Stephen Gill: Best Before End

Stephen Gill: Best Before End
Stephen Gill: Best Before End Stephen Gill: Best Before End Stephen Gill: Best Before End Stephen Gill: Best Before End Stephen Gill: Best Before End Stephen Gill: Best Before End
Product Code: Best Before End
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Best Before End by Stephen Gill. ISBN 978-0-9575369-5-1. Clothbound hardback, 72pp, 36.2cm x 26.5cm, 43 colour photographs. Published by Nobody in association with Archive of Modern Conflict 2014

Tiredness can indeed kill – but then, what's death if not a big Chandleresque sleep in which wiseacre gumshoes drive to the end of the night only to discover that it's their own involvement in the case that led to the murder-spree. I'll sleep when I'm dead, for all sleep is the sleep of reason. We need our wits about us: its an accelerated world out there, demanding split-second decision-making capability to hit the right button so as to make the right multi-million dollar trade, or order the next pizza, or download the next app. We swim through an orangey brinelight: a carbonated energy field of unified, fizzing awareness – it's dreamlike, this existence, most certainly, but its a waking dream, and for that we have energy drinks to thank.

Stephen Gill's beautiful images, which incorporate energy drinks as an integral part of their processing, capture this strange state of being at once driven and aqueous, simultaneously sweet and oh so bitter. The Best Before End series memorialises the freewheeling decline of the west, which – to paraphrase Alfred Jarry, the founding father of pataphysics – is best conceived of as a downhill bicycle race sponsored by a major-brand energy drink, in which all of the pursuit riders have the red head of the Minotaur. For myself, I'm way out in front of them and pedalling HARD.

Will Self