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Jump Jet - Statement


Encompassing film, video, installation and performance work, my artistic output has focussed on movement, independence, sexuality and power. Often adopting a documentary style, creating social observations in films such as ‘River’, ‘Little England’, ‘Donut’ and ‘Homing’.


Combined with my work as an organiser and curator my practice is increasingly hybrid. At this point the relationships between those activities traditionally defined as producer or artist, making objects (be they made of fine particles of light or architectural space), withprocesses of social intervention and politics interests me most. The notion of network and infrastructure builder is appealing as is the term ‘professional interferer’. Artists can play in that ‘un-comfort zone' and as an ‘arts professional’ I have been afforded access to people, language and systems that have I hope, made real change happen: artistically, socially

and economically.


Gaining permission (trust) to film at RAF Wittering is in itself part of the process of influence. Those in the military in turn negotiate a relationship with an artist working from both a celebratory and a critical position. I enjoy that contradiction. To then manifest the work through public projection and gallery installation is significant in bringing the image of the Harrier into the heart of the City, which has a long standing relationship to the aircraft.


I too have a personal link to the plane, having marvelled at vertical lift offs at air-shows throughout my childhood in Bedford, surrounded by airbases during the cold war. When I was younger, I had a fascination with power and speed, this now turns into an ambivalent attitude towards the masculine fetishisation of technology. In this instance the jump jet, an effective killing machine, beautiful in its innovative design, organic and curvaceous in its lines.


Further complexity then lies in attempts to reconcile issues of national security and economic gain in times of war. How do we feel about our own quality of life in a global environment? During the latest conflict in the Gulf I felt powerless in the face of mediated ‘truths’ and a hegemonic government apparently ignoring protest. Living in Scotland I heard the roar of planes from nearby Leuchars air base in the build up to war. This sound continues to ring in my ears.


Mike Stubbs

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