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The Present Tense, the Dazed Brexit inspired exhibition, showing now at LN-CC, a collection of photo submissions reflecting its reader's view of life in Brexit Britain. LN-CC talks to Jack Mills, features editor at Dazed and Confused Magazine who commissioned this project. Mills talks to LN-CC about the uncertainty within Britain and how the people that seem to be the most divided about the future are the politicians. We also introduce the latest instalment of the LN-CC mix series — songs to soundtrack your Brexit. The EU Mr. Blobby character (a one-off mascot created by Rottingdean Baazar) put together a horrifying mix of cabinet members' speeches and the kinds of songs Tony Blair played at his election victory party.



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PHOTOGRAPH BY: JOYCE NG



Tell us about 'The Present Tense' exhibition.

Britain is obviously such a bizarre place to be at the moment. It has an almost medieval, carnal atmosphere about it, especially now all of the darkest corners of the internet have taken to the streets. You can read the uncertainty in people’s body language and on the surfaces of buildings. The news is basically a fever dream of angry and confused facial expressions, and the people that seem to be the most divided about the future are politicians. It was nice to respond to what is going on in a thoughtful way, and to use our platform as an outlet for people who read the magazine. We sent a call out for images that in some way tap into the atmosphere leading up to 29th March, the day the UK was scheduled to leave the EU. I then asked a few UK-born or based figures who have examined British life in their own way — from Jeremy Deller, who looks at the collective consciousness tapped into by various UK counter-culture movements, to Carole Cadwalladr, the journalist who exposed Vote Leave's electoral law violations last year — to pick their favourite image from the entries. Because figures like Carole, Anohni and Viv Albertine aren't necessarily seen as photography experts, they're able to offer refreshing perspectives on people’s work. This project also links to a piece in the forthcoming issue of Dazed, about different generations of British street photography.

Why do you think it's important for Dazed to comment on Brexit in this way?

The comment we’re making on Brexit is the concept itself. The more we learn about Vote Leave’s corrupt canvassing and how the referendum was used by the Conservative party to manoeuvre public opinion, the more Brexit feels like a complete betrayal of democracy. Offering a clear channel of discussion between established UK figures and amateur and burgeoning photographers felt like a gesture of openness and utilitarianism. For the launch party, I asked Rottingdean Bazaar (fashion designers who are fascinated by UK eccentricity) to create a mascot Mr Blobby outfit, swapping its trademark spots for the stars of the EU flag. It was a mark of solidarity with Europe and an exaggerated reflection of the chaos of Britain at this time. Blobby became a symbol of UK patriotism when New Labour and Britpop gained momentum — and in many ways, Brexit feels like the final nail in the coffin of the 1990s. The EU Blobby character put together a horrifying mix of cabinet members' speeches and the kinds of songs Tony Blair played at his election victory party.

Why did you decide to ask for art submissions from members of the public?

It stems from an interest I’ve always had in breaking in the fourth wall, reversing the role of reader and journalist. Last year, me and Bec Evans from Dazed headed up a project in collaboration with a New-York based guerrilla activist group called The Illuminator. We adapted sentiments gathered from Instagram about issues affecting the UK and projected them onto iconic buildings like the Houses of Parliament and Nelson’s Column on the night of President Trump’s first London visit. In a way, this is a similar idea because we’re offering our platform out.

What's your favourite image and why?

I like Craig Bernard’s image of the argument at Speaker’s Corner because the shadows in it feel so loud. The darkness that surrounds and invades this moment of tension says so much about the uncertainty of the UK — here, now, and on the horizon.

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LISTEN TO THE MIX

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READ THE DAZED FEATURE IN FULL

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