I'm sat in the quiet room again, with a little bit of a headache and a dry mouth. A warm and small hangover muddles my head, which I think is good for art. I'm making things today, and you never want to over think whilst using paper mache.

Yesterday I designed ideas for public monuments: a few I'm building maquettes for, some that may well just stay in the design stages and one that might actually materialise on the day of the preview (28th May), if we are really lucky.

I won't go in to details until I have some pictures but there seems to be a theme of apology and failure, ideas that are definitely under-monumentalised. I like the idea of a temporary monument, or maybe a permanent but ephemeral monument, always on the move. Or a monument that destroys the value of the thing you are trying to celebrate.

There is a statue of Lord Horatio Nelson in the centre of Birmingham, surrounded by the redeveloped shopping area. This austere monument feels like an archaic way of celebrating in the midst of the glass fronted shops and the lattes and the Maclaren buggies. It is so singular and conservative compared to the dream of the high rise shopping centre - ultimate choice, ultimate freedom. Nelson and his bronze buddies are no longer the focal points of our towns and cities. There is no focal point, there is just flat, democratic choice: the equality of the high street.
  I read the information board strapped to the railings surrounding Nelson. The statue was funded entirely through a public appeal to the working class of Birmingham; they were happy to give what they could to fund a statue to commemorate a brave hero of the seas. But what and who did Nelson really represent? Colonialism, imperialism and the privileged. Why were the working class appealed to? He was someone's hero, but how was he their hero?
   When the credit crisis befell our great nation in 2008, we, as a society were berated for being tight arses. If we hadn't suddenly stopped spending, they said, then the crisis would never have happened. Of course, most people stopped spending because of the fear of defaulting on their loans, their credit cards and their mortgages, and the real problem, as we later learned, was not a failure of people to spend, but the willingness of the banks to lend, and the irresponsible and intensely selfish behaviour of people working in the financial industry.
  This obsession with increasing speculative worth without increasing actual worth was a blind, abstracted way of making money, and it came from the obsession and reliance that government had/has on economic growth as proof of societal progress (and also, ironically, as the basis for expanding national debt).
  The new and shiny town centres - not just Birmingham, but also Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Cardiff to name a few - were crucial to the government's idea of re-branding industrial cities as centres for consumption; monuments to capitalism. We were given a new town centre, a Starbucks (and a Caffe Nero, and a Costa), and cheap credit. But we had to pay for this style of regeneration. We had to spend our credit on supporting the businesses who filled our high streets, often corporations whose profits left the local area as soon as they entered the till.
  And then, with the credit crunch and subsequent recession, we had to pay again for the obsession with growth, regeneration and speculation. We paid with sudden bankruptcy, house repossession and job losses. And soon we will pay with cuts in public spending and essential services.

We always pay for their monuments, but they don't always pay us back.