SAWNEY HA'PETH takes their name from an old slur against the Scots, particularly Highlanders. Originating as a nickname akin to "Jock" it is still defined as "fool" or "simpleton" in the dictionary. "Ha'peth" is a corruption of halfpenny implying worthlessness - literally "a worthless fool".
They embody the complicated nature of Scottish national identity - a force that has both been oppressed and oppressor throughout its history. Acting as both a clowning troubadour to caricature the notion of “Scottishness” while exposing its manufactured nature as something largely imagined due to the scarcity of the country's suriving history. Playing simultaenous stereotypes; the dancing tartan entertainer, the accusations of Highland cannibalism that ran well into the 18th century, the drug-addicted drunkard, the Scottish Cringe phenomena and the often portrayed romanticised oppressed hero seeking an abstracted freedom.
Coalescing a mess out of everyday Scots symbols to reverse the normality and expose the absurdity of them akin to ceremonial clowning. By using obscene and sacrilegious actions out of national symbols and associations they subvert the truly obscene dangers of drawing one's identity from one's nation.
Both sides of the artist's family goes back as far as records can tell to Scotland, they grew up in whisky country and worked in a shortbread factory for several years to save-up to pursue their practice. They share their birthday with the date of the Scottish independence referendum.
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VVVVVV (tba 2022)
BLIGHTY takes their name from a slang term for Great Britain, often used in overseas combal and during colonialisation. The term is generally used with affection and fondness.
They act as a counterpoint to SAWNEY to explore British natonal idenity. Both in its colonial self-mythologisation and its active nostalgia creation. The two factors that not ony underpin much of it's pop-culture but much of how it positions itself within a global context. Exploring the manifold aspects of "Britishness". From the repeated motifs of Brtisih pop-culture, specifically music, and it's relation to collective memory. The disparity between Britian's own historical narrative and of the reality of it's plundered wealth and slave trade. The pervasive nature of it's centuries long mass media. It's surviving aristocracy and monarchy and how that relates to the working-class. And as the birthplace of the industrial revolution and its repercussions.
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PAULA GOODSPEED takes their name from a humiliated contestant on reality series American Idol, a Simon Cowell production and forerunner to the X-Factor. Despite clearly being mentally vunerable Goodspeed was allowed to audition where she was mocked for not only her voice but her appearance by Simon Cowell. She comitted suicide outside the home of another judge, Paula Abdul, two years later. Paula Goodspeed is one of the most well-known cases of a humiliated reality TV contestant taking their life.
Their name and personal details were intitially taken for a social experiment to test the X-Factor screening process after reading about the high numbers of reality TV contestants that ended their lives following public humiliation. After successfully securing an audition their name was used as a means of "haunting" the reality TV show industry, the ridiculed in turn riduling them. Exploring the maniulative and coercive language of reality TV, the degrading nature of the "talent industry", narcissm and ego. Comparing the rhetoric to the initiations and jargon of doomsday cults. GOODSPEED became the guru figurehead and repeated face of the doctrine of "complete entitlement" - the empty self-interest cult of capitalism.
One year and one month after the initial "haunting" at the X-Factor auditions the UK government launched and inquiry into production companies' duty of care to reality TV contestants, resulting in the cancellation of the Jeremy Kyle show. The date of their last live public performance synchronistically landed on the premature closure of said inquiry.
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