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Catalogue Essay
‘Raving Without Nature’
in Elliot Fox: Idol Hands
Foolscap Editions, London

Idol Hands was published on the occasion of Elliot Fox’s solo-exhibition of the same name at Platform Southwark, curated by Hector Campbell (12 September - 03 October 2020).

The publication presents a wealth of visual references, alongside original drawings from the artist’s expanded narrative of imagery stemming from alternative means of communication such as braille, morse code and sign language.

In response to the exhibition, I was invited to write an essay that explores the history and social influence of dance music and rave culture, a subculture that features prominently in Elliot’s continued artistic investigation of Britain’s post-industrial history.

Idol Hands is finished with a silkscreen printed cover using reflective ink and is available in either a red or blue colourway.

Edition of 250
Designed by George Hatton
Produced by Daniel Fletcher
Published by Foolscap Editions
Printed in London, 2020
︎︎︎ Purchase from Foolscap Editions

Extract —

    “There is indeed something arcane—ancient about raving; a “A “Pastoral beat of the blood” as Welsh poet Dylan Marlais Thomas once wrote. The four-to-the-floor kicks, phosphorescent strings and toffee-like continuas of bass, overlaid with the ethereal yet bubbling orgasma of abstracted feminine moans. The pulse. The organic world is filled with rhythms and energies: the entropic rotation from Summer to Winter Solstice, the ebb and flow of rivers, landscapes and ecosystems. A life-cycle of desolation and rebirth; sex, intensity and death. For millennia we have engaged in practices of collective effervescence—attuning ourselves to the rhythms of life and to anonymous forces. We make ritual, dance and sacrifice. Connect with the Other—the abject feeling that one is surrounded and penetrated by other entities: solar radiation, viruses, stomach bacteria, parasites or mitochondria—not to mention other humans.

    Raving is an uncanny and eerie experience of ‘Nature’—of the Other, the not-present. And why is it disturbing? Because you are already living on more than one timescale, through more than one organism, mode of perception or language. Where many have successfully pointed beyond the individual in moments of collective ritual—moments when society produces sacredness—these are all too frequently attributed to a ‘higher power’ or transcendent force—to God, the subject or history. Raving goes beyond this—it is the dawning realisation of the human species: that they are in fact, and always have been, part of—and inside of—something larger than themselves. Something alive. Something imperceivable. Something truly terrifying. 120bpm: the average heartbeat of a developed foetus inside it’s mother’s womb.”

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