Vivienne Westwood To Appear at Latitude

Dame Westwood's Active Resistance To Propaganda Manifesto comes to the Latitude Festival this summer

Text by John-Paul Pryor

This year's Latitude Festival is going to feature Dame Vivienne Westwood reading from her Active Resistance to Propaganda manifesto, a uniquely skewed take on modern society that looks to the Gaia Theory of James Lovelock for inspiration and features fictional vignettes from pirates, slave-girls, Aristotle and Pinnochio, among others. The somewhat surreal manifesto's aim is to save the planet by encouraging people to wake up to the bland, anti-intellectual feeding frenzy of modern media, and re-awaken them to some of the great cultural movements of our shared history, well, sort of. "The important thing about the manifesto is that it is a practice," says Dame Westwood. "If you follow it your life will begin to change. In the pursuit of culture you will start to think. If you change your life, you change the world." Westwood has always been an inspiringly vibrant figure, whose idiosyncratic personality has endeared her to millions far beyond the limits of the fashion set. Her unique and brave call to arms, though at times more than a little confusing, certainly shows how much she genuinely cares about the state of the world. Below is a short extract from the manifesto...
A hedgehog must understand the world from a hedgehog point of view, and we must understand it from a human point of view. We do have a fixed standard – timeless, universal, recognisable. We refer to it as Representative Human Nature (RHN). It is the key to this manifesto: –
You or I – as individuals – we change. But there is something typical about us which does not change. When we say, “Man is the measure of all things”, we mean the unchanging part: Man, both in his general nature and according to his various types: this is RHN.
Aristotle takes this for granted when he says, “In accordance with their character men are of such and such a quality……… it is for the sake of their actions that the actors take on the characters they have.” He also says that the best characters in a play are people with whom we can empathise – “someone like ourselves”.
For example, Chaucer’s characters are as alive to us today as when he first invented them: Timeless – outside of time, they speak to us of the human genius, –what it is to be human. Each detail illuminates the type and is what we call the universal in the particular – “someone like ourselves”. When we recognize this we are being objective – through putting ourselves in the place of another – we leave our ego behind.
We are not saying that art has to be confined to the direct portrayal of human beings: we do say that art must be representational – for it is in imitation that objectivity lies. In practice, through his medium of RHN the artist gains direct imaginative insight into the general nature of things; his view extends from the model.

Vivienne Westood will be fielding questions from the audience at the festival, for more details go to and for tickets to this year's festival go to

Over the coming weeks we will be profiling four of the hottest new musical acts playing Latitude this year in our RISE music section, so watch this space...

Above: Vivienne Westwood shot for Dazed by Oliviero Toscani

No comments:

Post a Comment