Coinciding with the display of the Gao Brothers' challenging bronze The Execution of Christ in SHOWstudio’s Death exhibition comes a scholarly essay from journalist Nicolas Niarchos. System = Power = Ideology starts with one of Mao's early poems, Tapoti, which problematises the relationship between single parts and multiples. This tension is explored with reference to some recent articles in the hope that this fertile aspect of Mao's thought will once again be open to enquiry. While very explicitly not an endorsement of Mao's entire system of thought, it is not a criticism either; Niarchos argues that, ‘historical context is necessary, but so is a critical eye.’
The essay is spoken over silent footage of London from the top floor of the 148 bus at first during rush hour and then at dawn, punctuated by Google image grabs of some of the things referred to in the piece. Without explicitly linking text and footage, the film grounds the theoretical discussion in quotidian London scenes. The film shows one and many cities, deliberately focusing on a hodgepodge of urbanism and a web of different lives and systems. It offers a musing on something wildly alien to this reality, though somehow hopelessly linked to it.