Thug Life, Smart Project Space, Amsterdam, 2002, Press Release.
THUG LIFE is the acronym for The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone, once etched across the stomach of the exalted dead rapper Tupac Shakur. A sort of prince of paupers, Shakur is the conflicted metaphor of buoyant hopefulness and the desperate hopelessness that marks the outer perimeters of our existance. Despite competing discourses he embraced and exposed the tragedies of the ghetto to a global audience, with a pronouncedly social and political bent. A generation of disenfranchised youth have been shaped by problems of the inner city, of relocation and growing up in poverty, simultaneously embracing destructiveness and resistance.In the effort to validate ones existence, the edifying and the terrifying pull in two different directions – one constructive and empowering, the other hedonistic and nihilistic. The exhibition departs at this intersection, with works of art that dare to wrestle with the beautiful and uneasy questions of existence and human frailty.
Mark Dean sets the precedence for the exhibition presenting a mute and chilling video work lasting 8 hours - the hours of sleep - in which paternal love and tenderness are acutely questioned and left vulnerable. Refuge is not to be found in the installation piece by Malachi Farrell, known for his didactic critique of social and political structures. A constructor of stories, he employs the use of electronic and mechanical devices to forge 'Fish Flag Mourant'. Electronic music resounds while dying mechanical fish flap on the floor amidst debris and acid. Farrell takes his audience on a journey to the edge of poisonous waters, where civilisation seeks to destroy what it once thought to be beautiful. An agonising process of waiting and incarceration is transmitted live via satellite from an empty prison cell to the exhibition space in the work of Darren Almond. Martin Healy offers his audience a video installation 'Little Devils'. Healy has isolated fragments from 3 films in which the central character is played by a male child possessed by evil powers. He has captured the moment in which each boy fixes the camera with a cold stare. In addition, the title references media rhetoric often used when describing child offenders. The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone is an eloquent reflection andartistic exploration of human survival and frailty and the vulnerability of love.