“In all great houses, but particularly in the royal residences, there were a number of mean and dirty dependants, whose office it was to attend the sculleries etc. Of these (for in the lowest deep there was a lower still) the most forlorn wretches seem to have been selected to carry coals to the kitchens. To this smutty regiment… the people, in derision, gave the name of black-guards” (Ben Johnson, ‘Love Restored’, 1612)
Blackguard (pronounced blaggard) is a rather old-fashioned term for a scoundrel. The lowest-of-the-low in a traditional royal household, the black-guard was responsible for carrying coals and other kitchen utensils between palaces. The term was later used as an insult. Inspired by the extraordinary heights social and economic inequality is currently reaching, Jenna Finch and Simon Raven performed by re-visiting this image, ineffectually guarding lowly objects at the festival entrance.
About the Artist
Simon is an artist who works in performance, video, painting, sculpture and sound. Currently he is writing his PhD developing original critical and creative research into the value that diversity, and a lived experience of disability might have in the production and appreciation of contemporary art. Collaboration is a key part of his practice.