Monthly Archives: June 2016

SoCo Artists: Showcase

SoCo Artists: Showcase

This is news of an exhibition which might be of interest to people interested in dialogues between visual art and geography, place and space.

I am an artist-member of Landscape Surgery, with a practice based in drawing. I’m also a member of ‘SoCo’, or South Coast Artists, a professional Hastings-based group. The society has produced a ‘Showcase’ exhibition of selected members’ work in which I am happy to be included – see here for details.

For some time now one strand of my work has been the visual exploration of ideas of self and community through the metaphor of dwelling, thinking of walls, windows, doors, passages, stairs, as built suggestions of mental barriers, mental openings, flights, traps, spaces which connect and those which separate. In this work I’m using a variety of materials such as earth, wax, silk and paper to investigate how such materialities inflect meaning in unexpected ways.

If anyone can get to the show that would be great! However, I’ll also be showing related work in London later in the year in Chelsea and Westminster Reference Library and in The Stone Space, Leyton. More news on those exhibitions nearer the time.

Helen Scalway

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The Dystopia of Sodor: Thomas the Tank Engine and Neoliberalism

Thomas - the perfect neoliberal subject

Thomas – the perfect neoliberal subject

Thomas the Tank Engine, the popular children’s book and TV series, has been with us for 70 years, and still captures the imagination of children around the world. As a father of two rapidly growing-up children, trains seem to have some sort of mystic fascination with the preschool demographic. So it is no surprise that Thomas the Tank Engine is one of the world’s most recognised toy brands.

Thomas lives on the Island of Sodor, a mythical, small countryside island in the Irish Sea, just off the coast from Barrow-in-Furness. The trains are colourful, largely happy and busy, while the people go about normal lives in school, on the farm or on the railways. The trouble is, though, this surface-level utopian English-countryside-mid-twentieth-century idyll belies a far more sinister neoliberal allegory that pervades the daily minutiae of Thomas and his friends. The more of Thomas I watch, the more its ideologies of subservience, self-interest, prejudice and the constant imprinting of capitalist relations on everyday life ooze through the veneer of cutesy anthropomorphic trains. I would like to explore, here, just three ways in which Thomas the Tank Engine is far from a utopian idyll, but, rather, is a nightmarish vision of a society dominated by neoliberal capitalist ideologies. Continue reading

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Upcoming Event: HERITAGE FIGHT — passengerfilms

Join us for an evening of film and discussion in an exploration of protest, conservation and environmental values in our screening of award-winning documentary HERITAGE FIGHT (2012). Directed by Eugénie Dumont, HERITAGE FIGHT follows the citizens and traditional owners (the Goolarabooloo) of lands in a small town in Australia’s last great wilderness. The film documents […]

via Upcoming Event: HERITAGE FIGHT — passengerfilms