ACT 02084, 2016


Digitally-printed wallpaper and framed screenprint, 87 x 87cm


ACT 02084 adopts the semiotics of the ubiquitous airline safety card,  using its comic-like visual form to tell a specific and true story of  collective resistance. Mirza and Butlers practice aligns with activist  politics, highlighting the ways in which we are all interconnected and  complicit in one anothers lives, and holds a space for suppressed  voices, histories and knowledge. Their focus is on making withdrawal  visible, facilitating and acknowledging individual and collective  agency. The wallpaper behind again, developed by the artists in Sydney  using digitally-scanned hand-drawn imagery shows the ancient symbol of  the uroboros, a snake or dragon eating its own tail, associated with  notions of self-reflexivity, renewal and cyclicality. The uroboros has  been described in Jungian psychology in archetypal terms as a  representation of the pre-ego dawn state the undifferentiated infancy  experience of all humankind.

image18

Letter to the Left, 2016
ink on paper

Letter to the left draws on Ursula Le  Guins utopian sci-fi novel of 1974, The Dispossessed, by etxnding an invitation to join Anarres, a planet with no government or economic system. Shevek is the books  protoganist who travels between the two and who reappears in Mirza and  Butlers Museum. 


ACT 01788, 2016
digitally-printed wallpaper and ink on paper


Shevek resurfaces in the narrative of ACT 01788, intermingled with  Silvia Federicis  formative 2004 study, Caliban and the Witch, which examines the body  and, in particular, womens bodies, in relationship to the transition  from feudal to capitalist society. The ground for this work is a bespoke  colonial wallpaper created by the artists  which depicts a repeat pattern of hand-drawn imagery relating to local  and global incidents of protest and resistance. Gleaned from a wide  range of historical and artistic sources, images include a 1969  remonstration in front of the Chicago Federal Building by the Womens  International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.); an image of  rose-shooting guns by street artist Shepard Fairey, itself appropriating  a 1968 propaganda poster from the Chinese Cultural Revolution; the  mythological harpy, a rapacious half-woman, half-bird monster whose name  has come to refer to mean, nagging or predatory females; children  jumping off the wharves at Woolloomooloo; iconic first contact imagery;  and the International Monument that celebrates migration and the  multi-ethnic community of Fairfield.

image27

This series consists of real advice and propositions for protesters (Shoes that make  it easy to run and move quickly; Scarf to protect your mouth and lungs  from tear gas) overlaid with the artists graphic interventions that  translate Arabic phonemes the building blocks of spoken words into  idiosyncratic choreographic and musical scores. These layers of the real  and the imagined, combine to create an absurdist manifesto,  highlighting the difficulties of participation and non-participation  alike.

image32

Lit up in neon, You are the Prime Minister becomes an empowering  invitation to take up the title role in a fantasy fiction. The statement  is the start of a longer question drawn from a real scholarship exam  for thirteen-year-old boys entering Eton College, an elite school that  educated 19 of Britains prime ministers and 12 members of the current  government. In response to this question, each young candidate is  required to argue for the necessary and moral use of military force  against civilian protesters, at his command. The examination question  was leaked to the public by activists in 2011, the same year that riots  spread across the UK in response to the fatal shooting of 29-year-old  Mark Duggan by police investigating gun crime in the black community.

image39

The Museum of Non Participation sign  acts both as a verb and a noun, a doing and a naming of the temporary  and nomadic site of this Museum. Text as image, image as text, text as  action. The sign invokes a language of resistance that questions our  paradoxical, contemporary condition of participation and withdrawal. Its  literal reading juxtaposes the Roman English and popular Urdu  translation larta lucki ka ajib ghar, which when translated  back into English reads: "the house of the unexpected. Thus hidden  within both the language and the sign itself is praxis of intervention  and disruption.

image43

This work made for the Walker Arts  Centre is based on four UN Resolutions on Iraq dated 1990(x2), 2002 and  2003. Each Resolution is one sentence, and each is significant not just  in their claims and content, but also in their voice, grammar, sense of  authority, and rule under law. Liberty is a founding and legitimising  principle of the United States and liberalism in the U.S is a whole way  of being and thinking. It is a type of relation between the governors  and the governed, and there has never been a more concentrated vision of  contemporary U.S. neo-liberal utopia than Bremers 100 orders in Iraq.  These laws were put in place by the Bush administration who attempted to  force more wrenching changes in one sweletering summer than the IMF has  managed to enact over three decades in Latin America. These orders are  core beliefs of the Neo-Conservatives and in this concentrated form it  can be seen how far U.S liberal values have shifted from Roosevelt's  Works Project Administration (which is a key part of the Walker Arts  Centre history) to a vision of the Free Market.  

Whilst Bremers  Orders are the exclamation point in this work, the multiple marginalia  on each Resolution go beyond the known facts as to how Iraq is being  erased, implicating these UN resolutions as a script authored by the  Deep State. That term is widely used in Turkey to address the largely  covert state within the state that utilises violence and other means of  pressure to manipulate political and economic elites, and to ensure  specific interests are satisfied within a seemingly democratic political  framework


52 pages. Typed, Pencil and ink

image58

The Government Art Collection  showcases British art in Government buildings including Downing Street,  the Home Office and British Embassies and Residences in nearly every  capital city across the world, and this is the first exhibition  dedicated to this collection held in a public gallery in its 113 year  history. This 2011 exhibition entitled At Work is curated by seven  public figures: Lord Boateng, Nick Clegg, Samantha Cameron, Lord  Mandelson, Dame Anne Pringle, Sir John Sawers and Ed Vaizey.  [The  Government Art Collection: At Work Exhibition Catalogue]

Here  the Museum of Non Participation effaces the official exhibition  catalogue for the Whitechapels 2011 exhibition At Work. Covering up all  information about the artworks and leaving only the commentary by the  public figures intact, this act of concealment intervenes to reveal the  complex conditions within, and precarity of power and labour, that  surround and permeate, the arts. It foregrounds the social relations and  apparatus behind the distribution, ownership and purchasing of works  and state responsibility to art. Shown here in dialogue with a pamphlet  protesting the Whitechapel exhibition, the double-paradox of economic  laundering is ushered forth.

image63

The Autonomous object 2007

Over 35 performances with passerby’s set in India and Pakistan. This object contains an invitation to interpret the work in response to: the changing site of each exhibition | the perceived thinking behind the work | and the screens, surfaces and props in each performance. Each film performance returns to the Modernist concerns within ‘Mirror Film’ by Robert Morris (1969) viewed through postmodern concerns that problematise the location of the performance and the issue of authorship.