A History of The Tunnel

 

The Tunnel is an arts group I co-founded a few years ago now, this is our history compiled by Artist Mat Tudor

That’s me that is

Description

A collective based in London composed of artists, poets and theorists. Involved in exhibitions and projects in formal exhibition spaces, disused shops, garages and warehouses. Each exhibition uses either a piece of text(literature,poetry, philosophy) or film(feature, documentary) as a base and then the work orbits around this to create a structure of ideas.

History and Origins

The group was founded in October 2014 by Mathew Tudor as a gallery project based in Vyner St in Bethnal Green, London involving twelve artists engaged in experimental exhibitions. The space was also used as a meeting place to discuss art and as a working environment for some of the artists involved. There was much debate within the group as to the direction of the gallery which inevitably led to conflicts. Two opposing groups developed one that wanted a traditional gallery and the other that wanted a base for ideas. This volatile situation caused six members of the group to abandon the project. This did not destroy the morale of the remaining artists but merely hardened their resolve to continue developing their ideas and to create the platform or base that was originally proposed.
However the space was forced to close after just four brief months of existence due to the rapid redevelopment taking place in London at the time.

Second Phase

In February 2015 the remaining members of the collective (now just five people) involved themselves in a long debate as to the future. It was decided to continue as a constantly evolving collective project. The main instigators of this new phase where Mathew Tudor, Chris Paul Godber and Jessica Ballantyne. The first exhibition was to take place in March of that year entitled Nostalghia. The exhibition was designed to restore the confidence of the damaged group and prevent the dispersal of its remaining members.At regular intervals throughout the remainder of the year more exhibitions took place. During this time the group grew rapidly to a total of 31 members.

Third Phase

Manifesto’s

In September of 2015 three members of the group, Jamie Stanton, Chris Paul Godber and Mathew Tudor collaborated on a manifesto. The main thrust of the text was to be a critique of consumer culture and the development of the concept of restoring art to prominence in the 21st century. Over the course of the next few months the text went through many revisions until a final draft was ready for presentation to the group in March 2016. After a debate involving several members of the group it was agreed that the Manifesto would be a constantly evolving project with contributions from other members.
Chris Paul Godber, Mathew Tudor, Genevieve Leavold, Ashley Chapman and Jamie Stanton became the main theorists of the evolving group.

 Watch Full Manifesto here 

Fourth Phase

Politics

The results of the EU Referendum of the 23rd of June 2016 proved to be a turning point for the group. The left wing artists felt they could no longer be detached from the society they were living in, and decided to go into a more politicised direction, the beginning of this was the Hunger exhibition which was an uneasy mixture of politics and literature and to some extent reflected the cultural and political turmoil created by the proposed break from europe. It was decided that the creation of a more politicised group would be inadvisable and that the literary focus should remain intact. Political ideas could express themselves in themes rather than the motivation for each individual artist.

 

Landscapes of the Mind

During group discussions it became apparent that an extreme form of individualism was of paramount importance to us. And that art existed as a vehicle for the most pure expression of the self and it was this that was the most genuine reaction against the grey conformity of nationalism.

Otto Dix

Publications

The Tunnel publishes a zine at regular intervals throughout the year, and members also publish their own texts under The Tunnel name.

Members

Mathew Tudor
Chris Godber
Jamie Stantonian
Lauren Mele
Jessica Ballantyne
Julie Ann
Genevieve Leavold
Mark Rathmell
Robin Tomens
Jane Pearett
Alicia Roy
Mervyn Diese
Robyn Litchfield
Rebecca Smith
Elena Dimitrova
Tony Berkman
Monika Tobel
Ashley Chapman
Junko Rathmell

Exhibitions
Waterstones Gower Street. March-April 2017.
Hunger. September 2016.
Interzone. May 2016.
The Waste Land. March 2016.
Bang! November 2015.
Metamorphosis. September 2015.
The Outsider. July 2015.
Nostalghia. March 2015.
Rosetta. December 2014.
Project Space Launch. November 2014.

