David Mabb

The Proposal for a Socialist Colony is a washing line with William Morris tea towels pegged to it.
William Morris was an English 19th century designer, poet and revolutionary socialist. His fruit and flower packed designs for wallpaper and furnishing fabric manifest his utopian thought; they were hand made to the highest standards in an attempt to make the world a more beautiful place. In the tea towels, Morris’ designs, severely cropped and cheaply machine printed onto shabby fabric, are the kitsch remnants of his once utopian project.
In Proposal for a Socialist Colony, the towels are re-appropriated for the socialist cause - to help with the washing up. We might imagine the tea towels to be the sort of thing that socialist colonists might buy when attempting to set up islands of socialism: they signal the extreme limitations of the possibilities for a socialist commune within capitalism.