You have seen it before: rifles, balaclavas, hazard tape, gas masks, men in white protective gear, unhinged protestors wielding outrageous leaflets. The warnings are everywhere.

Drawing on images deeply embedded in the nation’s consciousness, this piece introduced a cast of exaggerated personas in a series of independent yet thematically linked vignettes. A bizarre mix of live art, comedy and activism, they subversively tackled some of the issues related to current expressions like ‘the reign of terror’ and ‘fear culture’. Through this playful and provocative intervention, we aimed to puncture people’s experience of the everyday, challenge their assumptions and deepest fears. In the grand tradition of Great British satire this piece intended to explore a potentially explosive issue with a tongue in cheek attitude, hoping to perform a sort of communal catharsis. This socio-political satire was created especially for Manchester’s Exchange Square, an area redeveloped after the 1996 IRA bomb attack.

Performance Dates

Exchange Square, Manchester
12th Jul 2008

Extra Information

BIKINI State was produced by hÅb and Greenroom as part of Hazard Festival 2008.

‘BIKINI State’ is the name for the system used by the Ministry of Defence to indicate the level of non-specific forms of terrorist activity. Established in 1970, it pre-dates the newer, more publicised and general ‘UK Threat Levels’ (in use since 2006). BIKINI State is currently set on ‘Black Special’. The current ‘UK Threat Level’ is ‘Severe’.

BIKINI State Press Release

Photos by Chris Hanley.