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The Barricades




Comments by Ian Milliss
February 2006

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In the years before Victoria Street I had been considering the fact that most, if not all, the contents of art museums had not been produced as art in the sense of "artefacts manufactured for sale in the art market". Most had an earlier more utilitarian life and I had reached the conclusion that I would never again produce solely for the art world, that whatever I did should have a more immediate usefulness even if it might eventually end up in a museum. 

The Victoria Street barricades became, for me, an example of this approach because in many ways they were utilitarian sculptures although fairly unsuccessful as events proved. Had I been an Art & Language member I would have written an incomprehensible theoretical paper about this, but my more activist inclinations led me to write this parody of  an art review.

This "review" told the story of one aspect of the squat's history and contained useful information about how not to build barricades yet it also gently satirised the art world and the uselessness of the products that it produced.

Hopefully my copy of  "The City Squatter" containing this article will itself one day reside in an art museum thus completing the cycle.

I have been told by friends in London that this article achieved brief world wide fame when it was reproduced widely in urban squatters publications in the UK and Europe but I have never seen any evidence of this.