Jimmy Cauty: AdpRiotTour


Jesse Holliland reviews the AdpRiotTour, an installation created by artist Jimmy Cauty which was on show at Devonport Guildhall from 20 – 26 August 2016.

On a disused corner of land in Devonport, squeezed between 3 Grade I listed landmark buildings, a very urban looking shipping container appeared.

From the 19 – 26 August Devonport is home to the AdpRiotTour installation that is currently on a touring the UK. The exhibition is exclusively visiting areas that have been the sites of historic riots such as the Devonport Bread Riot of 1801, the Battle of the Beanfield in Colderton 1985 and the 1990 Poll Tax riot in Trafalgar square; it will visit 36 locations in total, finishing on Christmas day in Bedford on the site of the 2012 Football riot and (according to the programme) the 2016 Christmas Day Armageddon.

The facade of the huge shipping container is a work of art itself, a story of the places it’s been; plastered with graffiti, messages of love, political views, art, and humorous messages from all of its 26 previous locations. As you look closer you can see that the container is also peppered with brass eyelets like steam punk monocles, and as your natural curiosity encourages you to peek in to those little holes you realise there is much more hidden inside this shipping container than the art of it’s exterior!

Within that container is a Lilliputian dystopia, a tiny world just a few steps further down the road of self-destruction than our own. The Aftermath Dislocation Principle is a 1:87 scale dystopian cityscape; populated primarily by 3000 tiny policemen and accompanying media crews. Peeking through the tiny round windows into their world you see hundreds of neon yellow clusters and broken windows. The glare of miniscule street lamps illuminate tiny police officers who stand by burnt out cars, looted buildings and general scenes of desolation, somehow the diminutive scale of the events making the destruction seem more humorous than distressing. Some of that emotional distance could also be attributed to the viewing style; the tiny holes are placed around the 4 sides of the container at various heights, some in pairs and some alone but none of which allows you to see the entire scene. The viewer is offered restricted snapshots from specific angles, an analogy perhaps for the way in which the media manipulates the populaces viewpoints of our own world events?

ADP#1 was previously exhibited as part of Banksy’s “Dismaland” in 2015 and is now touring 36 other historic riot sites around the UK and Scotland. Having this work come to Plymouth was a real opportunity and hopefully will serve as a marker for future decisions around how the city imports art. This Socially engaged, public art being installed in the heart of a developing community which straddles a line between deprivation and gentrification as it journeys through regeneration is a bold (and much needed) move away from the unknown and obscure contemporary art which is imported and trapped within the inapproachable gallery.

ADP#1 in Plymouth was supported by The Arts Council, Devonport Guildhall and the Real Ideas Organisation.