Current members

Mathew Tudor
Jessica Ballantyne
Chris Paul Godber
Jamie Stantonian
Alicia Roy
Monika Tobel
Mark Rathmell
Mervyn Diese
Julie Ann
Elena Dimitrova
Robyn Litchfield
Rebecca Smith
Genevieve Leavold
Matthew Randle
Lauren Mele
Tracie Angiolini
Tony Berkman
Robin Tomens
Jane Pearett
Ashley Chapman

Exhibition History

Project Space Opening. November 2014.
Rosetta. December 2014.
Nostalghia. May 2015.
The Outsider. July 2015
Metamorphosis. October 2015.
Bang. November 2015.
The Waste Land. March 2016.

IT [Experimental Prose / Writing Exercise]

A short writing exercise in steam of consciousness, written whilst listening to this

It bleeds from every corner, every rune permutates through this ether into the back of crooked eye sockets, bled black rot, insipid virus. It crawls in the flesh, cradles the anxiety. It’s everywhere, creeping shadow, death, rot, Media. Newsreader on TV, blowjob eyes, international conflicts, multiple orgasms, winking porno actresses, reptilian anthrax.

It doesn’t blink when you sleep, what need has it for sleep? It’s the crawling nether of some long forgotten chaos dream, some parasitic violent fever dream of some obscene Noir King on a throne of blades, burning bright and black for twenty eons. Perhaps it is death, perhaps it is void, emptiness, everyone has a different ‘it’, every one assigns ‘it’ a different mask.

It could find you on a cold night in New York, or lounging back in Hawaii . It doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, sexual preference or creed. It lives deep inside the Pandora’s Box of the mind – the obscene boils of the sewer Queen squealing with delight, the nether Cybernetic fuck mind, the orgies of the queer Pope, consumed and black lining of stinking anus shit.

It boars deep into it’s victim and find host, sublime anti-Christ of the imagination that few men make peace with, or even confront on any level, so they turn from this Toad Lord, on it’s throne of pestilence. It gives each man and women a mask to hide the anonymous alien of surface, spit pouring forth from mouth to free demons that dwell in man’s jet black corners, mood surface light. Death, 25th century Hedonistic death drive towards abomination.

It’s inspired millions to madness, driven thousands to just ‘follow orders’, created mounds of bodies in dust covered wastelands. Some man have called it Lucifer, it has so many names in the tongues of all, it is the broken soul of the creature known as man, searching for stability in the void of infinite space in 360 degrees of crushing void.

It sneaks up on me, I feel it breathe on my neck, feel it’s burning gaze break through membranes into the back of my brain, possess my dead soul and inspire words of blasphemy, inspire a craven image or two, driven to visions of absolute power and obscene hallucinatory megalomania. Demon Burgle laughing on throne of basking bone. Cerberus and cackling hen.

It can be anything, it can be anywhere, any place, everyplace. It does not matter to it, the it-ness is in everything, detached dead eye of Nebulous – a chapel of Bone engraved in human memory, a plague of the death of reason, the opening to the nexus of unbridled violence, the spasm of the vortex, spilling forth into the organic cage of reality. A thousand rolling eyes of surveillance in an endless twisting internal maze.

It’s here now. Can’t you feel it? There in the corner, grinning widely, an invisible grin that hides the malice of centuries, the grin that goaded Christ to accept his fate on the cross, and tempted Eve with the Apple of seeing, it cackles at your failure, exalts when you fall, sniggers when you crash, delights in your suffering. Beast, Man, Woman, Fall.

It is inside you, face it or wait for it’s inevitable crush, there is no middle ground on this one. Until you stare into the depths of yourself, you will remain blind wondering in the Desert, Blinking for a memory of Sun.

It is whatever you assign it to be.
Fear. Death. Sex. Art. Choice.
Choose wisely.