Variant issue 5    www.variant.org.uk    variantmag@btinternet.com    back to issue list

letters
Axis bold as brass

Dear Editor
The Board of Directors and Trustees of Axis have noted your article "Limited Axis" in your Autumn edition, which will usefully contribute to our monitoring and review of our service. We would point out however, that Axis remains committed to providing an accessible and democratic service, delivered through a number of complementing processes and mechanisms to provide information which is useful and beneficial to both enquirer and artists. However, the growth of our outlets, and progress towards our five year target of ten thousand artists cannot be achieved overnight, and require considerable resources.
Our service is free, except where printouts and contact sheets are required, which are charged at their minimum production costs. It is wholly erroneous to suggest that that (sic) the data supplied by artists 'is sold to drive' our business, which mainly depends on core funding from grants, supplemented by sponsorship and project income. The registration fee for artists is hardly excessive and, like the criteria for defining professional practice, is founded on extensive consultation with artists themselves. Our criteria is not elitist, but practical, and we make no exclusive aesthetic of evaluative judgements, believing that the information we provide should be rich enough to enable users to make their own judgements by whatever criteria is applicable to their individual needs.
We are also committed to developing full interactive web access to the register, but there are issues of copyright and protection of artists image which need addressing, and require more careful consideration. However, it is naive to suggest that the web itself is the democratic solution, and it is precisely because of the current very class, race and gender exclusiveness of the web that we are committed to a range of access platforms and mechanisms that together will ensure a broader constituency of users.
The feedback we obtain from both artists and users, along with our very thorough monitoring, provide a considerably more positive picture than your reviewer suggests. Neither does your reviewer's negative prediction for Axis match the rapidly increasing use of our service, the regular success stories we receive from artists who have benefited from being on the register, nor the enthusiasm and support we received at the launch in December of our first London Axis point.
Yours sincerely
Doug Sandle
Chair of the Axis Board of Directors and Trustees

Variant Replies
Originally we had no intention of printing the above 'response', but on Marshall Anderson's request we undertook to publish it. Readers familiar with Anderson's article in Variant, issue 4 will have noticed that Sandle provides nothing to address or refute any of its carefully argued points. Instead he just blabs away with all this blatant hyperbole on his own organisation. The huge amounts of money seemingly wasted on Axis have in our opinion still to be accounted for, this was their chance to reply and they can't, or won't address any of the real issues. Also, who is on the board of Axis and how did they get there?