The Politics of Policing brought together Spanish artist collective Democracia, Navine G. Khan-Dossos and Jenny Jones, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb in a conversation moderated by Andrea Phillips. This event built upon a series of workshops and talks that constituted an integral part of Navine G. Khan-Dossos' exhibition There Is No Alternative at The Showroom (5 June – 27 July 2019). Each was aimed at creating new platforms for public debate around the UK government’s contested counter-terrorism strategy Prevent.
Organised in collaboration with a/political, the panel discussion was also framed in the context of the first UK presentation of the publication We Protect You From Yourselves, 2018, a compilation of texts edited by theorist Felix Trautmann and artist collective Democracia. Conceived in the aftermath of the so-called ‘Ley Mordaza’ (or Gag Law) - a controversial public safety law in Spain, which like policies such as Prevent, are perceived to curtail freedom of expression - the book aims to offer further understanding of what constitutes policing social order.
Democracia is an artist collective comprised of Iván López and Pablo España based in Madrid, Spain. Formed in 2006, their collaboration seeks to centre artistic production on collectivity, discourse, dissensus and conflict. Democracia’s work is characterised by their ambitious and provocative social interventions, contemporary agitprop punk aesthetic and emancipatory content.
Democracia have exhibited their work internationally at institutions including Station Museum of Contemporary Art, USA (2019); Centre d'Art la Panera, Lleida, Spain (2019); Rua Red, Dublin, Ireland (2018); Centre Pompidou, Malaga, Spain (2018); MUCEM, Marseille, France (2017); Kunstverein Freidberg, Germany (2016); Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC, USA (2012); Tapei Biennial, Taiwan (2008); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2007).
Navine G. Khan-Dossos is a visual artist based in Athens. Her interests include Orientalism in the digital realm, geometry as information and decoration, image calibration, and Aniconism in contemporary culture. She has developed a form of geometric abstraction that merges the traditional Aniconism of Islamic art with the algorithmic nature of the interconnected world we live in. This is not the formal abstraction we understand from the western history of art, but something essentially informational, and committed to investigation and communication. Khan-Dossos is a painter, and uses this medium and its history to ask fundamental questions about the ways in which we see, understand, and represent the world around us. Her work often responds to a sense of place, and increasingly takes the form of murals and site-specific installations.
Jenny Jones, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb has held several prominent political roles including Deputy Mayor of London, Deputy Chair of the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, Green Councillor for Southwark Council and Chair of the Green Party of England and Wales. She served on the London Assembly from 2000 to 2016 where she worked on housing, policing and civil liberties, cycling and walking, road safety and the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. In the 2000 to 2008 London administration, under Ken Livingstone, she was the Mayor’s Green Transport Advisor, advising him on sustainable forms of transport and Chair of the London Food Board. In 2004 she was named as one of 200 ‘women of achievement’ by Buckingham Palace. When the Green party was offered its first seat in the House of Lords in the summer of 2013 Jenny Jones was at the top of the party’s selection list, the result of a vote by all party members. Jenny was introduced to the House of Lords on 5 November 2013. She took her title, Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, from the council estate she grew up on in Brighton. She is the Green Party’s sole representative in the House of Lords.
Dr Andrea Phillips is BALTIC Professor and Director of BxNU Research Institute, Northumbria University & BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Andrea lectures and writes about the economic and social construction of public value within contemporary art, the manipulation of forms of participation and the potential of forms of political, architectural and social reorganisation within artistic and curatorial culture.
a/political prioritises intellectual curiosity and informed discourse around social and political concerns through contemporary art and cultural practices. It encourages the exploration of radical knowledge, platforming voices that interrogate the critical issues and dominant narratives of our time. Through rigorous cross-disciplinary experimentation, a/political collaborates on large-scale projects previously thought unreasonable due to their scale, logistical complexity and/or subject matter. Projects are produced, exhibited and toured worldwide. In addition to the long-term project, a/political continues to acquire artworks for its collection. Based in London and with The Foundry, France.