Something Nation: Radical Spaces of Performance in Linton Kwesi Johnson and Cris Cheek
In reading together the poetry and lyrics of British-Caribbean “dub poet” Linton Kwesi Johnson (who goes by the acronym LKJ)1 and the genre-defying texts and performances of interdisciplinary UK poet cris cheek,2 I propose a site of contact between two distinct creative projects. Both are based in performance and poetry, and both are grounded in opposition to the repressive Thatcher social agenda of the late 1970s through its aftermath in the 1990s. My discussion of the two artists rejects the normative perspective of the Eurocentric avant-garde and looks toward social and political conditions of rupture and fragmentation in contemporary Britain to indicate ways each artist’s work reimagines nation, community, and audience. In the work of each, the larger cultural and political context motivates the use of disruptive techniques, even as the aim or direction of their work is to engage with and appeal to popular audiences. Both cheek and Johnson reflect the interests of underrepresented audiences and encourage nonalienated public sphere participation.
KeywordsSocial Space Pedestrian Movement Police Brutality Disruptive Technique Popular Audience
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