(THE BALLAD OF) HALO BATTS

 

PILOT SUIT AND HELMET WORN BY 139 SQUADRON LEADER HALO BATTS.

This uniform was salvaged after Halo Batts crash landed her repurposed Harrier Jet in the neutral zone north of the proposed site of Washington 1:4 – London, in 2142.

The US government had earmarked the site to house secondary weapons for its proposed first wave of illegal chemical attacks on Europe. Having recently begun the secret and felonious hacking of Pret A Manger nutrition droids (that famously poisoned many who remained on the British Isles) combined with England’s forced independence in 2135 America saw the area of no real threat or significance.

Meanwhile Halo Batts and her Guerilla 139 Squadron had been gathering in their native London. They had began to plan counter attack measures against the corporation contaminating it’s food and the alien government attempting to wipe out it’s very vexed people.

She was granted permission by the ashes of the cities county council to use the remains of their depleted arsenal to attack Pret A Manger’s central control. This seemingly independent attack on 9th May 2139 – later named the battle of Croydon became known as the first act of the Salad Days War.   

Batts named her squadron after the RAF Jamaica squad of the same number (139) that fought in WW1 and WW2 on account of her ancestry. A DNA test carried out on joining the English Air defense forces in her late teens revealed she was a direct descendant of Air Jamaica pilot Michael Batts. In 1977 he was famously dismissed from service having refused to cut his hair or beard to conform with company policy on the grounds of his Rastafarian religion.

Batts used this influence to embellish her uniform in an act of defiance to the American global dictatorship of the time. Creativity in clothing was banned so for underground European groups to customise their clothing in this tribal sense was common place. Similarly religion outside the Church of Trumptology (established in America in the early 21st century) was outlawed and Batts rebelled further by stamping Rastafari throughout the visual language of the 139.

After the 139 grew to a multinational rebel alliance that defeated the oppressive force of The United States in 2145 Batts was instrumental in the regeneration of the European Union the following year. Her post war activism lead to the legislation behind today’s food for all laws and the illegality of food waste.

Screen printed (and one poly cotton embroidered) cotton patches, acrylic / gloss / spray paint, ink and burnt 1960s us air force pilot suit + paint stripper and ink on 1950s ussr pilot helmet.

I wanted to further my exploration into dystopian futures by using items from further in the past. I wanted to exaggerate my idea that in the future things like personal and museum historical collections of items would revert back to their original functions. When resources and wealth have run out owning possessions for anything other than their original use would become a superfluous luxury. The piece stands in a future beyond the one I am explaining where those things have become worthwhile again (which made curating it difficult). The story is written in brief to appear alongside a museum exhibit relying on an assumed knowledge of history that hasn’t happened yet. I wanted to remain light-hearted in my story telling and keep the specifics of it quite close to home referring to both post Brexit Britain and a post Trump world. The Halo in Halo Batts refers to a much loved Alan Moore comic strip The Ballad of Halo Jones that appeared in my much mentioned reference 2000ad. It was a story that remained unfinished that I perhaps wanted to add a small spin on.

I am excited to see how the the different stories I add to each piece add to the bigger picture and what I do with this bigger picture when I feel its healthy enough to take it on in its own right. Similarly I enjoyed referring back and adding factual information from the past to add weight to my version of the future.

I had an interesting conversation with Brian in regards to using story telling to come to terms with whats around you. Also we discussed how the Marvel movie making machine had become so important to so many people it made the concept of Donald Trump seem like a believable concept. I am extremely interested in how a president who behaves no differently in office to the manufactured reality TV show that made him so famous will effect whats going to happen next.

DANIEL FREEMAN

 

   

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