- 128 pages, 24 × 31 cm
- OTA-bound softcover with coated and uncoated papers
- designed by James Langdon & published by MK Gallery, March 2019
- distributed by Loose Joints
Necessary Amendments is structured around a crude, but hopefully useful, dichotomy. On the one hand it documents a number of public art works around Milton Keynes, an attempt to film every public art work in Milton Keynes. On the other it shows pages from ‘Insider', the staff newspaper of the Milton Keynes Development Corporation. Whilst public art is often used to express the aspirations of a town or city, the cartoons published in ‘Insider’ offer an alternative way of reading Milton Keynes and the people who planned and built it. These two elements are presented with stills from the Open University films, also based in Milton Keynes, and writing from the earliest residents of the town.
Necessary Amendments is part of a long term project around Post-War British new towns; a project that itself began with another crude dichotomy. on the 8th May 1946 at the parliamentary reading of the New Towns Bill, the minister of Town and Country Planning, Lewis Silkin read:
"If the towns to be built under this Bill are new, neither the need for them, nor the idea, is in any sense new. My researches on new towns go back to the time of Sir Thomas More. He was the first person I have discovered to deplore the "suburban sprawl," and in his "Utopia" there are 54 new towns, each 23 miles apart. Each town is divided into four neighbourhoods, each neighbourhood being laid out with its local centre and community feed centre. Incidentally, Sir Thomas More was beheaded, but that must not be regarded as a precedent for the treatment of town planners"
At this point Lietenant Colenel Sir Thomas More interjected:
"On a point of Order. May I claim your protection, Mr. Speaker? It has just been announced by the right hon. Gentleman that I have been beheaded. I want to know whether there is any confirmation of that."
Moore’s Utopia is invoked with all of its associated ideals only to be dismissed by the buffoonery of the Conservative MP, and prominent Nazi sympathiser, Sir Thomas More.These contradictions are central to 'Necessary Amendments’ and this work around the new towns movement which takes moments from the past as a way of considering who we are and how we live now. An investigation into what happens when idealism and optimism comes up against bureaucracy and the status quo.