Resistance ’68: Radio-film for the minds-eye + BANKSY REVEALED! Street art, film, sound and archival fragments. A ‘filmic mashup’ for radio: conjuring the spirit of the underground from a year that shaped a generation, 1968.
To mark fifty years since 1968, artists, filmmakers Darry Georgiou and Rebekah Tolley will delve into the ideas of cultural resistance in the turbulent period. In Birmingham Enoch Powell made his Rivers of Blood speech in fear of racial divides, while the world looked on in numb horror at the television images of the brutality of the Vietnam war and the rise and oppression of civil rights movements and political uprisings in Europe and the USA, and the tragedy of famine in Africa.
In May 1968 a student rebellion at the University of Paris sparked a general strike of circa ten million workers. Paris was brought to a standstill with protests against the unemployment and poverty under Charles de Gaulle’s conservative government and a rejection of the complacency of the French political left-wing opposition. Occupations of factories and universities, mass demonstrations and street fighting indicated a profound political radicalisation of both the labour and student movements, and was the catalyst for the social movements of the 1970s.
From the Paris of May ’68 to the Prague Spring the year 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of 1968, a year that is synonymous with violence, revolution, resistance and protest. Remembered for the anti-communist American army Tet Offensive bombing their way to military failure in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam – the murder of Martin Luther King – the Portuguese empire collapsing in Mozambique and Angola – anti-Franco protests in the streets of Madrid and Barcelona – the students of Mexico City murdered by troops at the Olympic stadium. But what modern media has sieved from history is a romanticised Californian Hippie Utopia of Love and peace of Haight-Ashbury and the drug culture, sexual icons and mystic lyrics of pop and rock music. America, after all, was along way from Paris, Prague and Saigon.
The journalist Christopher Hitchens, 1949-2011, described himself as a soixante-huitard and was an activist and observer. “Like most years and most decades, it didn’t begin or end on strict calendar time. The sixties themselves didn’t get started until at least 1963, and the psychodrama of 1968 arguably opened with the death of Che Guevara in the fall of 1967. I myself would argue that it began earlier, with the fascist military coup in Athens in April of that year and with the first strong manifestations of open dissent in Czechoslovakia. If you were a real political soixante-huitard, which meant that you were in one way or another related to the New Left, what you looked for and hoped for was a resistance to both the Eastern and Western “blocs.” Sex, drugs, and rock and roll were strong options, but they were just that—optional. In my cohort, we kept our hair short and our demeanor non-psychedelic, the better to appeal to the workers at the factory gate, who, we thought, were about to see through the realm of illusion foisted upon them by a combination of consumerism and the Cold War.” Christopher Hitchens. Still a Soixante-Huitard. City Journal, Spring 2008. https://www.city-journal.org/html/may-1968-40-years-later-13081.html
Georgiou and Tolley. Resistance ’68: Radio-film for the minds-eye + BANKSY REVEALED! Street art, film, sound & archival fragments. Listen Thursday 19 April at 6pm + Sunday 22 April at 11am on Brum Radio https://brumradio.com