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NTU Sustainability in Enterprise

Under Cover Artist: Displaced/Replaced

16 August 18 interview: Alex Kuster

From Donald Trump being held hostage on Derby Road, to glitched-out riot police down Sneinton Market, there’ve been a few paste-ups appearing around the city of late. We managed to pin down the person responsible for the political artwork across Nottingham, and got ‘em to do a cover for us. Here, Displaced/Replaced talks about what inspires them, and why they’re questioning the system through art...

How did you get started?
I guess it was after the Iraq war protests; I just wanted to say something. I’m not a trained artist so there’s no formal background, but I use Photoshop a lot. I break the images through the code and binary systems to use as templates and play about with. I’ve always been interested in the nineties glitch aesthetic, industrial music, punk and VCR. People used to smack TV sets with a bad reception to fix them, and that’s the analogy I use for my work. People say my stuff is dystopian and apocalyptic, but has elements of hope in there. There needs to be a balance, though. I’ve had some hate for the Trump piece.

What are you trying to say?
It’s about police brutality, the environment, and refugees in crisis. I’m exploring and addressing the glitches in society. Sometimes in my work, the stuff that isn’t glitched doesn’t need to be fixed; I’ll leave the innocent parties alone and target the power structures. With one of the riot police pieces, I put images of Rodney King and other people who’ve suffered as a result of police brutality on the front of their shields. Once, I saw an image from the Ukraine of some little old ladies protesting by holding up mirrors to the police. I really like the idea of turning the blame back onto them.

How do people react to your work?
Someone has written all over my paste-up on Derby Road. It’s really interesting; they’ve written the name of some solicitor based in The Park area. I wondered if they’d completely misinterpreted it. It’s great when people like the work, but I get more of a kick when someone reacts negatively. I’ve had death threats online, people have said they’re going to report me to the CIA, and that I’ve committed treason against the Royal Family. I’m building up a little bank of comments to use at some stage. If I’m pissing people off like that, I’m doing something right.
Tell us about your LeftLion cover...
It was one of the first times I’ve had to think about the audience rather than an issue. The main photo is from the Mayday March in Nottingham three years ago, then there’s the Robin Hood statue, and then the Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station at the bottom. Nottingham has a history of rebels and I wanted to remember that.

What’s next for you?
I’ll be working with a radical art collective in America. I really want to do billboards; I’ve got my eye on one that’s not been touched. I’m also involved with ConSic International, a collective that puts out art with a message, but anonymously. Their manifesto says that if you’re dissatisfied with their work, you should get involved. They seep in to different cities and challenge the status quo through philosophy, art and poetry. It’s about taking that collective responsibility to shake things up a bit.

Displaced/Replaced website

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