Bali isn’t exactly renowned for thought-provoking art or admirable print publications. So when those two things collided in the form of an assemblage exhibition by Neverland magazine held in the gallery space of The Slow, we pounced.
Here we talk to the man behind the work, Oliver Green, about his glammed-up peasant weapons and the dismal state of modern day self obsession.
Tell us a little more about Neverland? When did you start it and why?
NEVERLAND was started about two years ago. I just finished writing The A to Z Of Fuckin’ Everything (http://theatozoffuckineverything.com/) and I realised that if I wasn’t writing for something real I wouldn’t write good. So I started writing Neverland and asked my friends/ people I knew could write and pulled the first one together in a few days. It wasn’t like removing my molars with a hammer and – because of Balinese prices – not crazy expensive to make… so then I was away. Making real things is addictive. Holding a noun in your hands is rare these days when you’re surrounded by nothing but blogs and digital ephemera made by shit-talking easy-merchants. I was amazed how having some folded paper in my stinky hands was awakening and powerful. It was beautiful and fucking useless all at once.
Zines have along history of being counter cultural and these days it feels like the biggest ‘counter cultural’ move is to make things and then to expect nothing back from the things you have made. No deal. No followers. No job. No reality show. No subscribers. Nothing. That’s what Neverland is. A shit tonne of thought and effort for zero reward and no gain. I make about 400-500 zines per issue (depending on how much money I want to waste) and then pile them in cafes and that’s it. Nothing. I don’t even know if people read them. They probably just look at the pictures and then feed them to a goat. I have a website but only as a filing cabinet. I have no Facebook page and no Instagram. It really is an exercise in futility. Like screaming questions into the arsehole of a corpse.
You once described it as an old folks’ home for incontinent liars and the inside of a dead mouth. Is it something you enjoy putting together or is it some sort of painstaking creative therapy?
I make the zine on Apple Pages. It sucks to use this program. It’s a bad idea. This is not the program one should be using. Every time you make a change on a page the whole document goes out of whack. I have to stop myself from stamping on a bag of kittens four times an issue. BUT… ‘Where once there was nothing now there is something’. It’s therapy and it’s free. I can say – any contributor to the zine can say – whatever the fuck they want. 500 copies is a tiny step above total anonymity but that tiny step makes it worthwhile.
So you just launched the most recent edit at The Slow. What made their gallery space of Room 13 a good fit for Neverland?
George Gorrow is a fucking talent. The Slow is a great spot. They have a room in Bali that’s not about ‘Bali’. It ain’t corny surf stuff and it ain’t pictures of hands with eyes in the middle of them. It doesn’t stink of Ubud and spiritual materialism. It could be in any city in the the world. BUT it could only be in Bali. They take advantage of the best things Bali has to offer – freedom, time, craft, people that can do shit and they make it feel international and timeless. George, Cisco and the team there are all about making good shit and giving people a platform. Check George’s resume. He’s fuckin’ proper. The Slow is his latest piece of proper.
There was a stack of rubble thrown around – how did the guests receive the mayhem?
Pretty well I’d say. I hope the concept was understood and people saw the intent. The show imagines society during and after the coming ‘readjustment’ riots. I made peasant’s weapons all glammed-up and took glamour and made it into weapons. So I made a stab proof vest out of some VOGUE magazines and some molotov cocktails with fine linen wicks as a couple of examples. I also fucked about with some sculpture and more traditional street posters. Just riffed on the thought of uprising and rebellion… but tried to do it with a sense of humour.
Does Bali offer you an escape from the strict bed-time government regiment that Apocalypse Luxe was designed for? Or is it the same bull shit served on a different platter?
Bali is a benign anarchy. It’s like being a fish living in the ocean. You can go wherever you want do whatever you want. There’s a 12-year-old kid with down syndrome in the Banjar we live in that has his own scooter and cruises through the streets with the wind in his hair. He’s free. It’s fucking beautiful. That’s Bali. Be you. Be free. BUT more and more it feels like the issue with Bali is that all people seem to want to do is take photos of themselves. Bali has become this backdrop for people to take selfies. It’s like walking through a village made of Instagram frames. To be clear, you fucking twits! It’s not okay to take photos of yourself. It’s not okay! It’s very fucking vain and very fucking lame. But it feels a little like Bali has become this place where people come to get shots and leave. In my opinion Bali is a better place to live than it is to come on holiday – not to be a part of that modern day self obsession nalu bowl and a tattoo of a triangle on your arm fuckery. The people that live in Bali are amazing – the people I see visit here are stunted. Stop taking photos of yourself and do something with your life that takes more than one hand.
What’s next for you and Neverland? How do we watch your movements?
I’m trying to be fuckin’ DO-CANO exploding melted hot shit all over your life and face. I just want to stay making things as hard and fast as possible. Because the alternative is my name written on a lanyard. More of more and less of less.