Conspire presents Monopoly


Conspire is 47/49′s own bimonthly event that uses arts to shed fresh light on political issues.

On May 1st we hosted the second event in the series, asking artists and contributors to respond to the theme of ‘Mono/Poly’We selected three artists from the public IdeasTap brief, and chose our own expert speakers to present informative and entertaining interpretations of the concept. The event touched on distribution of wealth, ownership of property, colonialism and the privatisation of healthcare.

Speakers and performers

Luke Hildyard, High Pay Centre. Luke introduced our audience to his work and the economics that dominate our increasingly unequal society. The High Pay Centre‘s work essentially argues that ‘growth’ or ‘progress’ is created collectively and that the rewards should be shared relatively equally (poly) whereas the dominant ‘free’ market narrative is that a small pool of ‘wealth creators’ bestow prosperity on the rest of thanks to their own individual brilliance and they deserve a vastly higher share of the proceeds as a consequence (mono).

Shameela Beeloo, untitled photographic series. Shameelma is a documentary photographer based in East London. She shared her photographs of the regeneration in East London, (Canning Town, Custom House) and presented a short talk on the area and related social issues. Shameela’s work relates to Mono/Poly as it documents the contrast between ‘One’ – corporate authorities, and ‘The Rest’ – the normal people, experiencing life under ‘Mono’ decisions.

Peter Robbins, former City of London metal trader. Peter spent 30 years trading commodities in the City, and then went on to work on United Nation’s projects in African agriculture. He has also worked for campaigns to make global trading a fairer practice. Peter told a bizarre and amusing story about his battle with the aluminium monopoly of the 1970’s. The story illustrated the ways in which financial and commodity markets work, their absurdities and contradictions.

Clay Theatre, Blooms. Clay Theatre had the audience on the edge of their seat with an extremely tense and bizarre play, set in a job interview like no other. Horizon Enterprises deal in the commodity of ‘Originality’. It seeks single, unique, original (MONO) ideas to dominate and control society. Think Facebook or Google, advertising your uniqueness to sell to all. (POLY). Clay Theatre and Film is a London based ensemble of actors, writers and directors.

David Evans, Visual Artist and Choreographer. David’s spectacular dance piece was created for five performers, and addressed colonialism and the effect shifting borders have on an area’s people groups. The dancers drew chalk on the floor to represent the carving up of nations. The idea was to create a status quo and show how the dancers and their relationships with one another are affected by an ever expanding, collapsing, shifting and dividing space. The piece served as an artistic insight into what happens on a political level when larger nations divide up or absorb more vulnerable nations.

Dr David Misselbrook, former NHS GP. Dr Misselbrook is a GP trainer and former Dean of the RSM. He gave a shocking history of healthcare, focussing particularly on the gradual privatisation of the NHS. Dr Misselbrook argued that as health is not a commodity, market forces cannot and should not apply to it.