11th June 2019 SOVAC, Drama and Theatre Arts Department, University of Birmingham
Participating students: Luca Demetrious (2nd year, Drama and Theatre Arts); Katy Russell (3rd year, English); Lydia Rodell-Grenow (3rd year, English); Chen Xiny (MA English)
17th June 2019 Green Heart, University of Birmingham
This live art intervention was created in response to the Green Heart site, the Green Heart Festival's seasonal theme of 'Celebration', and devised in consultation with Alicia Radage.
Too often the notion of failure is co-opted by neoliberal and corporate discourses. Even Samuel Beckett's oft-quoted "Fail again. Fail better." has become an unlikely mantra for capitalists wolfs. Coinciding with the exam and results period, and in keeping with the Green Heart Festival's current theme of 'Celebration', FALIURE! aimed to reclaim the notion of failure in a subversive and joyous manner; for instance, featuring some 'failed' protest banners calling for the celebration of failure.
FALIURE! engaged with the history of the site itself; so given that the Green Heart occupies the location of the previous library (a building now torn down, and thus failed), books featured at the centre of a brief interactive exchange with passers by. People were invited to pick a motivational book about success, tear a page out of it, and deface it by writing on it something they consider a personal failure. These torn-out and defaced pages were collected and displayed throughout the piece and, to mark its ending, were ceremonially burnt.
In its playful, rebellious, and even violent gesture (i.e. tearing up and defacing books on the site of an old library), the piece sought to trouble the Green Heart as a eco-capitalist site.