Charlie Gere

Charlie Gere is Professor of Media Theory and History at Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts at Lancaster University and author of I Hate the Lake District (Goldsmiths Press) and other books.

  • World's End

    World's End

    Charlie Gere

    A memoir and cultural history the World's End, a West London area once home to bohemian artists and punk rock and now an outpost of neoliberalism.

    Charlie Gere's account of growing up in the World's End area of West London during the Cold War combines local history, cultural history, memoir, and a strong sense of the apocalyptic. Once a rundown part of Chelsea at the wrong end of the King's Road, the World's End has long been a place for bohemian writers and artists, including Turner, Whistler, Beckett, Bacon, and Bacon's muse Henrietta Moraes, all of whom evinced an appropriate apocalyptic sensibility. After World War II, in which the area suffered severe bombing, it became a center of the counterculture that emerged from what Jeff Nuttall called “Bomb Culture,” formed by the threat of nuclear annihilation.

    The famous boutique Granny Takes a Trip opened there in 1966, joined later on by Hung On You, Puss Weber's Flying Dragon Tea Room, and the commune Gandalf's Garden. The area also featured trepanning aristocrats and pet lions, among other eccentricities. In the 1970s, the World's End was the center of punk rock. Gere's parents arrived as part of a wave of gentrification, and Gere, born and brought up there, witnessed its social and cultural evolution. As an adolescent, he was traumatized by the prospect of nuclear war. He has lived long enough to see the World's End now bearing the marks of out-of-control neoliberalism and its grotesque accompanying inequality. But this too shall pass as worlds end.

    • Paperback $24.95
  • I Hate the Lake District

    I Hate the Lake District

    Charlie Gere

    An alternative view of the North West of England that delves into its stranger past.

    I Hate the Lake District offers a different vision of the rural environment from those found in much contemporary nature writing. Based on the author's trips around North West England, the book engages with nuclear power and nuclear war, slavery, imperialism, ghosts, love, God, cockroaches, and the sheer violence and contingency of “nature” itself—of which the human presence is merely a part. Each chapter starts with an account of a visit to a place in this remote part of England, the deep north, but digresses and wanders through multifarious themes and subjects.

    Among the sites Gere visits are the defunct nuclear power station at Sellafield, home of all British nuclear waste; Lake Coniston, where Donald Campbell died trying to break the water speed record; Hadrian's Wall, furthermost reach of the Roman Empire; the mysterious and deathly Morecambe Bay; sites of slavery in the North West; places where UFOs have been sighted, avant-garde artists created work, and Islamic terrorists trained; shantytowns where the navvies who built the railways lived with their families; and even the remains of Blobbyland in Morecambe.

    In I Hate the Lake District, Gere challenges the bourgeois pastoralism of popular nature writing and reveals the landscape of North West England as profoundly unnatural and strange.

    • Paperback $15.95
  • White Heat Cold Logic

    White Heat Cold Logic

    British Computer Art 1960–1980

    Paul Brown, Charlie Gere, Nicholas Lambert, and Catherine Mason

    The history of a pioneering era in computer-based art too often neglected by postwar art histories and institutions.

    Technological optimism, even utopianism, was widespread at midcentury; in Britain, Harold Wilson in 1963 promised a new nation “forged from the white heat of the technological revolution.” In this heady atmosphere, pioneering artists transformed the cold logic of computing into a new medium for their art, and played a central role in connecting technology and culture. White Heat Cold Logic tells the story of these early British digital and computer artists—and fills in a missing chapter in contemporary art history.

    In this heroic period of computer art, artists were required to build their own machines, collaborate closely with computer scientists, and learn difficult computer languages. White Heat Cold Logic's chapters, many written by computer art pioneers themselves, describe the influence of cybernetics, with its emphasis on process and interactivity; the connections to the constructivist movement; and the importance of work done in such different venues as commercial animation, fine art schools, and polytechnics.

    The advent of personal computing and graphical user interfaces in 1980 signaled the end of an era, and today we do not have so many dreams of technological utopia. And yet our highly technologized and mediated world owes much to these early practitioners, especially for expanding our sense of what we can do with new technologies.

    ContributorsRoy Ascott, Stephen Bell, Paul Brown, Stephen Bury, Harold Cohen, Ernest Edmonds, María Fernández, Simon Ford, John Hamilton Frazer, Jeremy Gardiner, Charlie Gere, Adrian Glew, Beryl Graham, Stan Hayward, Grisham Howard, Richard Ihnatowicz, Nicholas Lambert, Malcolm Le Grice, Tony Longson, Brent MacGregor, George Mallen, Catherine Mason, Jasia Reichardt, Stephen A. R. Scrivener, Brian Reffin Smith, Alan Sutcliffe, Doron D. Swade, John Vince, Richard Wright, Aleksandar Zivanovic

    • Hardcover $45.00