Take away Lobster to Liverpool

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‘All the Fun of the Fair’ is the latest installation from Liverpool based artist Alison Little. As part of the Liverpool Independent Biennial, it is being exhibited at 5 Bold Place. She presents a scene based in the American seaside resorts of Maine Country where the lobster is king and sold from the takeaway food stalls which litter the coastal towns.

Alison Little is an Artist and Writer, though her work she looks to combine her creative practice across visual arts and literature. ‘All the Fun of the Fair’ in its first concept is a short story of a young student who is raped during a summer placement in fairground town in the United States. This was written by Alison Little and has been published on her Blog in addition to several zines. This has been developed into a full chapter for the novel she is writing: Casual Nexus. In combination with the creative writing process, Alison produced a giant, man-size Lobster made from a process of creating a polythene shell and filling this with shredded paper. As an artist, she has been developing this technique for several years and often identifies similar subject matters of sexual violence and mental health. The lobster was exhibited for Sound City in the Baltic Triangle in combination with a reading of the original fictional source in May of 2018.

‘All the Fun of the fair’ the installation suspends the giant lobster form in the windows of Bold place. The inner side of the works contains statements related to the violation which can be read when looked at the mirrors located on the lower level. Sand runs across the bottom of the installation, covered by an arrangement of broken beach toys and discarded low-cost trinkets. These elements suggest American, Maine County, in particular, beach holiday debris. We present a New England seaside town where the lobster is prominent on the takeaway food stalls which line the Seafront.

In the initial short story, the rapist is transformed into a giant lobster, the girl unable to move throughout the act. To the underside of the shelled creature, we have a collection of statements relating to sexual predication. ‘Invade’, ‘Assailant’ and ‘Molestation’ are all prominent terms amongst the others present. The broken mirror is positioned to the lower side of the giant sea creature, this allows the viewer to position themselves to read the terms from different angles.

The ground space of the installation is cover with sand to suggest the golden beaches of the North American seaside towns. However, the beach area is covered in litter to suggest adverse lifestyles. The discarded freezer blocks and pick nick cups, in addition to food stall waste, set the scene for an unpleasant beach holiday. The prominently positioned coffee cup displays a label from Maine County, combined with a Portland Take away lobster box indicate the New England North Atlantic Coast. The end of games and childhood fun are presented through the broken and lost assemblage of outdoor toys. The burst and deflating paddling pool suggest an end to the innocence of infancy. An indication of celebration but also destruction are introduced by the exploded firework and the burst balloon. Could this be a fourth of July party gone wrong? Cheap State side Larger is forefront in the window display, Budweiser cans convey a seafront drinking party where the cans have been swigged down at pace. The presence of rough sleepers, or more commonly terms vagrants is given through the squashed, toxically coloured cider bottle. The American term these individuals ‘Bums’, they are present in these towns during the summer months, they travel to the resorts when the population swells to solicit the tourists. On a darker note, we are presented with narcotics, the indication of a luminously coloured crack pipe, surrounded by packets of Rizzla, cigarette papers used to inhale cannabis. Do we have a scene of destruction where intoxication of controlled substances is a factor? Ultimately, we have a final item of sexual debris, a Durex wrapper, the Transatlantic term being ‘Sheaf’. Has there been a sex act gone wrong, a liaison which has ended in devastation?

On first inspection we see a Transatlantic beach holiday representation, on deeper investigation we see a holiday gone wrong. We see destruction and devastation, we see negativity and hostility.

Dates: 3 August – 3 September, 2018
Location: 5 Bold Place, Liverpool, L1 9DN

See Map

Times: 07:30 to 23:00 daily (viewing from street)


Art In Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent art works for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool.
Art in Windows

The Liverpool Biennal Independents runs from the 18th of July until the 28th of October.
Independents Biennial

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Light Night Performance

Greenery, the Guardian

Greenery, the Guardian is the latest poem from Alison Little, it will be performed as part of Light Night Liverpool.

