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Joe Moss

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Niamh Schmidtke  0:11  

Hello, you're listening to Future Artefacts FM radio show hosted by Niamh Schmidtke. And Nina Davies.


Nina Davies  0:19  

Earlier this year, several radio frequencies were discovered airing a collection of broadcasts. At first they sounded like regular news stories and interviews. They felt familiar, but also not quite belonging to our present. Slowly, the listeners came to believe that what they were listening to, did indeed belong to their world, just not their time. They were looking into the future through the mundane edges of radio recordings and public service announcements. While this material is still being meticulously studied by researchers in various universities and museums, your hosts have managed to gain access to this collection to air a selection of these broadcasts for you, our listeners.


Niamh Schmidtke  1:00  

For full disclosure, we will not be sharing this collection with you, as this introduction is based on a fictional event. In this monthly broadcast, Future Artefacts FM, we will present speculative fiction pieces by artists and writers, followed by conversation with hosts Niamh Schmidtke and Nina Davies. The programme will focus on fictional works intended for broadcast, such as radio plays or fictional interviews, to carve out a better understanding of the now by exploring various interpretations of the future.


Artist Introduction

Nina Davies  1:38  

Okay, welcome back to future artefacts, 


Niamh Schmidtke  1:42  

Episode 15, 


Nina Davies  1:43  

episode 15. That's crazy. Yes, so we've got another exciting, I mean, every episode is like, always really exciting. But we've got another exciting episode. Today, we're joined by Joe Moss. 


And it's particularly exciting because if you've enjoyed any of the music at the back of our conversations, you'll have already heard Joe's work, but today we get to listen to it more in depth. So welcome to the show. Joe, how are you? 


Joe Moss  2:11  

I'm good. Thanks for having me. 


Niamh Schmidtke  2:12  

Happy to have you. 


Nina Davies  2:13  

How does it feel to be in the, in the hot seat? 


Joe Moss  2:16  

It feels good, feels maybe slightly nerve racking.


Nina Davies  2:22  

Joe has been part of the, we're gonna do a normal, proper introduction. But Joe's been part of the Future Artefacts team since day one. And yeah, we're just really excited. We've been wanting to have you on the show for ages. And we're really excited that it's finally happened today. 


Niamh Schmidtke  2:39  

Joe works a lot with speculation as well in his work, and we're, I'm gonna read you at the, his official bio. So you get an idea of kind of what he's been working on, where he's been working, and sort of where you can see his projects as well. So Joe Moss makes work with a vast appetite for pre existing cultural and material references. connected by the logic of collage masses works weave together the contemporary logics of a variety of fictions, examining cultural threads from high fantasy to streetwear with entertaining and slightly sinister results. Masses diverse output ranges from solo presentations to radio production to collaborative exhibition making. Recent Projects include model village, and nn contemporary, homegrown on the Hauser and Werth website, residencies at East QI projects UK, and stuck ers, Norway, and the London brands editions foundry fellowship, moss graduated with a BA from Central Saint Martins in 2015, spent three years on the Conditions programme between 2019 and 2022, and is currently enrolled on the MFA programme at the Slade. Kind of hopefully finishing next year, right? 


Joe Moss  3:51  

Next year, yep 


Nina Davies  3:52  

Hopefully finishing makes it sound like he's not gonna graduate! 


Niamh Schmidtke  3:56  

More. So Master's programmes are crazy things. And I feel like in the year, in times of COVID, lots of people have taken a more, let's say, holistic approach to doing a master's education. It's not like "I need to get it done" But I'm going to do it in the way that benefits my practice. 


Joe Moss  4:11  

Yeah, yeah. 


Nina Davies  4:12  

So today, we're going to be playing a sound work by Joe, which is going to be 17 minutes, called Infinite Customization. Before we head into the work, Joe, is there something is there anything you want to say about the work? 


Joe Moss  4:28  

Yeah, so I'm just going to say that Toad, who's the main protagonist in the work is a character from Wind in the Willows, which was a book written in 1908. And the original book was about a fictional pastoral, England, and has a lot to do with the emerging conflict between the rural and the industrial. Toad himself is a really big character and he's like, obsessed with speed and progress and things like this. And he sings the intro song, which is like, that's what you'll hear first. 


Niamh Schmidtke  4:54  

I mean, if you want to catch up on wind in the willows, the film is on YouTube, one would presume however we're kind of in Joe's work is looking at a contemporary take on it and thinking about well, we'll dive into that, but you don't need to have a context of, of the book to listen to the work. 


Joe Moss  5:10  



Niamh Schmidtke  5:11  

And if you want to context we'll get into it after you listen to the piece. Yeah, 


Nina Davies  5:14  

Great. Is there any way that you want people to listen to it 


Joe Moss  5:17  

With great joy that's how I want people to listen to it.


Nina Davies  5:22  

Okay with great joy, and we'll see you on the other side.

Learned Friends; Piasecki vs Wade work

Work 5:46  

Chapter 1 - The Awakening of J. Thaddeus Toad


‘Tally-hooooo!’ Toad leapt up and moved quickly through the woods, propelled by a jolt that coursed through every fibre of his being. Through rivers, through streams, through fields he advanced at incredible speed and he felt… Well, not alive exactly, but present. It was a dream for Toad, who had desired linear progress and speed above all else in his life; internalising the promise of Modernity in an age where the first awesome terrors of the industrial revolution began to shake the ground. Bounding on and on he went, until he came to realise he was not walking or hopping, but simply proceeding.


He stopped by a stream to take in some water and pondered this for a moment. ’Hmmm’ he thought, ‘something very odd is going on’. Toad knew he’d been resting, but he also knew that he hadn’t been sleeping, and as he leant down for water this odd mystery came sharply into focus. ‘Egads!’ He cried upon his reflection, for in place of his hearty vigour stood a loose, shimmery, silvered counterpart. It did not take much contemplation… Toad was a ghost.


