7 January 2016
It’s been a tumultuous week in Glasgow, as its residents have been forced to confront some deeply unpleasant truths about their city. Whatever else it has done, and whatever form the finished work actually takes, Ellie Harrison’s “The Glasgow Effect” has highlighted in stark fashion the desperate rifts in the city between the haves and have nots, between the middle and working classes.
“The Glasgow Effect” has also shown the city and social media in their worst light, as people, understandably angered by being forced to think about the misery of their conditions, have taken to Twitter to foist often xenophobic and misogynist abuse on the artist, usually based on a complete miscomprehension of what the work was actually about, but then its hard to discuss conceptual art (or indeed, concepts) in 144 characters or less.
I would judge the work to be a success already; Ellie has survived more than a Ten Minute Hate on Twitter to a full Hate Week, probably thanks to this interview.
I was asked to write about all this earlier this week; thinking about all the issues involved, how living in the city had impacted on my physical and mental health, and how desperately I need a fucking holiday which I can’t afford (she is not being paid £15K to STAY in the city; she is being paid £15K not to LEAVE)* drove me to despair, and abandonment of the piece. I may write about it all this weekend, if I feel strong enough, but I don’t blame Ellie Harrison, or Creative Scotland for the state of Glasgow today – I blame the government and the council, and hope to interview Ellie about The Glasgow Effect when the dust has settled.
*This work is addressing the middle classes, and taking the piss out of them if anyone, not the working classes.