions on creative connections, social agency, effective responses and the relevance of contemporary urban interventions to form a critical understanding of people and place.

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