At this revelation one would expect to plonk themselves down besides the riverbank to lament, but Toad was ecstatic. He relished another opportunity to witness the progression of the age he found himself in, but where next?


Chapter 2 - Bickton


Onwards! Toad tore through the landscape until he came to a busy street flanked by two rows of buildings: it was the timeless layout of a shopping district. The scene was overwhelming, out of every merchant music pouring, with ginormous pictures in every window and stacked upon the exterior of buildings. Toad recognised that this district was the focal point of the new age, all the highways pointing here, all the new buildings, all the pictures. This was a centre founded on a heady combination of advertising and availability, every desire catered for, every sense engaged as every catering hall provided meat, light and sound. Even the bakery was filled with moving pictures displaying information about drinks and pastries. Toad marvelled at the result of the industrial quest of his own time.


He was most impressed at the clothing, gathering that the new fashions weren’t related to activity, but devoted to aesthetics themselves. It seemed everyone was staking claim to some idealogical territory with outrageous clothes made of new fabrics- different factions showing their perspective through material choice. Toad likened this mode of expression to the Dandies, and chortled at the absurdity.


As he wandered, Toad recognised the mirroring of this sartorial logic by the ever present advertising. How strange it was! Aesthetic factions devoted to the service of products or visa versa. What had the clothes on that screen to do with natural yoghurt? What had that lively group of pyjama-d children to do with Dr. Pepper? Perhaps, Toad thought, all this creativity must be entwined with great advances in salesmanship, new invention and access combining to both give and take the creativity that gave lust to life.


Toad also noticed everyone occasionally stared into little rectangular devices with great purpose. These little objects reminded Toad of pocket-watches, and he was happy to see the link between time and modernity still present and effective. All the promises of the future had been achieved, what a time to be alive.


Chapter 3 - A Pleasant and Boring Group


On one fortunate day, bright and sunny and crisp, lucky old Toad found his way to the 43rd SCM Cars and Coffee meet. It is impossible to describe Toads gleeful reaction upon arriving at this chance destination. Here, in a field, glistening in the sun were row upon row of different cars, each meticulously cleaned and detailed with the reverence Toad thought rightly accompanied such latent speed.

Toad was in rapture, in his later years he had longed to see Ford’s production line, a presentation of mastery over time. Now here he was, somewhere in the future, in the company of the latest auto-fashions. Toad longed for the ability to talk with the people around him, to persuade, beg, borrow or steal the chance to drive one of these talismans of progress. Instead, as per usual, he’d just have to hover and overhear, techniques he’d now mastered.


On one of the rows sat a wide blue Ford, Toad recognised the signature, and it was here that he chose to hover- listening in to the conversation of a likeminded group.


“Yeah so it’s a Cossie, completely standard, I just polished it up a bit.” Said a field mouse of average height, in a muted combination of shirt and trousers. Toad was a little disappointed that the owner of this car wasn’t more remarkable.


“It’s a what??” Piped up a litter of young ferrets, scrabbling around the car and clearly excited.


“It’s a Ford Escort Cosworth” grinned the mouse “It has 220-ish horsepower delivered via permanent 4 wheel drive, sending 66 percent to the rear wheels and 34 percent to the front”


“They’re fantastic cars” observed an otter from the crowd who appeared as excited as the litter “very exciting and very rare, just over 7000 of these and even less in good stock condition! You’re lucky to have seen one this morning.”


An owl continued the enjoyment, poking his head through the open window of the Ford and exclaiming “Blimey are these the same mirror switches as in a Lotus Evora? It can’t be- that car is almost 20 years younger!”


Out came the palm devices Toad was so intrigued by, the huddle partaking in a race to find this puzzlingly arbitrary information. Jests and hoots, claps and cheers, devices waved, everyone was having a jolly good time. Everyone apart from Toad that is. He felt suddenly foolish observing the different styles of vehicle across the meet; these weren’t different proposals for the future but different ages of design. He was in a museum of relics.


Hovering over the devices of the cheerful rabble, Toad concluded they were watches of course, noting he had risen 100 years into the future. However, more remarkably, the devices also appeared to be vast memory banks, recycling machines to cultivate and recall history. The technology was amazing, at once a library and a watch and a phone, but it also depressed Toad- for what good was all this technology if you just used it to look back?


Toad spent the morning trying to garner some perspective on this pleasant and boring group, who spent their time engaged with endless comparisons and numbers, nostalgia and images. Toad had been seeking something new, but now with a date to orient himself by, he was heartbroken by every reference to decades and decades of previous culture.


Finally it was too much. A mania engulfed Toad, and he seized upon the first unattended device he saw, concentrating all his rage into his minor effect on the physical world. Alas, even on searching for the future he found only Artificial Intelligences and proposals for something called ‘Transhumanism’. Toad shuddered, he believed the quest of all creatures was to be agents of progress, and the thought of relinquishing this task disgusted him. “How could one subjugate the body to the machine?” He thought “it was our mastery over nature, and not the other way around” For Toad these developments were not progress but sacrilege.


The horrified Toad ruminated on his recent discoveries, and for the first time felt the dreaded unrest that is shared by all ghosts across the world. Descending into a catatonic mist, he retired to a room in a hotel, seeking at least the visual comfort of a bed. Toad didn’t exactly sleep, but rested the tumultuous rest of the ghost- periodically tortured by a heart sinking consciousness


Chapter 4 - A Haunting


After some time, two people burst into the hotel room bickering and laughing and flinging their bags into a corner. Disturbed, Toad watched the pair complete the routine of every guest. The beds were sufficiently tested, the channels were checked, the view observed, posturing in the mirror was completed and eventually the finale - “nice bathroom!” one remarked, throwing open the door and beholding its modest contents.


