Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is (Dance Dance, Revolution?)
‘You have got to give’
- Spice Girls (1996)
The 1990 London Poll Tax Riot marked the end of the Thatcher government’s eleven year tenure of the British Parliament. Within those eleven years the West’s political economy shifted from a post-WW2 Keynesian welfare system into the neoliberal system that has since expanded all over the globe becoming the system in which we live today.
This system of political economy is marked with prioritizing the rights of owners of capital, property, and means of production; the defunding of securities for workers through austerity; the deregulation of finance; and the strengthening of state security apparatuses to ensure the rights of capital. Such a political economy crescendoed with The Great Recession and is onto its encore with the rise of fascism.
Six years after the London Poll Tax Riot, the Spice Girls released their hit song ‘Wannabe’ in 1996, and Konami released their hit video game ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ later in 1998. Taking the title of Konami’s video game seriously, I asked it, ‘is there real revolutionary political will here?’, and I deduced the answer, ‘no’. This inquiry into political neutralization and complacency, extends to Spice Girls’ Wannabe.
In a gesture of satire and angst, I created a custom level of Dance Dance Revolution themed for Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ and the London Poll Tax Riot. In this absurdist intervention, the video game’s announcer is a revolutionary leader, the Spice Girls sing a song of rebellion, and the body moves along with the rioting public.