About this project
Exist to Resist is a social history book of born out of a love for UK's rave, sound system, and festival culture. It is a photographic celebration of community gathering and grass roots democratic activism in images made between 1989 and 1997.
In the early 1990s, the UK Government finally decided to legislate against the popularity of raves, protest, free parties and festivals after over a decade of targeting that social phenomenon for persecution.
After over a decade and a half of Conservative government a great culture of resistance and opposition had arisen and become embedded within British society. Acid house and rave served as the musical soundtrack that united all of those disparate sub-cultural tribes in one mission; to gather, dance and celebrate together for free.
It is now 23 years since Government acted to prohibit and enclose that cultural freedom in law and it is time to tell that story from the inside. It is often said that history is written by the dominant forces in any particular situation, but with Kickstarter crowdfunding and digital social networking that is no longer the case.
As the 1994 legislation approached, an ordinary group of friends drawn from my West Country home and from my art college coalesced with a common creative goal and in the early 90's we all moved to Bristol, a party city fertile with the spirit of counterculture, art and music.
Collectively we decided that it was our social and political responsibility to oppose that legislation in any way possible, in order to stand up for and perpetuate a culture that we had known and loved. As we followed this path we inexorably intersected with history. Exist to Resist is a document of that process and of the community which we became part of. It is a before, during and after testament to the years that created our modern festival industry.
All the images in Exist To Resist were shot on film using a Nikkormat 35mm totally manual camera and a Rolleiflex twin lens reflex. Images are rare from this culture at this point in time. People with cameras were generally regarded with suspicion because of undercover infiltration by authority and the outsider nature of what was a uniquely democratic social phenomenon.
When I began to document the culture that I loved the digital camera revolution had not yet taken place. My intention was to bear witness to this culture and to provide a positive personal truth in order to counter mass media and political representation of the lowest kind. Skint and mostly on the dole I traveled the country during these times doing exactly that.
Every picture clearly tells a story but the book will also contain two initial essays together with accompanying short stories to set the images in context and relate some the experiences that occurred during their making which have distinct contemporary relevance. It will finish with a post script.
For quite a number of years these images have been freely shared on my Facebook page, which has a consistent audience of 5000. The aim of this has been to gather information, research, background knowledge, and the experience of others involved at the events depicted within the images. When this Kickstarter is launched I will delete those images and they will only be available to view in the pages of this book.
The action of time on these images is crucially important. In the years since the criminalisation and enclosure of this culture, it has become the UK's most successful creative industry and most sought after marketing platform during massive recession and austerity.
British summertime is now filled with legal, licensed festivals attended by hundreds of thousands of people, many of which have become treasured iconic events in our annual calendar, generating huge economic revenue and cultural capital. The vast increase in demand for and participation in festival culture, coupled with current developments in licensing and legislation makes now the right time to publish.
It is no coincidence that the dominant market leaders in the industry are now mostly owned by huge multinational corporations in a complete reversal of the initial festival model. We also live in a new era of big data and previously unimaginable levels of digital surveillance and intrusion into the lives of ordinary people. It was not always this way.
The book will be hard back, 224 pages, just over A4 in size beautifully gravure printed on cotton rich archival acid free parchment. This a treatment designed to make the lofi into hifi. A treatment that will pay homage to diy publishing in appearance while at the same time as elevating the subject matter and object out of the realms of a mere style bible into something more worthy.
"I first became aware of Matt’s unique photography during the time that the Criminal Justice Bill was being debated in Parliament in 1993, in my capacity as a music journalist concerned about the Bill’s repercussions for the dance music industry. Matt isn’t someone who occasionally touristed in the counter-culture — he has lived and breathed it for a lifetime. I hope that lots of people support this project." Carl Loben, Editor, DJ Magazine Jan 2017
We will launch this Kickstarter on Friday 27th of January 2017. This is the anniversary of the very first Freedom to Party rally in Trafalgar Square in 1990. It will run until Friday 10th March 2017.
We will aim to release the book on May Day 2017. This is the 23rd anniversary of the first of the three huge national demonstrations that took place in London in 1994 against the legislation to outlaw dance music, which were echoed by similar marches in every major city around the country
On Mayday 23 years ago we drove some 10k of sound system on a lorry from Bristol to London to play in Trafalgar Square as part of that carnival demonstration. As the speakers finished in the Square we got the signal to turn the music on. The crowd turned round as one with a roar of approval like a football crowd at the scoring of a goal.
It was a life changing moment, one that illustrated the power of dance music to unite and create community. It was also the start of a summer when the streets of London repeatedly rang out with music characterised by a succession of repetitive beats populated by vast crowds that came to dance their protest to them.
We will be lodging this book as a reference title with The British Library, Trinity College Dublin and also with the private House of Commons Library in the Parliament building of the Palace of Westminster.
We will also send complimentary copies to every photography degree course library as an educational resource. Should we over achieve our funding goal by a big enough margin we will expand this remit to include every art college and major university in the country. We would also like to have the ability to give the book away at some of our major festivals.
There are plans for an immersive launch event for the work in the pipeline, the exact details of which of which will remain undisclosed for reasons of creative secrecy.
Money will also go into funding the pre-production for a British independent drama documentary feature film that begins with The Battle of the Beanfield, the narrative for which Matt has been writing for the last year.
Bumper Sticker Pack:
Two packs of 5 Special Edition Mattko stickers featuring 5 images from Exist to Resist and 5 Exist to Resist graphics plus a Virtual "Whats Your Name?"
Exist To Resist Zine:
A curated compilation of Matthew's work shot over the last 25 years, Exist to Exist Zine follows his incredible journey through Rave culture, Free Parties, Festivals and Protests.
Printed on 100gsm uncoated matt paper, with red saddle stitch binding.