Despite himself, Toad was softened by the joviality of the two, who received a knock at the door and welcomed four more companions into the apparently ‘way nicer’, near identical room. They were startlingly dressed, heavy in blacks with portions of purple and streaks of high-vis yellow.


Toad was particularly concerned with one of the group, who wore a shiny purple and black dress, covered in dark lace and corseted in the Victorian style. They also wore thick socks with alternating bands of purple and black that were pulled up over the knees. Toad thought this was quite a strange display, like a small museum of purple undergarments throughout the ages. And as if this wasn’t eye catching enough, the ensemble of character and clothing was plugged into giant, platformed boots, covered in buckles and strings passing through at least twenty eyelets or more.


Toad reminded himself of the memory banks and once again scrutinised the outfit. He could see the melancholy of the Renaissance, channeled into the Victorian Count Dracula, set up to pound the streets in chaotic military stompers. “Why” Toad thought to himself, weak with despair.


Toad perceived that this group, like the other factions, were adorning themselves in images of the past. This irked Toad, Baggy, shapeless, too short, too long, clothes taken from other people and other times. These were no fugitives of Pandora’s box, they were happy people performing the promise of ages that were already dead. Toad thought there was probably no point haunting people who were haunting themselves.


After much levity, the group left and Toad continued his jealous ponderings. Why did these people do these things? What did you get from resurrecting history? Where was the truth, where was the future?


Chapter 5 - Return


Still floating in the corner of the hotel room, Toad was brooding.


On the one hand the he had witnessed a group still worshiping the value of speed, cars that were personal achievements of lists and bits and tinkering to formulate the most succinct and victorious presentations of individual freedom. Even successful, this quest to maximise progress against time was now a neutered exhilaration, representing only the empty promise of Modernity. A quest that after achieving its goals, had simply raised the dead.


On the other hand, he had been moved by a group that paid no mind to speed or progress, gothic caricatures who could have been anybody. The fashions of this age seemed to rely on ever-tightening constellations of novel references. These were people furnished in ghosts like spooky comfortable friends, inhabiting their chosen helpers to co-author an aesthetic mask concealing anybodies life. Lives filled with love and jest and fraternity.


This was a horror, a dreamland of infinite customisation contending with a colossal memory and the backdrop of capital. Toad had traveled a long way from the Woods, for this was a lawned culture, elements of the wild plucked out of their natural rhythm and assembled. A purgatory in the gardens of his beloved Toad Hall.


Toad shuddered, he had found himself in a world where the only new things were found in transgression, and he wondered about the transgressions he hadn’t seen. It was one thing for the dreamers and tinkerers, who recalled and reformatted perspectives to be quickly stolen by the shepherds of profit. But what about real transgressions, novelty where no one would touch, identity in fantasies of violence, evil and extremes, cultures to horrify and terrorise, progress and authenticity in hate.


Toad suddenly felt so alone.


In this moment, above all else he wanted the woods, to be part of the ongoing cycle of things as in nature. Mole, Ratty, Badger, the river. He desired these friends to accompany him through this strange future, for at least in their relationships there would be a truth, a genuine care. Perhaps, Toad pondered, this is what he had witnessed, support and joy and learning. Aesthetic territories cycling with soft boundaries. Solidarity. Permeable destinations and shared fantasies to be distributed and held open for all, entwined with capital but not solely for it. At some point in these thoughts Toad drifted off.


Just as nature had its cycle, so too did these other revolutions, but a 9 inch screen cannot display anything in totality.


Niamh Schmidtke  22:36  

All right, welcome back. We all hope you really enjoyed Joe Moss' episode of Infinite Customization, we're now going to have a bit of a chat with Joe, some of the ideas behind the work. And it for anyone who doesn't have context of Wind in the Willows will give you a little context as well, if you want it. Maybe to start off because you gave us an intro to Toad, or Mr. Toad can ask, who is Mr. Toad? And, like is, is his perspective, your perspective? Or is it a different opinion altogether that you're trying to get to? 


Joe Moss  23:15  

So I think the reason, Toad doesn't embody my perspective, no, just straight off the bat that's like important, I think to get across, but I think he does embody all of these like elements of Western culture. So like a focus on speed, and progress, and all of these things that exist that I feel like we all contend with. And he's like, a very, like a caricature, or maybe almost like a conservative, like big conservative character is what we'd like to initially attribute to him. But actually, I think he like represents a lot of things that are still present in everything that we do as well. So I think using him as a protagonist is like kind of a sneaky way of like navigating all of these different things. And if we were to try and apply his perspective to ourselves, you might think about emphasis on productivity or work ethic or whatever, which is stuff that we really do think about as artists, I hear a lot of people talk about how productive they are and stuff and that is in Toad to have him like haunting things that are happening I think is quite is well, that's why I want to use him. Anyway. 


Niamh Schmidtke  24:15  

To me, he feels like a grandparent in terms of like, ah sure why, why would why would you dress up like something from the 1950s it's been done. Yeah, and a little bit of a way or someone that I really hope to not sit beside on a train, especially a long train journey in that he's quite particular in being like, Oh, why are they doing this? And like not quite getting it and not really trying to get it either. 


Joe Moss  24:40  

But I feel like there's been there's like a huge cultural gap between like modernity and stuff, but I feel like that perspective is something that is like intrinsic to the way we still think about how culture is made. And actually like the conditions are so like, completely different now, like technological change is happening massively. We have this like huge memory that we have to always refer to so the idea of originality is compromised and like by proxy, so things like the idea of like a genius making culture and all of these sorts of things or like whole idea of like an avant guard, it's all like up for discussion. And I feel like we're at a moment where those things are, we can consider those things. And I don't think that anything's necessarily resolved or solved. But yeah, I guess this was a process of like, using that character as like a good focal point to try and process all of these different elements. 


