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George Barber
Not least, there's the copyright impossibility of marketing his Scratch work, challenging the emergent market-led Brit-art scene that now seems a model expansion of the Thatcherite project directly into culture, vanguarded of course by her ad-man Saatchi.

In such a climate, presenting one's work as a direct index of one's financial vulnerability would seem to most to be deliriously off-message. But Scratch was never motivated by that. The philosophical core seems to be closer to the ebbs and flows of wider contemporary historical and political thought. The undermining of grand narratives - here represented by the story arcs of Hollywood product - in favour of personal micro-fables, hymns to detail that redirect possibility or, explicitly oppositional now, highlight, via the tic-gesturing of characters trapped in manipulated trajectories they are fated never to escape, that modern life is a more or less controlled environment ripe for rupture or, worse(!) even recording over, seems a central, if surfacely undeclared objective.

Here, Barber's childhood poles of experience unite to manifest as one in his output. Scratch offers a Carnival parade of images, where the holding of power briefly changes, becomes democratised and diverse. Rhythmic, electric-hued, passing from the street to onward gaze, the Carnival becomes resistance, first by simply being and only then, once it has been experienced, by how it can be read. Scratch is about reclaiming lost control - individually, collectively, artistically, ethically. About taking the means of production to change what the production means. About the reprioritisation of forces. In this sense, Scratch makes a utopian proposal.

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