Audio: From Europe with Love, Joe Sweeney

The British artist asked the public to dial +44leaveamessage4europe to “Leave A Message For Europe.” Here are the tributes at “this very strange and historical time.”

Taken from our From Europe with Love series

Listen now: Joe Sweeney

Audio transcription:

01. Please don’t leave. We need you with us. We love Europe. Bye. Stamatis. — Anonymous

02. — Suzanne Watts

03. Vivienne Westwood. Brexit is a crime. A long time ago. I was once on a jury about the police vs. two little rockers walking home late one night, who got pulled in because a motorbike had been stolen, and the judge said he wanted a majority of at least 10. He didn’t say seven out of twelve, nor even 6.1. Brexit statistics were 51.9% Versus 48.1%. On these grounds, Theresa May, a responsible government would now admit the crime and cancel it. — Vivienne Westwood

04. England eats London. Dreaming of an England that never existed, but a place and time that can’t be deleted. A sore on the psyche that was never physical. A dream like state of and for the delusional. But I remember London not so long ago, where we thought we were invincible. A London that was truly incredible. I can taste it. It was nearly edible. That has gone now. It too may never have been real. But I remember it, I was there. It was a real deal. So England, you’re having your last meal. Are you enjoying it? It’s London you fuckwhit. Looks to me like you’ll choke on it. — Gary Fairfull

05. Hello you, remember me? I’m the island on a clear day that you can see. You see we’re separated by the smallest sea. Fifty two percent of people angrily agree. But a lot still here believe in the unity of the European community. There’s compassion and kindness. I swear, I swear to God some people still care. My grunts of despair go unheard. The slaves voted for more chains. Lads lads lads holiday in the south of Spain. Club 18 – 30 fucked us once again. — Hayden Kays

06. Trace your DNA back far enough, you’ll find we’re all related somehow, but how different our lives are. I wish I could say something profound about Brexit and Europe and Britain but it’s hard to know what to say anymore. I’m tired of the distraction, tired of being caught up in the decisions of the rich, tired of feeling like my life is inconsequential. We’ve had three years of this media storm all the while avoiding the life-threatening decisions of our government. We have bigger problems than Brexit. We have food banks, privatisation of public assets, people dying on the streets, universal credit, vulnerable children, Home Office deportations, rising racism, huge rifts in our society and the looming ecological crisis which isn’t going anywhere. Brexit was engineered by the rich for the rich and a vast number of leavers were duped into thinking this would benefit them too. Some believed that they would get their country back. Why don’t they direct these sentiments towards those in power? Brexit has exposed, exploited and benefited from the pre-existing class divides: racism, islamophobia, anti-semitism, sexism and xenophobia in our society. The more we buy into the narrative that the other is here to take from us the more these creepy silent powers can take from us. This shadowy elite wants to take our rights so we’re easier to control. They want to reduce us to warring factions whilst they profit from tax havens and trade deals with America. Europe, you must think that we’re really stupid for all of this and that’s okay. I guess we kind of are, but you’re not perfect either. You might have better rights for workers and a more favourable environmental policy. But there are still thousands of people stuck outside the walls of fortress Europe. Thousands of people whose lives have been lost to the seas that surround this continent. A passport is an accident of birth and we are fortunate to benefit from a British one despite all of this. It’s not that I don’t care anymore because leaving you will obviously be very detrimental to the mental health of our country, to our economy, to the deepening rifts in ideologies, but I have to move on. How can we go forward if we keep lamenting this decision? My main priority now is for a general election. - Luisa Couyet

07. Europe I want to say thank you. You’ve pushed the U.K. forward on workers rights social and environmental protections and given us the remarkable gift of free movement, and for all its flaws the EU is the greatest international venture for peace prosperity and freedom in history. But it’s true we’ve become a continent of grotesque inequalities, between nations, regions, cities and towns old and young, and so in 2016 people in the UK demanded change. They gave the establishment a well-deserved kicking and people all across Europe have rightly had enough of the status quo. Every single one of the UK’s 30 worst cold spots for social mobility voted for Brexit, and I can’t believe that’s a coincidence. People know the social contract is broken and that the political system is rigged, they know there has to be something better. So whatever happens with Brexit, politicians across Europe must give the people a voice. We should admit the EU isn’t perfect and deliver bold democratic reform. We must transform our economies so people can live more fulfilling lives with bold changes to end inequality, empower workers and bring the opportunities of free movement within the reach of everyone. It’s time to build a Europe that puts people first and we can only do that by working together. - Caroline Lucas

Joe Sweeney is currently working on an upcoming exhibition in Bridgepoint, Rye this summer.

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