Niamh Schmidtke  25:27  

Yeah, almost to have a perspective that's outside of your own in order to engage with your own cultures. 


Joe Moss  25:33  

Yeah in a way. Yeah, yeah, exactly. 


Nina Davies  25:35  

I mean, obviously, Toad is based on the character from Wind in the Willows. But for you, does he represent anyone existing presently, he said, he's sort of a conservative character. And I wonder whether he represents someone who's conservative today, or someone who's conservative from the past, or from a previous era, there's something interesting the way that he reacts to the people meeting up to talk about these old cars. And he's sort of quite critical of these characters. But I would say that those characters, that Toad is being critical of seemed I will put them in a sort of conservative group of people today. 


Joe Moss  26:18  

I can see that by guess I'm interested about in what Toad represents more so. So the discussion sort of come from that angle. And in the same way that the treatments of the other groups in the works like what they represent culturally, that I'm interested in the Wind in the Willows books is like on the precipice between like the pastor or UK and like industrial UK, and like Toad and his friends, I think occupier more like feudal, sort of like green and pleasant land version of the UK. So I think is more within that and like obsessed of this progress


Niamh Schmidtke  26:50  

You describe kind of the Wind in the Willows book, almost being at this precipice towards modernity, and like, coming out in 1908. And I guess I'm thinking, like, in terms of the European context, you're like, gearing up towards a world war, it's very nationalistic, all this investment in technology to kind of win this fight. And so and so it's like, it's a massive period of change. Why does it feel important to you to revisit that, those characters that are kind of in this period of change in the present, you kind of hinted at it a bit, but kind of more specifically, I guess, why? Why this, why our present in a way, why not? Like 10 years ago, in the past, if I've used in the future, or..?


Joe Moss  27:29  

Because I think change is like, right around the corner. Like we have, like huge technological process, like and progress is still happening. It's just not happening here. Really, our perspective is, like bigger now, which I think is a good thing. Yeah, I think that I think there's like a hangover of all of these things in our culture. And I think it's like, time to maybe reframe how we think culture should operate within the world. Because to think of like a sort of progress or like world change happening, I don't think five years, you know, when Mark Fisher was writing his books and stuff, and he was like, it's easier to imagine the end of the world than it is the end of capitalism. I think it's changed now. I think, actually, you can imagine, perhaps not the end of capitalism, but at least the big change that, you know? 


Nina Davies  28:15  

yeah, yeah, 


Niamh Schmidtke  28:16  

It's interesting, even because I've started teaching a little bit in like, a third level in an architecture school and, and they sent an email to everyone that had interacted with them at all. So I'd had, I taught them one lecture. I never even met them in person, and they sent me an email with a thank you to what I supported them with in their, in their practice. And it's like almost this change of care, that you see, like that cultural shift, I mean, it's not the subcultures that you're talking about in the work, but almost like you can see that kind of shift from, like, five years ago to the present of that sense of like, oh, okay, a big global thing has happened, and it has made people really reflect on how do I interact in my culture, in my community, in my society, and, and so on, which feels like Toad has maybe just come into the end of that. It's like, what the hell is going on? 


Joe Moss  29:07  

Yeah, I think he can't, he can't figure he can't figure it out, basically. And I don't know. But that's because and I thought about this actually in depth. And I was like, actually, like, the relational thing that could be the basis that I think is valuable within like all these like different cultures and things and could be made, like, a more intrinsic part of how culture operates, happens in the work, but like, Toad can't access it, because he's a ghost. So he doesn't have the ability to like, see what's worthwhile and in, like, making culture or anything, you know what I mean? So like thats like a, I guess, a key part of it. 


Nina Davies  29:41  

I was wondering what your decision to make Toad a ghost was as a character that's already sort of a fictional character that you could slot into to any situation 


Joe Moss  29:54  

It's because I think I think it's important that he's haunting culture, because I think those specific actives in that period of time and the myths of like, yeah, pastoral landscapes or whatever and progress and all of these things, they still do haunt the way that we make culture at the moment. So it's like real- and also, I think using, like a horror premise is always really useful when you're like trying to make value judgments on things throughout a narrative, or at least that's how I feel like I use horror a lot. So I think the the idea of haunting and is really important. 


Niamh Schmidtke  30:26  

Yeah, I mean, as you say, it's a it's a very easy reference to jump to, but almost like hauntology. And thinking about Mark, Mark Fisher's writings on capitalism, and this slow cancellation of the future, which I think probably came up in our very early episodes, because I was reading a lot of that when we started this radio show. But, you know, this idea of progress and nostalgia in particular, or thinking about nostalgia within progress, because, you know, you meet this group of car enthusiasts, and they're really obsessed with cars that are kind of futuristic to towed, but they're like 1950s 1960s old vehicles, or even later on, 


Joe Moss  31:07  

It's actually an RS Cosworth it's actually in 1996.


Niamh Schmidtke  31:11  

Car knowledge has been damned there, or even like you have this group of Goths but they're wearing corsets, which, you know, you have no nec-, you don't need to wear a corset in modern society, but you can if you want to, it's kind of a harking back. Within that, I mean, the piece kind of pokes holes at that idea of like nostalgia and progress. Can they work together? Can they not? I wonder, what does progress look like for Mr. Toad? Or like, what kind of progress do you think he would be impressed by?


