Let's Talk About Capitalism: John Karborn

Written by: Violet Myers

North Four have got together with the CCI Collective to become the media partners of their forthcoming event ‘All of This is Temporary’ a night of art, poetry and performance. The event will explore theories on capitalism and post-capitalism through installations and immersive art works from home grown and internationally celebrated artists, including Tufnell Park born John Karborn, a multi-media artist whose work ranges from intrusive gifs to abstract collages.

We caught up with John to talk money, politics and Pret a Manger…

Why did you choose to be involved in ‘All of This is Temporary’?

“Well I liked the idea of post-capitalism and I like Rich Mix. I like everything that isn’t to do with advertising or selling something else. I turn a lot stuff down but the idea seems worthwhile, so I thought yeah.”

What will you be featuring on the night?

“There’s going to be three of the silks I’ve been making, shown for the first time at the event. They’re meant to be subversive, challenging…about overpopulation. I’ve made about 50-60 now. They’re really quick sort of rough things, very immediate. I found I was spending a lot of time working on one piece and it was just a waste of time and it seemed to be much better to work quickly, throw stuff away and be quite crude. It seems to fit the bill of the life we have to make practical. So I persued that particular body of work like that…I think time is precious in the city.”

Can art change politics?

“I think art’s much more about challenging culture and leading by example, giving new ideas than it is influencing politics or directly being about politics. When I see Banksy with bits of George Bush on them or Tony Blair it just feels a bit…it just feels a bit obvious, puerile. That’s what The Private Eye does, they poke fun at pictures of people. That’s fine, let The Private Eye do it, it’s brilliant. It’s becoming sort of a childish knee-jerk criticism. There’s something better that can be done. Something more imaginative. More effective.”

Where did you study?

“I didn’t, those were the, ha, glorious days just before the recession when the internet was a new thing. I got some jobs as a teenager, 17 or so, which gave me enough money to decide I wasn’t going to be finishing my A levels. It worked out at the time. So I tried to learn on the way there and do that for money. I’m a Designer and Art Director now, I work with big budgets on big clients often, maybe million pound things. It’s like working for Hollywood…but I always want to get back to my artwork, thats what informs my world really.”

Your work seems quite anarchic, is there a conflict of interest dealing with all this money now?

“Yeah it can be, I find quite often it contradicts what I want to do. But equally I need, you know, cash! We need that money. We talk about money too much but it’s important. When I was younger things felt very positive and experimental and now it’s all very safe and careful. No one wants to put cash about so it’s difficult to pursue that work or any artwork that’s hellbent on money.”

If someone gave you all the money you needed what would you make?

“Well I always like having a good space to work in. I used to have a space in Leytonstone. It was great there with a few other people working there, you could pick up bits of the debris and rubbish and make stuff out of it. I don’t know. It’s not really about the materials or the equipment or anything like that. It’s purely about rent, that’s the big killer and that’s what the city of London is killing. They’re eating alive what makes this city distinct and interesting”

How has London changed since you grew up in Tufnell Park?

“When I went back to the East End in 2002, my Dad used to own the building opposite the tea rooms…which is now a Pret. He owned it in the 80s and there was very little there except old men burning rubbish in bins and a couple of places to go. Brick Lane Market and Spitalfields were quiet, slightly forgotten. It was a huge metal scrap yard, it was all a bit overgrown, kind of romantic and beautiful, that’s why I liked it. Now it’s something else altogether, but that’s just what happens. I’d like to fuck off somewhere else altogether but I don’t know where that is. Perhaps I’m reluctant. Doesn’t seem like it exists anymore. It’s a bit like tarmacking over Brick Lane. It’s called Brick Lane for a reason.”

John’s work will be featured at ‘All of This is Temporary’ on the 23rd of Feburary at Rich Mix Shoreditch.

Grab your tickets from here for £4, with all proceeds going to Crisis the homeless charity.

