Joseph Goddard

City of Nithstang: Mega Structure No. 1
photography; 2019

Joseph Goddard
Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom


My current project is entitled “City of Nithstang”.

Nithstang refers to a Nordic medieval practice in which the skull of a dead animal was placed on the end of a “nithing” pole and directed toward enemies to ward off and curse them.

The work explores the demonization and marginalization of citizens of the globalised world, be it refugees, people of lower socio-economic classes, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities or the elderly. Our society is increasingly turning its back on its most vulnerable through welfare cuts in favour of aggressive neoliberal political agendas and does so with the propagation of hatred, prejudice, stigmatization. The rise of the far right on the local and global arena, is predicated on the hatred of the “other”. Works from the “City of Nithstang” series are the manifestation of these dangerous and dispassionate ideologies in modern architectural form, making visible the violence in creating “others” out of our own citizens.

“City of Nithstang” has become a conceptual space from which to draw ideas; a place where the discreet decisions of public policy are manifest in the architecture and structure of the city space. It’s a place designed to function for a certain populace at the expense and repression of others. The ideology of this place is writ large in concrete and oppressive doctrine takes the form of brutal architectural apparatus, symbolic of perpetual imbalance. The “City” acts as an allegory for the brutality of our modern age, the onward march of neoliberalism and civilization’s progression to further detach itself from humanity. Drawing on historic Nordic cursing rituals enacted in a modern context, “City of Nithstang” harnesses the kinetic energy of a collision between old and new to transport the viewer into a near future environment designed to stave off and demonize its victims.


I am a multidisciplinary artist predominantly concerned with sculpture, collage and photography. My work explores the ideologies embodied in post-war and modern architecture. I synthesize philosophical concepts inspired by theorists such as Paul Virilio, Guy Debord, Jean Baudrillard and Franco Berardi with practices from past civilizations, creating a lens through which to view contemporary societal issues.

Joseph Goddard has shown work in exhibitions across the United Kingdom and in Greece. In 2019, these included “Summat 2019” at Leeds Tidal and “Brexit Show” at Dean Clough in Halifax. His work has appeared in Some Slashthings Magazine, AA Magazine, Art Reveal, A5 Magazine, Bauhaus Prairie, Creativpaper, Peripheral Arteries, and Disrupt.


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City of Nithstang: Mega Structure No. 2
photography; 2019

City of Nithstang: Mega Structure No. 3
photography; 2019

City of Nithstang: Mega Structure No. 4
photography; 2019

City of Nithstang No. 1
photography; 2018