Joe Moss  31:43  

Yeah, so I think he's like, I think there's a little bit of it in the work where he doesn't like transhumanism, because he's all about like, mastery over nature. So it's like an extractionist perspective of like, how would you turn yourself into the thing that, like, the machines that we use to create progress? So he wouldn't like that. He'd think of the love space exploration. I think. 


Nina Davies  32:06  

I kept thinking that what I was listening to Yeah, it was like, he would love, yeah, who loved the idea of going to the moon?


Niamh Schmidtke  32:11  

Yeah, well, like colonising a whole new planet. 


Joe Moss  32:14  

Yeah. Lift off, especially I think he'd be into, it's like, it's like a because it's, there's a great book, which is another light horror books called The Vampire Lestat. It's by Anne Rice. And it talks about like, beauty as like this, like savage garden. So it's like, the whole premise of like vampires is based on this. So it's like beauty is like violent and or inspiring. But ultimately, it's morally neutral. And there's an element of Toad, there's a bit like that as well. So it's like speed and progress. above all else, that's the thing that we want. And that is beauty. And so like, lift off or things like this, it's like what type of really be enamoured by.


Niamh Schmidtke  32:48  

And I guess then,


Nina Davies  32:50  

Like the revenue of an engine? Oh, yeah. Like,


Joe Moss  32:54  

So there's a, she uses this really great example of like a bomb going off at night, like a massive bomb. And like, if you're not close to it, and you just see this, like flash of light in like, you know, in an evening sky and stuff, and how like awe inspiring that would be, but obviously, awful, like terrible, awful, terrible, as well. So yeah,


Niamh Schmidtke  33:14  

I'm imagining these kinds of extreme engineering programmes like the Hoover Dam, or, like wind turbines, or, you know, stuff like that, that are all like this capturing of like, let subsume and control the environment in some way. 


Joe Moss  33:28  

Yeah, yeah, exactly. 


Niamh Schmidtke  33:29  

I guess because when we were having a pre chat, and we were kind of trying to talk about what were the directions we wanted to go in. One thing that came up a lot is like this idea of progress and thinking even more deeply about in terms of what does progress look like for you kind of, because obviously, you've kind of removed your perspective from this work, in that you're writing through someone else's eyes, who has a different kind of belief system, moral system, then you, if you were to like be Toad, for example, not have his opinions, but kind of be the ghost on the wall. And you were to look at these types of things. Would they feel like progress to you?


Joe Moss  34:07  

I mean, obviously, there's a huge like, from Toad's perspective, I did try and get across that in like, the first chapter of like, there's loads of progress has happened. But there's like a delineation that I think has to be made between, like progress in like cultural perspective, and what like, culture is like working for and also progress in terms of like economics, and growth, and GDP and all of that sort of stuff. 


Nina Davies  34:27  

We're at a point right now, where the progress that we're experiencing right now is quite subtle, and I think eventually won't be subtle. But the invention of the printing press was huge. But did people know about the impacts of the invention of the printing press when it was introduced? In the same way that people were aware of the car? I feel like the car was so much more of a obvious moment, that progress was happening whereas the printing press, I feel like it took me years for people to realise the effects that would come out of information being spread. And I feel like we're sort of at that point right now where we're sort of at this with chat GPT or or even just the internet. We're at that point now where we're experiencing progress, but it's not quite obvious on where it's progressing us to,


Niamh Schmidtke  35:14  

I think there's something even in like, the progress you're describing, Nina, like, the printing press, or like the, you know, Ford's production line or stuff like that. A lot of those things, okay, they have capitalistic gain, economic gain, but they also end up being to the benefit of like, general public. Printing press means you can disseminate more books, more people can learn how to read, more people can have access to education. Car means you can travel from A to B, and it's not going to be extortionately expensive or take you a really long time, it kind of opens up a lot of space. 


Joe Moss  35:47  

But you can also transport medicine from one place to another like all of it, like, yeah,


Niamh Schmidtke 35:52  

Whether as a lot of the progress we're seeing in the present, feels a lot more individualistic.


Joe Moss  35:57  

Yeah, well, like the space race, like private space race is a very different thing to like development in prosthetics. Do you know what I mean?


Niamh Schmidtke  36:05  

Yeah, completely. It's, I mean, even like, you look at lots of different health care conditions, and you're like, there's lots of medicines like Viagra that are like, have lots of development in it, because a lot of the main funders are male, but then you have other other diseases that, you know, are largely affected by women or people in the Global South. And it's like, nope, yeah, I'm not, you know, it's not there's like a large connection in progress to also like, funders or benefactors. And yeah, that feels like in the present when you have this much more extreme wealth inequality than has been around for ever, since ever since the beginning of capitalistic economics. You feel that sense of progress being like being restricted constantly by the people who hold the purse strings.


Joe Moss  36:47  

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah, yeah, then that's the one of the delineations I guess that can be made. Whereas like progress, the you can either have a social progress, or you can have like an economic progress, which is like normally strictly seen through like GDP. And that's like not, that's not progress, is it? That's growth and like the line can have several different,like the graph can have several different things on the bottom, and the GDP means one thing, progress means another thing, social progress means another thing 


Nina Davies  37:15  

You're really interested or maybe not really interested, but slightly interested in, like cultural progress, and I'm wondering, like, what you see cultural progress to be, I feel like that is something that Toad, in your audio book is that's the that's the progress that he seems to be, or the lack of progress that he's upset by, by wonder what that cultural progress is, and whether a move and maybe on a happy sort of note, like, where do we see it happening? Or where has it happened? In the past,


Niamh Schmidtke  37:51  

I guess, thinking about social progress, enabling cultural progress. Maybe I'm also saying this because we're in Pride Month. But for example, a lot of different countries around Europe, made homosexuality legal in like the 80s, and the 90s. And gay marriage has been around in most places for like 10 years-ish. And I feel like in terms of, so that's a lot of social progress, right for like people who are gay you have access to a lot more space within political systems. But it also then means in terms of like queer culture, you start seeing big banks having floats in pride parades, you start seeing your regular supermarket selling rainbow shoe laces. I went home last weekend, and my dad got me a pack of shoe laces for me, my partner, and he's like, theys and theys.