Plus Bumper Double Sticker Pack featuring 5 images from Exist to Resist and 5 Exist to Resist graphics. Plus a Virtual "Where You From?? What Are You On???"
Exist to Resist Vote With Your Feet Compilation:
Curated by Sunnyside's Rowland The Bastard, many of the artists whose tunes became the music of the times depicted in Exist to Resist have come together in support of this project to provide a musical soundtrack to take you back...Smokescreen Soundsystem, DiY Soundsystem, Spiral Tribe, Chris Liberator, Geezer, Dave The Drummer, Desert Storm Soundsystem, Lawrie Immersion, Gizelle and Rowland The Bastard...
Break It Sunnyside Free Party Mix:
Recorded live by Matt on DAT out of the back of a Transit at Free Party in a field somewhere in the West Country of England during the summer of 95, Sunnyside DJ JenJen brings you Break It...totally original and brilliant breaks from our very own pioneer First Lady of the Decks from a time when there weren't very many girls behind them.
Digital C-Type Prints:
30 x 40cm C-Type Prints on Fuji Crystal Matt Archive Paper
1. One Man Alone
2. Reclaim the Streets
4. Won't be Told
5. Reclaim the Streets 2
6. Spring Fayre Sunday
All prints signed & embossed with authenticating stamp.
Mattko Limited Edition Hoodie:
Mattko Limited Edition T-Shirt:
Printed on Gildan Heavy Cotton, 100% cotton. Available in sizes XS, S, M, L, and XL.
Unique 1/1 Archival 16 x 12 Silver Gelatin Prints Hand Made in a Darkroom by the Artist:
Signed, dated, 1 of 1, utterly unique handmade darkroom print by the artist. Archival vintage 16 x 12 silver gelatin print on fibre based paper embossed with authenticated alongside a personalised hand written Thank You message.
Operation Solstice Film:
12 Minute Teaser
This amazing 48 min film by our project collaborators is the story of how the great Stonehenge People's Free Festival was violently shut down in 1985. The film links the policing of that event to the policing of the Miners Strike. Our intention is to offer a significant moment in festival history that gives context to the work in Exist to Resist.
Salon Fine Dining Experience:
For our final reward along with all the goodies we would like to extend an extremely special invitation to 23 very special people to attend an extremely fine dining experience in style of a "salon" gathering of minds, conviction and imagination to discuss and network ideas provoked by the book in order to help influence the future of culture, entertainment and freedom.
Sometimes its not enough to just make history, sometimes it is necessary to work out how to create it for generations to come. Art is not a mirror with which to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it. That is the purpose of this reward. The event will be held at a mutually convenient location and at a mutually convenient date. This reward will only work in the way that we want it to if we manage to convene an assembly of 23. We very much hope that we will do so.
In order to make the creation of this particular bit of history happen we would very much like to credit the generous collaboration of the following artists and organisations in the making of Exist To Resist:
Major league props go out to Jon Swinstead and Jamie Brett, my partners at YOUTH CLUB, without whose encouragement and collaboration this project would never have Existed to Resist. YOUTH CLUB is a not-for-profit organisation working to preserve, share, educate and celebrate youth culture history through a passionate network of photographers and creatives.
Film: Annabel Allison/WaxFilms http://bit.ly/2kmGq3v
Film Soundtrack: Joey Beltram: http://bit.ly/2knMc15
Music Consultants: Pete Whoosh (DiY), Rowland The Bastard
Operation Solstice Download:
Neil Goodwin Director: http://bit.ly/2jlZ75J
Break It Free Party Mix - JenJen: http://bit.ly/2jU1ehZ
Exist To Resist Music Compilation Download:
Rowland The Bastard: http://bit.ly/2kcK0tX
Dave The Drummer: http://bit.ly/2jXww7Y
Chris Liberator: http://bit.ly/2kcQd92
Lawrie Immersion: http://bit.ly/2knTcel
Desert Storm: http://bit.ly/2knT6TO
Spiral Tribe: SP23 Crystal Distortion: http://bit.ly/2kp423A
Risks and challenges
The images are already made. The scans are also made. The ideas for the writing have been fully formed in my imagination for a very long time and simply need articulating and editing to make good reading in a graphically interesting way.
The money raised will cover the paper cost and print run, production of the rewards, the design and art direction, distribution, packaging, and all other costs except for the years of time and commitment taken to make the work that will form the substance of the book.
The print run will be a self published initial run of 1000 copies.
There is an amazing team of partners behind the book who have a lot of experience in creating brilliantly realized print projects from concept to delivery.
The great people at YOUTH CLUB are committed to handling publishing, production, print, distribution and fulfilment. They recently successfully ran a Kickstarter to produce "The Subculture Diary"
YOUTH CLUB is a not-for-profit organisation working to preserve, share, educate and celebrate youth culture history through a passionate network of photographers and creatives. We celebrate youth culture through curated events, exhibitions, collaborations and consultancy. At YOUTH CLUB, we believe in the power of youth culture heritage as a catalyst for creativity, self expression and connecting communities. We have observed a continual and growing demand for youth culture to be preserved, shared and ultimately celebrated - connecting the past, present and future generations. YOUTH CLUB works towards its goal to open the world’s first Museum of Youth Culture in London.
We now have a new designer to take us through the final stages of the design of the book and into print. He has an enormous amount of experience in successful book design and concept realisation of the highest creative order.
You can see Patrick Fry's website here: http://www.patrickfry.co.uk/
Consequently it is safe to say that the risks and challenges are minimal.
As with many kickstarters, the greatest risk is not reaching the funding target.
We hope to achieve over funding of the target level so that we can increase the print run and our ability to give away free copies. The next objective will be to create an immersive launch exhibition, the exact details of which will be available nearer the time for reasons of creative secrecy...Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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