Public Knowledge: The Self-Enquiry Inquiry Commission | Nervemeter - Camden Art Centre

Our current moment of mass upheaval has exposed the complex, corrupt and conflicting influences that define and undermine every single aspect of our lives.

Whether you think you’re participating in the upcoming revolution by posting a black square to Instagram or you’ve decided to ‘Go Vegan’ after watching a documentary on Netflix, the unexamined allowances we make for ourselves and our behaviour so as to be able to get on with our lives and not drown in self-loathing, have become increasingly problematic.

The survival mode we are instructed to follow is denial: the denial of the things that have happened to us, the denial of the things we do to cope and the denial of the effect of our actions on others. Unconsciously, we hide behind outdated mantras and employ neoliberal political tactics to achieve our goals unchallenged. The reason behaviour goes unchallenged is that nobody knows how to navigate the inherent complexities of everyday life. In response to this situation, Nervemeter magazine’s Select Committee, which includes Kieron Livingstone, Ian Allison, Iphgenia Baal and other regular contributors, attempts an unbiased exploration of the self and selves during this unprecedented period.


0:00 Kieron Livingstone
22:21 Iphgenia Baal
22:55 Sarah Hartnett and Lucy Stein




This episode is hosted by Kieron Livingstone, Art Director & Co-Publisher of Nervemeter. Livingstone has worked extensively with sound since the mid-90s, when he was a DJ at the long-gone Gossips nightclub in Soho. He was also a regular contributor to Sonic Mook Experiment, and a former member of bands Jack too Jack and LongMeg. Members of the Select Committee for the commission into the Self-Enquiry Inquiry will include regular contributors to the magazine. It is chaired by Ian Allison, author and editor of the Nervemeter with contributions from Iphgenia Baal, author of The Hardy Tree and Death & Facebook.

During COVID-19 lockdown, Sarah Hartnett and Lucy Stein were meeting on the astral plane to construct a psychic exquisite corpse from dreams, images and thoughts relating to their Pilgrimage along the lesser travelled Mary Ley line. The Michael/Mary line is a well-documented cluster of Leys between Land’s End in Cornwall and Hopton in Norfolk, pregnant with earth mysteries and new knowledge pathways.

In 2019 they participated in an anima/animus workshop at Lower Hewood Farm in Dorset where they focused on self-care by close living with pigs, close readings of Jung, talisman making sessions and psytrance workshops. Images and texts from this group work contributed to the latest issue of the Nervemeter, focusing on Feminism and Witchcraft. For The Self-Enquiry Inquiry Commission, they will read excerpts from Helene Cixous’ seminal text, The Laugh of the Medusa in different significant locales of cosmic transmission: Lucy from the Kingstone at the centre of Boscawen Un stone circle in West Cornwall, and Sarah from the top of the Shard in London.

Nervemeter has historically explored themes that range from Money, Suicide, Radicalism and Child Abuse – subjects that present a partial biography of the people involved in both the creation and distribution of the content. Usually appearing as a print publication, Nervemeter contains little to no editorial protocol; instead, it comprises of series of collated quotations. To transpose this means of exploration to audio, the Select Committee will wade through the fragmented digital ephemera – recordings, transcriptions, telecommunications and other distractions – to create “a history of the present” or “a history of truth”. The ugliest and most uncomfortable aspects of life will be placed under intense scrutiny.

Nervemeter magazine is sold on the streets by homeless and vulnerably housed people mainly in London, but also Manchester and Glasgow. Nervemeter tries to come out approximately once per quarter depending on fundraising efforts. Nervemeter magazine is created by artists who donate their work and time to the project for nothing. All production and design work is done for free.
Unlike The Big Issue, we do not ask our homeless vendors to purchase our magazines to sell at a profit. We give these out in batches for free. We ask for nothing back. All money stays with the vendors.