Joe Moss  38:44  

So I think the thing that I'm thinking of in that example is the relationship between like performativity and authenticity, right? And like, authenticity is like classically seen as like, a morally higher standpoint, right? And when capital takes those things is because they're authentic, right? And then But then they're no longer authentic. So they kind of have to destroy it in order to market it is like an authentic thing. But genuine cultures can sort of short circuit that like so also, subcultures can short circuit that because the third, because that the authenticity and cool or good or whatever, always relies on like a third party perspective, they have that third party perspective is within the culture, then they're sort of immune to that you're like immune to that. And that's, and if you could, instead of extracting those things out of the cultures, if you raise like the culture themselves, and let them be the authorship of the thing that is good, then then I feel like it doesn't- The mainstream doesn't have to destroy what it's taking from do you know I mean, so then there's like, so then I think that's really what I mean when I say like cultural change, or like a change in the way that we make culture as cultural producers is like those strategies can be like brought into the way you make things, right. And again, this isn't I'm not saying that's what I'm doing with this work. But this is like a way of exploring all of the whole mess of like, everything at stake, right before a period of like, massive change. And I try and work out if there is space to do that. And my conclusion is, yes, there is space to do that.


Niamh Schmidtke  40:30  

Yeah, because one of the things that we spoke a little bit about before, which I'm going to try not nerd out on too much, because I really love economics. But in terms of, we've talked a lot about capitalism, and also neoliberalism would fit into that category as well, in terms of progress, and thinking about what kinds of progress are valued, what kinds of progress are not. And within that, thinking about, kind of, I guess, sustainability, and in a way in terms of like, what kind of progress can the planet handle? So thinking about when Toad was alive in 1908? What made that growth happen, you know, like material extraction and dispossession of colonial lands. In the present, there's still, there's still those hierarchies, those power structures still exists very much. I guess I'm curious about what progress might look like if you think about different types of economic patterns like donut economics, or Degrowth, or we should probably explain our terms a little bit in terms of what donut economics is, but yeah,


Joe Moss  41:33  

So I will just for clarification, like, you put me on to this, I just want to make that very plain. And then I like, read read up on it all night over the past couple of days. And just like was like, Oh, God, like this work is just like a proposal for donut economics basically. That's like that is it, like at its core is like, Oh, I could have just like, what was the conversation about? Read this book?


Nina Davies  41:57  

Yes. Do you want to just describe before we go into, go into it, and describe what donut economics is?


Niamh Schmidtke  42:05  

Okay. I'll give a brief intro. And then maybe you say what it isn't relationship to the to the work. I mean, Donut economics, in its most basic form, is thinking about kind of the bands of what economics will and won't cover, and thinking about how do you restructure economics, so it's planetary sustainable. So like, how many trees do I have? Let me reframe kind of the value of trees and an economic study based on that. And like living within kind of, I guess, planetary means, in a way, it's sort of constricting the ways in which things can grow. And then degrowth, which a really great book, if you're interested, or just a great person to look at is Jason Hickel. He wrote a book called Degrowth. And that's taking the premise of capitalistic economics, everything needs to grow. It's why there was like crazy economic slump during COVID. Because you can't get a factory to run if all your workers are sick with COVID. So what happens if instead of growth being the main thing for our economics, it was about taking a step back and thinking about livelihoods and wealth gap and wellbeing? And planet as well. I mean, they're quite environmentally based things. But I think in terms of in context of what you're looking at, it's also about that sense of, how can I have claim over my own culture? How can I make my sub-culture I don't need to rely on a bank to tell me I can be gay, I can just decide it for myself.


Joe Moss  43:38  

Yeah, I think. Yeah. Did you? Did we speak about the donut diagram? 


Nina Davies  43:45  



Joe Moss  43:47  

Well, the Google the donut economics diagram, it's really easy to understand. And it's brilliant like in the centre of, its got, like, basically, all the needs that like social needs that the economy needs to encompass. And then there's like a band of like, good growth, essentially, I'd say, you'd say. And then beyond that doughnut, there's like, you know, how that would negatively impact beyond the limits of the world. So you can situate all different parts of the world into the doughnut, and they'll all be at different points within those rings. And the rich countries are probably way beyond the good ring, and some of the, like global South, probably in the centre and still need that growth to get to this like middle band. But actually, we could all just be in this middle band. Right? And then that would be like, a good way of negotiating a world for everyone to exist in again. I feel like I sound like a fridge magnet.


Nina Davies  44:43  

No, no, I know. I do think I do think the donut economics. It's a bit of a fringe magnet, like itself. So


Niamh Schmidtke  44:50  

yeah, I mean, I mean, quite a few of these. They described as alternative economics. I think they're just good economics, to be honest. Yeah. But it's, you know, they Oh, What kind of pitch this idea of like, we can all live in a more friendly, kinder, fairer world without destroying national pension schemes. And, but for me what's quite interesting when I think about it with your work, or like when, when we were first listening and reading to your work, and then I was gonna, like, oh, this kind of reminds me of, of this is that a lot of those are very large picture, big scale things. And it's like, okay, but what happens to my like, death metal subculture group in that scenario? I mean, maybe I don't know if it's better not tabu but a bit weird to ask, like, what subcultures? Do you feel like you're a part of, how might they be affected by if you could live in a donut economics model?


