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I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse (for art)

blowupthepalace
original image by Nigel Swales, poorly remixed by me, shared with some rights reserved

“Every morning when I awake I ask myself whether I should write or blow up a dam. I tell myself I should keep writing, though I’m not sure that’s right” — Derrick Jensen

I Want to Blow Up the Palace of Holyroodhouse (for art)
Phase 1: Public Performance Research
Forest Café, 141 Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh
Wednesday 9th October, 3-7pm

I want to blow up the Palace of Holyroodhouse. I am a republican, and I believe in the equitable distribution of resources for life including land and housing, and I believe in the destruction of the kyriarchy through radical militant action. For all of these reasons, whenever I walk past the Palace of Holyroodhouse I involuntarily become indescribably furious and start fantasising about blowing it up. However, I am frankly terrified of the consequences this would have on my life, and think it probably wouldn’t be worth it. Therefore, I’ve decided that I will instead, in a symbolic action, blow up a scale model of the Palace in the name of art.

I Would Like to Blow Up the Palace... is a performance about rage, politics, the limitations of art and activism, and discovering what the state can do to you. The performance consists of the three phases: (1) the active period of research involved in figuring out how to build a scale model of Holyroodhouse and then legally blow it up, which will take place in public, preferably in arts venues; (2) the actual blowing up of the model Palace; (3) a performance lecture about how and why I did it and what happened.

Because I already have a police file on me (one arrest without charge, details recorded at three subsequent protests, subject to Forward Intelligence Team surveillance many times), I am quite worried about the possible repercussions of stating publicly that I want to blow up the Palace of Holyroodhouse (for art), even if it’s just the model, and also about what will happen when I bring together the materials required to do the thoroughly-researched legal explosion. I will therefore be publicly declaring in advance each period of active research, including all explosives-related internet searches, and conducting all such work in public should anyone decide to investigate. It remains to be seen whether this will work. (Obviously, this is perhaps less about paranoia and more a way to perform the limitations of art and create a discussion about legality, surveillance, symbolic action and effective protest. But still.)

I’m inaugurating Phase 1 this week at the Forest Café, Edinburgh. From 3-7pm I will be present with a laptop and a pile of flipchart paper. I will be researching how, practically and legally, to make a small explosive, build a model palace, put them together, and then detonate it somewhere in public. All interactions and monitoring efforts are welcome. I hope you’ll see me there, even if I don’t see you.

If you have access to space in an arts venue and would like me to research bomb-making in your space, please get in touch.

This post is the first public statement about the project following two emails and a handful of conversations. I will be recording all documentary evidence, up to an including my private thoughts on the matter, in an auto-surveillance dossier in order to spare the public purse. Please note that all comments and mentions of this post will thus be monitored for monitoring purposes.

3 Comments»

  Johnni Stanton wrote @

17 pounds of Semtex
Half a mile of wireflex
Lots of police to swerve
And a lot of bloody nerve!
Strategically well placed
The joint should be cased
I would like to assist you
But it’s better if I missed you!

  Dave wrote @

I assume you don’t have a problem destroying the 800 years of history that this place holds for Edinburgh & Scotland? It probably be easier to assassinate a royal for forest cafe hipster to get anywhere near this joint.

  Harry Giles wrote @

Dear Dave,

I have many problems with the idea of destroying 800 years of history, yes. I tend to think that almost everything I do is in some way problematic, dangerous or stupid. And I certainly think most political action is full of compromise and risk. I’m really interested in what different buildings mean to different people, and how they can become magnets for emotion; I’m also interested in what happens when buildings get demolished and why, whether that’s council mandate, business redevelopment, or terrorist action. I think whenever a building gets destroyed a lot of important stuff tends to happen: in many ways, the repeated destruction of buildings is something that defines contemporary urban life.

Fortunately, the model of the Palace I will be building and demolishing will have only a year or so of history, and so I don’t expect many people to put up too much of a fuss.

Thank you so much for your comment,

Harry


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