Re-eneactment Of De Menezes Shooting On Saturday
It's only Monday afternoon and we already have a winner for the WTF and FFS award of the week. Artist Mark McGowan will be re-enacting the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes this coming Saturday afternoon, at Stockwell station where the original incident took place.
It could be seen as a rather confused and distasteful attempt to treat the public's post-traumatic stress disorder, forcing the public to confront the event one more time to gain some kind of control over the event itself and our reactions to it. It could be seen as live protest art, an expression of dismay and discontent at the current inquest.
But really, should it be seen at all? It is understandable that some form of catharsis is needed in order for the public to confront and then be released from this sad, bungled shooting. It is doubtful whether a faithful reproduction of what happened, on the site of De Menezes death is in any way useful, or indeed, 'art' - there must be other, more constructive and effective ways to address this.
There's also no suggestion from the gallery or the artist that the station will be closed and cleared for this event so it may take place among the unsuspecting public, who will then have to deal with the consequences of the tragedy all over again and without consent. There seems to be a number of gaps in the intentions and merits of this re-enactment, even in the spelling of De Menezes name in the MacGowan's press release. Calling him John does not show a great deal of care and attention applied to the subject of the 'art' work. Mind those gaps and stay away: Jean Charles de Menzes needs justice, not a replay of his last unhappy moments.
|Jean Charles de Menezes shooting show outside Stockwell Tube station|
9:05am Friday 28th November 2008
A performance artist has turned the shooting of Tulse Hill’s Jean Charles de Menezes by police in to a show to be performed outside Stockwell Tube station.
Mark McGowan will perform the piece, in which actors with cardboard boxes on their head use a two-foot gun to shoot a man wearing a card box with Menezes’ face on, at 2pm on Saturday.
The 38-year-old who works at Camberwell College of Performing Arts, said: “I think there is a real sense of apathy about what happened to this innocent man.
“People need to take note of what is happening here, rather than thinking about who is going to win X Factor and what they are getting for Christmas.
“Hopefully this performance will do this.”
The performance is not the first time Mr McGowan has courted controversy.
During his career he ate chunks of a Corgi dog in protest against Prince Philip for hunting foxes then cooked and ate a fox to highlight the plight of "crackheads".
But Mr McGowan said he was not staging the protest to raise his own profile.
The inquest in to the killing of Mr Menezes, who was shot on September on July 22, 2005, on an underground train at Stockwell Station by armed police who mistook him for terror suspect Hussain Osman, is in its closing statements.
A verdict by the jury at the Oval Conference Centre is expected by Friday, December 12.
|Pandora: Artistic response to de Menezes death|
By Alice-Azania Jarvis
Friday, 28 November 2008
Eating a swan, catapulting a pensioner into space and scratching 50 gleaming cars with a single set of keys: Mark McGowan's portfolio is nothing if not varied.
Now the zany performance artist tells me he is preparing for another stunt, this time protesting about the lack of response to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.
"There is so much apathy," he explains. "People are distracted by things like the X Factor and Christmas, so I'm doing this as a reaction."
McGowan has decided to re-enact the killing, in which the innocent Brazilian was shot dead in 2005 by armed officers with the Metropolitan Police who believed him to be a suicide bomber, at Stockwell Tube station. All the actors involved in tomorrow's performance, he says, will wear cardboard boxes to cover their faces.
"It's an artistic response to something that should never have happened – especially from the police."
One organisation that isn't sympathetic to McGowan's cause is Transport For London. McGowan says that they have sent him a letter asking that he refrain from the demonstration.
"They've said that if I didn't, then they would send the transport police down," says the artist.
"We simply can't let him proceed," confirms a spokesman for the transport authority.
Stand by for fireworks...
It went ahead but our worst fears weren't realised; he wasn't allowed into Stockwell tube station or onto the platform, thankfully. With cooperation from the police, Mark McGowan managed to stage his reenactment of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes outside Stockwell tube on Saturday afternoon but it seems that the biggest local impact it had was to draw out the paparazzi and get a well dodgy cameraphone style video - possibly intentionally for pseudo authenticity - and expose his own operation as monumentally on the hoof, with paps crowding in, cardboard boxes turning the wrong way, hapless PRs gesticulating wildly. The best thing we spotted in this vid was our own photographer, doing his thing.
Is it art? It was certainly spectacle.
Many thanks to Simon Rigglesworth. Our man on the scene.