Greenery, the Guardian

Green surrounds, the greenest of green
Green forever, then, green some more
Long grass, a simple fragment of sky
I wake sober in the distant field
My thoughts now clear and renewed
I arise, to begin the mountain climb
As I ascend I encircle the summit
Singing aloud as I scale
Joy found sorrow at full volume
Green, green, everlasting green
I belt out the tune loudly
Slightly lost wondering upward
Mind cleared, direction undetermined

Green, green, everlasting green
Grand green, gracious green
Greens, fresh, that make you sober
Greens, clear the storms of the mind
Rise up higher through the horizon
Entwining route through the sky
The greenery is my guardian
Its riches absorbed and treasured
I question my prophecy
In eye-shot the end of the climb
Green, green, everlasting green
I embrace the summits tip
Looking down towards the valley
Storm crashing back into the mind
Final vision, the anguish of last night

Alison Little

The poem was written as a translation to Romance Sonambulo by Frederico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936). The poem will be read tonight by Alison Little as part of the  Light Night Liverpool. She will be reading at the event held at the Hornby Library, Liverpool City Library between five and six PM on Friday the 18/05/18.

More about the Poem

Liverpool City Library

Light Night Liverpool

I am the Superlambanana

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I am the Superlambanana

I sit on the mantle-piece, brought in a drunken surge from the local bottle shop. Originally cast in China, a miniature of Liverpool finest public artworks. I stand on my plinth and I look around this room, I see the early morning starts, breakfasts followed by the waking of the dog and then the cleaning of the front room. Observing my raised peak tail I see it lacks the rub and polish it received at the factory in China, again when unpacked at the wholesalers, then an extra special rub over when placed by the spirits at the Off Licence. At the factory I was one in a million, on the cargo ship one in a thousand then finally a simple sidekick to the bells whiskey which too many drunks chose to ignore when they stagger into the shop. Here I am an individual, I am the Superlambanana not one of many. I should be kept shinier and more glam to twinkle in the sunlight, but I stand proud as an almighty One-off. Watching everything going on I am central to the house, the head of the main room. I am the focal point, I am the master, I am the controller. Watching them argue, listening to them make-up, seeing their tears and hearing their laughter. I understand their desires and their disdain and I watch when they collide. The pet dog gets a free rein of downstairs, but he is nothing on me, I am glossy and smooth, shapely, standing tall and proud. He is rough coated, shreds his fur and bounces in excitement. He scratches and brings home flea’s, I gleam clean, I am the supreme.

I am the Superlambana.

‘I am the Superlambanana’ is a work of Flash Fiction written by Alison Little in February of 2018, she has lived in Liverpool for fifteen years and witnessed the Superlambanana become a symbol of the city.

Donation Station

image with latex body parts copy

Donation Station is a sculptural installation proposal submitted to Dorset County Hospital. The intention of the Illustrate is to encourage organ donation and the chosen piece to be sited by the cardiology department in Dorchester.

 

Donation Station aims to locate a collection of concrete portable organ transplant refrigeration units within the cardiac courtyard. Each unit to feature a name panel being that of a celebrity or person who became famous medically because of an organ transplant procedure. Temporary over-size latex organs to be used for the private view for the installation opening and on occasions when the Hospital and the Cardiac Unit has a higher level of foot fall. The installation will encourage donation directly through the use of celebrity culture, indirectly by simply drawing attention to the need for organs to be donated.

The artist will work with a locally based firm within the Dorset region to create between nine and twenty-one internally re-enforced rough solid cement cast from the use of a portable refrigeration unit suitable for organ transportation. Each unit to measure around 50 x 30 and 50 cm in height, the exact size to be determined at a later date. A red dye to be used within the concrete mixing process to give them a sight pink tonal quality. The rough cement cast will give the units an artistic quality in terms of a raw edge suiting the subject of organ donation and the surgical operating process. The grid-like layout of the units looks to draw attention to the vast amounts of organs donations needed by the NHS on a daily basis. The grid structure to be laid out in three columns, the columns to depict the three people who die in need of an organ donation on a daily basis. The mathematical formation draws attention to the position of the process of donated organs are transported allowing for no error and perfection in timing matters.

