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Shaun Slifer

down with all kings but King Ludd!

This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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As the Liberty lads o’er the sea Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood, So we, boys, we Will die fighting, or live free, And down with all kings but King Ludd! When the web that we weave is complete, And the shuttle exchanged for the sword, We will fling the winding-sheet O’er the despot at our feet, And dye it deep in the gore he has pour’d.

Artist Statement

This phrase comes from a poem by Lord Byron, sent in a letter to his friend Thomas Moore in 1816. The voice is meant to be that of a Luddite, although Byron himself was not one (despite officially defending their cause on more than one occasion). ‘King Ludd,’ ‘Ned Ludd’ or ‘General Ludd’ were common monikers for the mythical leader of the Luddite insurrectionists in England during the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Missives issued by Luddites referred to ‘Ludd’ as an arbiter of justice for the English working class in general, although the uprisings were chiefly in the newly mechanized textile industry.

When

2008

About The Artist

Shaun Slifer is an artist, nonfiction writer, self-taught historian, scrimshander, and museum professional based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His practice is a legible hybrid of research, activism, and alternative exhibition strategies: his projects act to identify and reverse oppressive and unquestioned historical narratives. He’s excited when he’s digging up untold histories, illuminating the stories held within objects, exploring tiny upstart museums, printing on his refurbished antique platen press, celebrating urban-adaptive flora and fauna, and documenting (and sometimes making) DIY municipal signage. Shaun regularly works in collaboration with other artists, non-artists, and in collectively structured groups including the now-disbanded Street Art Workers and the Howling Mob Society, and currently Justseeds Artists' Cooperative (of which he is a founding member) and the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum (where he is the Creative Director). Shaun has exhibited internationally in a variety of museums, galleries, and nonprofit spaces, as well as non-authorized public settings. He has presented on history, creative practice, and grassroots media at numerous universities and conferences in the United States and Europe. He received a BFA with a concentration in sculpture from Watkins College of Art in Nashville in 2003. He currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with roots in Nebraska and Tennessee. He has run the Justseeds online store with member/owner Bec Young since 2010.

As the Liberty lads o’er the sea Bought their freedom, and cheaply, with blood, So we, boys, we Will die fighting, or live free, And down with all kings but King Ludd! When the web that we weave is complete, And the shuttle exchanged for the sword, We will fling the winding-sheet O’er the despot at our feet, And dye it deep in the gore he has pour’d.

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