Joe Moss  45:47  

So I think I just want to address like, how I feel like my work relates to donut economics first, which is that? Like, I think it's, I feel like this, that economic models come about at the same time that we've been thinking about how culture can change maybe. And so it's this idea that actually, it's time to like, try and reframe the way in which we think about these things like because we do I think the progress of art and the avant garde, and all of this sort of stuff does rely on the like diagram of like the GDP line of like, there's always avant garde there's always next. It's always better than what came before and it's always disproving those things. And like, actually, we could re we could re address that. So the piece is essentially looking at the difficulty of how we attempt to define culture, and its purpose like under completely new conditions, which we're just experiencing for the first time. And the fact that soon to happen is the next phase of like, radical technological change, like transhumanism, prosthetics like decentralised, decentralised, like economic things. I don't want to say cryptocurrency for some reason, but cryptocurrencies, like the whole thing is like, it's just a bit. And so we could go through this next thing, with the same ideas of like progress and like a linear thing, or it's a good opportunity to try and like, do give it a do over because it's completely different. So that sort of work. That's sort of what I was trying to do that through the culture that I understand and see and something very, yeah,


Nina Davies  47:18  

I was gonna ask you about also, we had a question before about how progress and nostalgia kind of can they work? Can they work together? And I also wanted to kind of add on to that question. And also, also this discussion about Degrowth and deprogression? Do we get to a point where the idea of progression is a nostalgic idea? So this idea of like, growing the economy or growing the GDP is a sort of nostalgic idea of the past that and if we were to actually get to a point where degrowth where we were actually doing degrowth? Would this idea of progress become a nostalgic? I was just thinking about Toad as this kind of character.


Joe Moss  48:06  

Yeah, I mean, maybe yeah, maybe it's already happened. Yeah. You know, I mean, like modernism, like people, I think, are nostalgic for modernism. Like if you, yeah, go see your friends. You go see your friends who are painters. And you see, you know, you might get the vibe that someone's really into this, like, I'm really doing something in painting. It's like the next painting, you're never going to, like I did this. This guy was the first time anyone did this. And it was me. And you just like, 


Niamh Schmidtke  48:35  



Joe Moss  48:40  

Okay, good for you, man. Nice. So yeah, I think it's like, I feel like maybe people already are like,


Nina Davies  48:51  

Well year progression becomes an idea, rather than it being about actual progress.


Niamh Schmidtke  48:57  

Well, I think it's about these, for me, a lot of the work feels like it's about these two different generations meeting and clashing. And I think one of the things that like we were talking about before, it's like, you speaking to, like, I'm imagining, I keep on coming up with like, gay terminology or queer terminology. But like, I'm imagining like a non binary grandchild trying to speak to their grandparents about trans healthcare. There's such a massive gap generationally, and culturally, but between the two, and it's like, how do you? How do you bridge that? And that's kind of what I feel like it's happening a lot in in this piece. It's like, how do you bridge that? How do you not like, Toad left to the end? Like, I don't know, I don't want to be part of this world really anymore. Like, I'm happy to go back to my greener pastures. And I guess it kind of makes you think about when you're on this threshold where, like, we keep on saying, oh, there's not much progress. There's not much progress, but then it's like, well, when you have social, social and cultural conversations with, like, our parents, for example. There's so many things that are just like, nope, off the table can't talk about and like, they'd be considered liberal. But it's also like, there's a stage that you're almost like, you know, I'm like, Oh, I'm not that liberal because I'm not like this. But then I speak to someone who's like, 10 years older than me. I'm like, Oh, I'm really liberal. You know, and it feels like that's also a little bit like what the piece is trying to talk about, but not through politics through subculture.


Joe Moss  50:21  

Yeah, I think so. I think I think it's an old perspective. But again, maybe it's like grip is getting less and less tight on on people as the generations go on. But then also, maybe not you No, no, we are we are like, live in London, all of this sort of stuff. I don't think it is as uncommon as we think, Oh, I don't Yeah, you know, if I like my tik tok, my tik tok thinks that I am a sort of like, Joe Rogan, Andrew Tate sort of fan, you know I get loads of Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, all of this sort of stuff. And you like watching you like, Jesus? Like, what is going on sort of thing? And I think so I think like, although we're like, yeah, yeah, it's it's a generational thing. I'm not sure it is actually. I think it's like, I think it's like,


Niamh Schmidtke  51:13  

More geographic?


Joe Moss  51:15  

Maybe? I don't know, I think it's I don't know, I don't know how to I don't know how to even think about it. I don't want to avoid saying that it's a culture war because I don't think it is a cultural and I think people are more than capable of having conversations with each other. And I don't think we should venerate or pay any attention to really dogmatic cultures, which is like a problem in in that sort of thing on on all everywhere. So like, yeah.


Niamh Schmidtke  51:48  

I guess it's not as much of a question as it is a statement. But one of the things that I felt strongly listening to the work when we're talking about this generational gap, or this kind of like progress gap, in terms of what Toad sees as good, and what, you know, the sub cultures have as their progress is also thinking about the person who has shares Toad's perspective, listening to this work, and getting to this point, where they have to listen to pretty much the entire work before they realise it's a critique of their own opinion. I guess what kind of audience do you imagine listening to this work or like knowing this about the work? I'm thinking about the kinds of spaces you could sort of insert it into?


Joe Moss  52:32  

Yeah, I think it's like I think on, I think it's, yeah, I guess it's kind of like a Trojan horse sort of setup where, but I think all of my work typically has like quite a long setup, and then a very small moment where you realise how that's all going to be contextualised. So you hear the delivery, and then it's contextualised at the end. And it like, Yeah, but yeah, I could definitely, I think I could get it into, yeah, some some good spaces and have people listen to it. But also, like, I did have that I had the opposite sort of feeling and I was like, you know, how many listeners do we have now? Like, maybe we get like a bunch of people who have perspectives similar to our own, and they just are like all steadily switching off? This guy? Yeah. 


