Stoke the fabric.
Stoke the fabric.
Grant Cieciura’s art practice as interference pierces public realms and media channels, confusing the boundary between art, performance and “real life”. He inhabits changing avatars to evade capture—Mr Gold, Fluuuid Face, GLyFFMaN—and performs a rupture in the fabric of our daily lives.
When we create a rupture, we create an opening to the outside. For a brief moment, we reclaim abstraction before it is co-opted. That feels liberating. Because we live in a system where everything is captured eventually. Captured aesthetics. Captured subjectivities.
In 2019, Mr Gold taunted traders in London’s financial district during an autonomous direct action under the Extinction Rebellion (XR) banner. Cieciura paraded the streets in a suit wearing a giant gold bull’s head—a performative provocation alluding to the irrationality that underpins extractive industries and an infinite growth model.
In 2023, GLyFFMaN (a counter-complicit libidinal agent) launched the streetwear clothing brand Janky Drops. GLyFFMaN used a PA system and roused a crowd into a giveaway frenzy outside Urban Outfitters in Brighton’s Churchill Square Shopping Centre. Despite the relative obscurity of the brand, crowds of people were consumed by the hypebeast, pulling all the x25 limited edition Tees from the rail in a matter of seconds. Always shifting and switching modalities. The game of evade and capture is in constant play. But the central dilemma remains—can semiotic-libidinal technics be used to counter-engineer and unhinge capital’s “monopoly on desire”*?
As a trained graphic designer he understands his own complicity. There is no neutral position, he says. It was something Cieciura felt from day one of his undergraduate degree, however, it wasn’t until many years later he could articulate these proto-impressions. One way he has learned to come to terms with this conflict is to embed the principles of graphic design and semiotic theory within his art practice as his toolkit for reorientation.
Branding is one of the most effective weapons in Capitalism’s arsenal in the war over our desires. What if we could use the same tactics to reorient ourselves? To become more reflexive about these captured desires?
He describes his art practice as “holding the mirror up to the bizarreness of it all” and credits cultural theorists Mark Fisher and Foucault for the term “outsight”† to describe this position. Outsight, Cieciura says, reveals to us the contingency and fluidity of a given system. Once we take an outside thought-position then we can begin to articulate alternatives.
Mark Fisher’s seminal text Capitalist Realism provides the critical political backbone driving Cieciura’s art practice; to release the subject from the toxicity of neoliberal subjection—hyper individualisation, thought constriction/capitalist mediation, libidinal suppression—to a new orientation. Cieciura understands that any art practice claiming to release us from such a pervasive system is delusory, and states that he is not making this claim. He is concerned with reflexivity and reorientation—reorientation away from consumptive desire to something else. That “something else” is up for grabs, it is an invitation to explore what we want outside the fear > consume loop.
Product drop at Churchill Square Shopping Centre Brighton.