Images by John Karborn

North Four, North London magazine, bullish, camden peoples theatre, show, theatre, festival, come as you are

Beyond The Binary: Come As You Are Festival

Whilst progressive thinking about gender has become more and more mainstream recently, there is still far to go. Traditional gender constructs are yet to be broken down fully and there will likely always be resistance to the movement. Which is why it is so important to celebrate and promote events like Camden People’s Theatre, Come As You Are Festival: a celebration of non binary existence like no other.

North Four, North London magazine, bimber distillery, barrels, alcohol, rum, gin, vodka, whisky, tour, behind the scenes, tasting session
Eat & Drink

Local Portrait: Andrew Rummer of Sipping Liquor

Andrew Rummer is someone you want on your side when you’re choosing your new poison. You also want him on your side when finding where to source that beverage. He is the brains behind Sipping Liquor: a craft spirits club that delivers carefully chosen spirits to your door on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

North Four, North London magazine, pop up space, stoke newington, hire, north london, bar, food, restaurant

Listen Up Pop Ups, Stokey Space Wants You

Got a supper club, guinea pig cafe, unicorn tears cocktail pop up? Stoke Newington wants it. Luckily a cafe close to Columbia Road has the space you’ve been looking for all along. Probably. Think exposed bricks, boutique lighting and tiled counters, like you’ve just stumbled off a long haul flight and ended up in a trendy Brooklyn coffee house.

North Four, North London magazine, kerb food, street food collective, kings cross, granary square, food festival, foodies, vegan
Eat & Drink

Great British Veg Off: Vegan Street Food Battle

“I’m on the veg… of reeeeason” Sang Lady Gaga, whilst cavorting around a staircase in shorts. The very same can be said of Kerb Street Food’s latest event organisers. The amount of quality vegetarian food stalls they’ve gathered together for us is teetering on the unreasonable. It’s not fair on our stomachs, nor on our eyes that are bigger than said stomachs.

Stroud Green, Tavia Davies, Bike, Cycling, North London, Davies & Davies Estate Agents

Love Local: Stroud Green on Film

What’s it really like to live in North London gem Stroud Green? This short film gives you a glimpse into local life. See if you can spot yourself on Stroud Green's streets; walking your dog, buying bananas from the fruit and veg shop, cheering to a bad joke over a pint outside The Worlds End...

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington town hall, hackney council, maintenance, budget, proposed changes, refurbishments

Have Your Say: What Would You Do With Stoke Newington Town Hall?

Ever walked past Stokey Town Hall and thought, oh the things I’d do with that space. What would you do exactly, if you had the chance to take over? It’s a question we’ve often asked ourselves. Well now Hackney Council are finally asking us. Residents and business owners in the surrounding areas are being consulted on their draft proposals.

North Four, North London magazine, Telemachy, Camden Fringe, play, theatre

Beyond The Binary: Steps Toward Gender Neutrality

Sadiq Khan’s decision to change London underground announcements from ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ to gender neutral greetings might have seemed like an obvious, positive step in the right direction. Unfortunately the news was met with some resistance and negativity. Some saw it as an attack against gender, deeming it ‘pathetic’, unnecessary and even ‘demeaning’. Presumably that affectionate term, Snowflake was also bandied around for good measure.

North Four, North London magazine, tube, underground, travel, underground, mind the gap, commute, lifestyle article

Small Toon Girl: The Pissy Commute

I'd had a bad day, so I thought reading the Slimming World magazine while eating a family-sized bag of crisps would help. This was the day I realised London was ridiculous. And it had rubbed off on me. I started out the day wet. Wet in my cute summer dress with a raincoat on top. It was July, pissing it down. But hot, very hot.

North Four, North London magazine, london queer fashion show, hackney, fashion, showhouse, fashion designers
Culture Lifestyle

Beyond The Binary: London Queer Fashion Show

Beyond The Binary is our mini series breaking down gender norms and exploring queer theory through events and interviews. We're kicking things off with an explosion of fashion, identity and expression. This September it’s London Queer Fashion Show. LQFS showcases the greatest new talent from people who know that ‘gender exists beyond the binary’, that clothing doesn't take male or female forms.

