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Anti Phone Propaganda

Anti Phone Propaganda is a new work from Ruth Angel Edwards, which emerged from her residency at Wysing in 2020. She has been covertly disseminating the piece online using paid targeted ads from anonymous accounts on social media phone apps.

Ruth Angel Edwards
Ruth Angel Edwards explores the dissemination of ideology through pop culture, drawing from sub and counter cultural movements both past and present, as well as the conditions which give rise to them. Individualism, the body, gender and sexuality, consumerism and spirituality are recurring themes in her work; hedonism, spectacle and dissent are deconstructed and reformed to create communicative works across a variety of media. She is interested in how ideology is communicated, consumed, internalised, rebelled against and regurgitated.

I made this video last year during the first lockdown when the mass panic around Corona virus news was at its’ peak and was all over the internet, so I decided to limit phone use. I found the act of smashing up the phones really therapeutic at the time, and, once rendered useless as pieces of technology, I took them to the local park, playing around with their reflections and looking at their simple qualities as objects, outside of their intended function. Concerns around surveillance and control, and the addictive and alienating effects of excessive phone use have been on my mind a lot over the past few years. The question of how to effectively act on these feelings is always difficult - maybe smashing up your phone is the only way?

The video's sound includes samples from 3 songs by Alec Empire and Atari Teenage Riot -

‘Don’t Talk About the Shit Over the Phone’
‘Don’t Lie White Girl’
‘Delete Yourself! You got No Chance to Win!’

I was also inspired in part by an interview I did in California in 2016 with alternative publisher, V. Vale, founder of Re/Search publishing. https://www.researchpubs.com/

Here's an excerpt from the interview :

Where are the new frontiers of Defiance?
Or what's really Underground?
Or what's really Radical?
Or where's the real border-crossing happening now?
I mean that sentence was nailed ages ago in that wonderful British early punk tabloid called…
…it had the word ‘Anarchy’ in the title -
it was only a one off i don't even know who did it…..
i have a copy but i haven't seen it for decades…
and it had that wonderful statement in it which i immediately ripped off, or should i say ‘borrowed’, and used in my Search and Destroy, which was,"an easy way to raise your intelligence.." (and then there's, you know, colons, you know the typographical thing? as opposed to a semi-colon)
"An Easy Way to Raise Your Intelligence: Ask"(comma)"Is It Against The Status Quo?"

Well what is the status quo now? Well for me it's everyone on their iPhone all the time looking down even when they come visit me, you know they're getting alerts through them, "Oh i'm expecting a job i have to check this" leave the room and make a phone call. You know? That kind of thing. So if everyone's doing that, if that's the status quo, then what's anti the status quo well no one's gonna do it because now their income stream and future jobs... -
everyone's a temp worker now

there's no security
and everyone is just existing job to job
and so
they have to be available on the damned iPhone or Smartphone or whatever
and soooooooooo
Can you imagine just taking an hour off?
And just being by yourself and reading and writing and whatever you do Without surfing the net?
That's some pretty hard discipline
I mean i use
i write on a computer and then i look up a word
and then i find out what it is but then i suddenly find that 20 minutes later i forgot what i'm doing and i have to go back to writing...
and i'm that way…
It's a very complicated discussion because we've all become these kind of augmented reality intelligent sentient beings now and it's hard to resist that - You don't know the word? Well just look it up! Google it! The definition pops right up!
Its very hard to resist these things
You know if you can do your own…
you know
assuming that we're both capable of being quirky
i.e.: not predictable all the time
….Why should they own it any more than you or me? i mean we're all breathing and needing places to stay….

and the next question
is do they build the buildings themselves with their own hands?
No, someone else did whose long dead!

If you want me to get personal
I would like to feel that i'm a
trying to be
all my life
But it's a combination of trying to be a
All of that.

You don't need money. You just use what you have or can salvage or find...
Or even find on the street literally!
you make your art.
You can say that the purpose of humans is to create art well
a lot of em don't
or they don't think they do but maybe they're actually doing it, they don't even call it that…

So what is ‘art’?
Um so here's
here's where we're going:
There's a saying:
"All Undergrounds are the same"
Well that's not true
But weirdly
In a way, weirdly they are because they're all against the status quo OF the time.
The status quo is continually changing so whatever it is -

Well that makes you at least think!
hhhhhhh for Christ's sake…..
I'm using antiquated language heh………
…it's a reason to live you might say,
and it brings you some kind of emotional joy
or pleasure
or whatever your body feels

…Because i bet a lot of people had never, ever thought of that:
Could there be Anarchy in the UK?
what would it be like?
what would it look like?
what would it dress like?
what would people wear?
Hah if there's gonna be a party i wanna know what to wear!

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