Born out of the anarcho-punk scene, Stop the City demonstrations of 1983-84 were a series of actions and interventions to blockade and disrupt ‘The City’ (the financial district of London). Protesters and activists coalesced around artists like Crass, Subhumans and Poison Girls. Punk was not only a music and subculture, but a serious proposition of alternative politics built upon Do-It-Yourself practices connected through social centres, performance venues, and independent media.
During the past decades, the power of financial flows and markets have become all the more intense, between the imposition of austerity to service all kinds of debt to the financialization of daily life. Even after the repeated financial crises there seems to be little chance of disciplining, let alone stopping the city.
This exhibition brings together images and materials from this anarcho-punk forerunner to other large scale protests like Occupy Wall Street and the movement of the squares. They are presented not out of nostalgia or purely historical interest but rather to ask what these experiences might mean today. What lessons can be learned the politics and protest of the anarcho-punk scene? How do these histories speak to the present in Singapore? What today could Stop the City?
Exhibition materials and images sourced from: Mick Duffield (Camera_Obscura [busy]; Toxic Grafity, Dial House archives (Gee Vaucher), and the 56A Archives.
Pamphlet produced for the exhibition available here.
“‘Stop the City showed another possibility’: Mobilisation and Movement in Anarcho-Punk” by Rich Cross excerpted from The Aesthetic of Our Anger. Anarcho-Punk, Politics and Music (2016) Edited by Mike Dines & Matthew Worley. New York: Minor Compositions.