North Four, North London magazine, espresso martini, espressotini festival, coffee, caffeinated, bar, cocktail
Eat & Drink Events

It’s The ‘No More Sleepy Fun Sponge” Espressotini Festival

Did you know, the recipe is a relatively new invention? Back in the 80s, a soon-to-be infamous supermodel (sorry but it was blats Naomi Campbell) walked into a bar feeling sleepy and sober and in need of a pick me up. Asking notorious and rakish bartender, Dick Bradsell for something that would “wake me up and fuck me up”, she watched him crack his fingers and deftly shake up the tasty Espressotini we all know and regret ordering today when we look at our bank statements the next morning.

North Four, North London magazine, sutton and sons, fishmonger, fish and chips, islington, essex road, food review, fishery, lobster, crayfish
Eat & Drink

Posh Nosh: Date Night at Sutton and Sons

This family run restaurant has been sourcing the best of date night seafood the for the last twenty years, sourcing the finest and freshest fish from their very own fishmongers in Stoke Newington. But not only are they super sustainable, these guys are also super on trend with a signature lobster sub. So you can feel posh and down to earth all at once, stroke your beard then passionately get off with an avocado once you’ve finished cycling home on your fixie.

North Four, North London magazine, life drawing, neon, fluorescent, ultra violet, paint, art, class, duke of wellington
Culture Lifestyle

Neon Naked: Ultra Violet Life Drawing

Have you ever sat in the pub with ol Vick and Charlie and whatsherchops and thought, I’d love to draw a nude right now? No? Well what about a neon nude? Yeeah, now you’re keen! Well luckily that tasty Duke of Wellington pub happens to have just the right set up for a life drawing class. Not to mention a fluorescent one. So that is exactly what they do now. Every other Monday Jylle leaves her superb gin and tonic pouring duties to host Neon Naked.

North Four, North London magazine, the finsbury, live music, festival, performance, august, marshall amp
Events List

Top Six “Have You Heard Them Live Though” Music Nights

The last time I checked it was March 18th and I was watching someone drink green beer in a big hat and wondering whatever happened to Boxing Day. But someone has informed me that it is August and we need some kind of plan for the month because all logic has flown out the window and nobody knows what anything means anymore and I can’t remember if I had breakfast yesterday no but thanks for asking. Time for some live music to zone out to and tap along blankly while we gather our thoughts.

North Four, North London magazine, mally harpaz, hazel iris, piano, live music, cello, violin, percussion, band, the waiting room, stoke newington

Haunting Melodies and Soundscapes at The Waiting Room

Haunting melodies, rich ambience and devilish lyrics: indie folk singer Hazel Iris comes to Stokey all the way from California. Joining her is musician Mally Harpaz on accordion, cello, guitar and even percussion to create a pretty special double bill of musical awesomeness together.

North Four, North London magazine, stoke newington, walking tour, history, guided tour, event, to do, streets, shops

Small Toon Girl: London, Where All The Jobs Are

I’m Emmie, I'm 24 and from Newcastle. J'adore le foot. Ou est les piscine? I moved to London 6 months ago because 'it's where all the jobs are'. The above new-life-motto was a graffiti tag I saw in my first few days of London life. Capital R and all. I certainly followed through when, that night, I went to a gig and nipped to the loo... Sitting on the uncomfortably warm seat I looked up to see a club night poster advertising: '4 Jägerbombs for £20!'

North Four, North London magazine, mint gun club, aperitifs, cocktail bar, teahouse, stoke newington
Eat & Drink

Mint Gun Club: Exciting Little Gimlets in Stokey

Who’s Richard Hunt and what are exciting little gimlets when they’re at home? Take a walk down Stoke Newington High Street this month and you’ll find out. An intriguing new cocktail bar and teahouse has opened, calling itself The Mint Gun Club and offering up a three fold menu of teas, cocktails and pantry style food.