Niamh Schmidtke  53:20  

Yeah, it does feel like there's something important though and also, not necessarily validating those types of opinions as Toad has, but to at least, like find the ground at which you could maybe have the conversation.


Joe Moss  53:34  

Yeah. But again, I do want to say that I don't think that we're completely immune to those sorts of perspectives, like, especially with the like, neoliberal productivity thing, like, everyone, like hustle culture, and everyone's like, Oh, yeah, it's so lame. But like, you know, when was the last time either of you went on holiday that wasn't for work?


Niamh Schmidtke  53:52  

Actually, recently, but my partner had to book it for me.


Joe Moss  53:57  

But yeah, no, I think I think that artists like definitely embody that sort of thing, like the hustle culture thing and I think that that is like part of what Toad stands for.


Niamh Schmidtke  54:05  

Yeah. So they'd love us, or he'd love us. 


Joe Moss  54:08  

Yeah. Literally, 


Niamh Schmidtke  54:10  

Apart from our opinions. Yeah.


Nina Davies  54:13  

Apart from when we don't know how to plug in the microphones


Niamh Schmidtke  54:17  

Damnit progress.


Nina Davies  54:19  

So I'm just going to finish up with a last question. Obviously, our show looks at fiction a lot and your work is, at first glance is obviously a fiction, you exists in a sort of story audiobook format based on Wind in the Willows, feels like it's, even though it's not meant to be a children's book it it has that the narration has that feel of of that it could be a children's book. I feel like I've listened to lots of audiobooks in that style when I was young. But I was wondering how much of this is fiction and where does reality kind of intersect with this story? And are these groups especially the examples of the groups that that you use? Are they complete fabrications? Or are they based on anything specific?


Joe Moss  55:07  

Yeah. So I think, in my head is all very real for like, it's like the real world is like a picture. And obviously, I'm more interested in like what those things mean. So the descriptions aren't in great detail. But like, the car club is like, very real. Like the sound recording in the background is actually like from a car club that I got in touch with and proposed to work with for a festival. That unfortunately didn't happen. But like, yeah, the sound recording is from a real one. And the cars are real people really do talk like that. I was really into cars when I was a teenager. So that's kind of how I know. And the mirror switches in a Ford Escort RS Cosworth are actually the same mirror switches as in a Lotus Evora, which is 20 years younger. So it's like, the I had to cut that bit down so much, because I was getting really into it. So boring. No one's gonna want this. And then like the goth thing is like the I've worked done a lot of like looking at like goths and stuff, because they actually, like, have one of the most easy trajectories of like, cult, like, a higher place in culture from like, the rationality in the forums, through like Renaissance romanticism, like Victorian, Gothic, the subculture can be tracked historically really, really easily. Yeah. But what I thought was funny is that they're, like, rave goths, like, everyone, you can, everyone sort of has a picture of that. And everyone knows, like the meme.


Nina Davies  56:36  

I feel the people under the bridge, 


Joe Moss 56:38  

but do you know how, but know how that video is? How old 10 years old, and people still do it. So it's like, also, that's another reason why it's great. Because it just like, still alive


Nina Davies  56:47  

That's exactly the image I had in my head was that meme of Yeah, the race car,


Joe Moss  56:52  

Because people are still what are the boots called the rock? 


Nina Davies  56:55  

Oh the big platform boots, I don't know what they're called 


Joe Moss  56:58  

anyway, they're back now as well. 


Nina Davies  57:00  

I feel like they've been back for a while. 


Joe Moss  57:02  



Niamh Schmidtke  57:06  

It always comes in cycles,


Joe Moss  57:07  

But year was just trying to use things that are relatable, and that I kind of understand. So that's like, so I think in I think it's a fiction, but it's also based very much in real things that you would actually see like goths hanging out in hotel room. carmy in a field. Yeah. High Street in a generic southern town.


Nina Davies  57:25  

Cool. Okay, I think we're gonna have to end there.


Niamh Schmidtke  57:29  

Yeah. Is there, before we close up? Is there anything you want to direct us to terms of what you're working on currently, stuff you've worked on before study that's coming. Coming up.


Joe Moss  57:40  

I've got two things coming up. I've got model village at Eastcheap projects in Letchworth Garden City, which is really lovely place, you should all come to that as a collaborative exhibition making event where you make a small town and you think about how relating to other people makes culture. And then I've got a, I'm part of a group show at giant gallery in Bournemouth, which is called Super sublime, curated by Theo Allison. They're my shout outs 


Nina Davies  58:10  

And when does so where does that open again?


Joe Moss  58:12  

Seventh of July, and model village opens on the 15th of July.


Nina Davies  58:16  

Perfect. Cool. Great. Well, thanks for joining us, Joe. And thank you so much for making the work. It was which you made for the show, which was really, really great. And I hope you enjoyed the process of coming in. And I hope that all you listeners enjoyed listening to us again.


Niamh Schmidtke  58:39  

Yeah. No it's been great to take you from behind the scenes and bring you to the forefront and to hear what happens when you put the audio skills that you've obviously put into the show for the last two years into your own work and we can all hear and share it together. Thank you.


Joe Moss  58:54  

Thank you for having me. It's been great.


Niamh Schmidtke  58:57  

All right. That's, that's it from us for now.


Nina Davies  59:00  

See you in two months.


Niamh Schmidtke  59:02  

Yeah. Back in August,


Nina Davies  59:04  

August. Yeah. Bye 


Joe Moss  59:06  


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