The Bookends

by Anne McCrossan


Bookends (Reverse/Inside)

Text written by Anne McCrossan

These bookends denote the point where the book ends, physically and metaphorically. Ideas are not perpetually relevant. As times change they fade and morph, taking on new forms. This evolutionary process means a time may come when hierarchy no longer has a useful purpose, the hierarchy from which meritocracy was fashioned.

There’s no certainty it has the same viability in a networked world. The lure of the elite, privileged by either land or education, emanated from an industrialised age where management control had value. In a digitally dynamic age, atomisation challenges the elitist pyramid as a thing of the past. The bookends express the power of the individual in this context, the time when it’s possible to login, access content, a platform, develop individuality and be heard.

So can we go from meritocracy to multitude, propelled by Young’s own thought that ‘power corrupts and therefore one of the secrets of a good society should provide sinew for revolt as well as power?’ The digital age is an enabler of people being more active in the process. Then lucky sperm matter less than they used to and what matters more instead is having a sense of individual identity, purpose, expression.

Artists have the means to create and influence. With networked power, the tools of fabrication are available to all. The digital age is changing some of the basic assumptions of access and opportunity. The rise of the multitude replaces meritocracy, letting individual creativity and networked power emerge.

Left Hand Figure Front

‘Lucky Sperm’ text by Diego Rivera, (taken from a film shown in the V&A Frida Kahlo, ‘Making Herself Up’ Exhibition, London 2018).

The role of the artist in society is, biologically speaking, that of nourishment. It is as a provider of food.
The artist is an essential worker in the social body. The artist is not a worker of ornament.
The character of adornment assigned to art comes from the interest of individuals or groups who exploit the working classes and make art appear something that is not tangible, something that is exclusive to the rich man.

Right Hand Figure Front 

Text written by Anne McCrossan

We are encouraged to consume through the promotion of inflated needs.
There is a striving towards pyramids of attainment.
When capital is created using consumption it breeds a survivalist mindset.

Bookends Figures Bases

Text written by Anne McCrossan

The deepest and most sustainable contentment within the human condition is found in an appreciation in the combination of ourselves, others and the planet that is self-replenishing. That’s the art now.


Anne McCrossan

Anne McCrossan has specialized in digital business strategy since 2008 and runs Visceral Business, a consultancy working at the intersection of digital communications, organisational change and data management. She is a TEDX speaker on Reinventing Organisation and Lead for the Open Data Institute in Cornwall.

Anne moved to Cornwall from London three years ago to spend more time making ceramics at her studio in St Ives. The themes she works on as an artist span contemporary culture, the relationship between the tangible and intangible and identity, exploring the role of humans as makers in the modern world. The figures she creates are called 'Alter Pieces' which have a totemic purpose, conveying ideas of altered states and behaviours as contemporary humanity becomes increasingly digital.

More information about Anne is available at and