Each Unit to show an external shape of the organ which it contains within its structure. The name of a celebrity or medically notable person to be etched onto a brass plaque attached to the front of the structure. The World Cup-winning footballer, George Best to be used against an organ of a liver representing the liver transplant operation which he undertook. In a similar manner, Lou Reed the American rock music legend could be represented. Medical milestones could be shown with a unit dedicated to Louis Wash Kansy the first man to receive a heart transplant. A second plaque to the back of the units would explain further details in regards to who is featured and the nature of the operation. There is also the potential for a unit to contain a brain the be transplanted, for the unit the be unnamed then the ethical considerations raised in more details on the rear plaque. Does the outcome result in the brain or body becoming the person in existence?

The over-size latex organs to be used for the private view for the installation and for occasions when the foot fall to the cardiac unit is higher. Each form to be made from individually moulded organs incorporation colour dyes which relate to the blood present during the operation procedures. Potentially each piece could be filled with water on a base level so as they were unlikely to be affected by environmental conditions such as wind. As they would be hollow internally they would be relatively easy to store in an internal facility. The option of the latex organs to be taken to various events to increase levels of those giving permission for the process has further potential.

Engagement with the installation and the potential to increase the numbers of organ donation works on varies levels. The latex forms have a strong visual impact which would draw attention to the art forms created which would be reflected through the media reaching the public on a greater scale. The dramatic effect of the rubber organs would draw further attention to the art form when used at busy footfall periods. The concrete units to create interest from the platform of the many windows present around the courtyard. The installation can then be engaged with on a secondary level, the plates can be read and the procedures identified with on a higher level. In today celebrity-obsessed culture should lead to greater participation in the organ donation process. The potential to invite debate over the identity of an individual if this procedure was to occur is immense.

The Donation Station is an innovative installation which will engage on an emotional, cultural and ethical level. We identify with lives which could be saved through the process, our passions for the celebrity-obsessed culture of the twenty-first century Britain, but equally to engage the debate over the ethics of the ultimate organ transplant: the brain.

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Starlet

Starlet image copy

Starlet is a fictional work from Alison Little, none of the charters or events are based on real life.

Starlet

She brushes her hair after her mid-morning bath, her routine so much more leisurely than her childhood days of rushing between casting and filming. She had become a star at the age of three, the Americans and due to the nature of Hollywood, the rest of the World took her into their hearts. A little lady who took the people away from the misery of the Depression in the thirties for a few hours in front of the big screen. The girl that had had everything any child could dream of: leading roles in the latest blockbusters, starring with headline grabbing names. Routines of hair and make-up, no-one ever questioning the sexualisation of the pre-teen, the beautifying process to ensure she was truly gorgeous on the big screen. Her own range of commercial products and, every girl’s dream, her own doll moulded to her features and dressed in her clothes; Black and sassy, hair dark and glossy with bright red lips. Her childhood years were spent marking the milestones of her mothers next high profile marriage. As a Hollywood star herself her Mother had ensured that she pushed her daughter in the same direction after all, fame and fortune was all every girl needed, all anyone should ever desire. She secured the best parts for her daughter and demanded she made the most of them. There was not too young an age to learn that appearance, to be envied by women and to be desired by Men was life’s primal goal.

She really did have it all, but at the age of twenty-two, she decided to give it all up, apart from a few cameo roles acting, singing and dancing were no more. Her Mother dictating her life’s direction was no longer, she made her own decisions.

A soft bristled brush, she quickly neatens her hair, a shorter more practical cut now, still naturally dark but sleeker towards her jaw. Thinking back to her childhood she remembers how she had used to give her hair one hundred strokes to ensure it stays shiny as it lies down her back, again at her Mothers insistence. An exercise in vanity while the other girls played with the dolls modelled on herself. Walking into her wardrobe to select her clothing, opting for a neatly waisted skirt and fitted top. She will look smart and decisive in this attire. She looks herself up and down in the dressing table mirror. Very competent as a well dressed she would ensure she appeared to be a happily married mother of two children she thinks to herself. Her mind turns to her recent disappointment, her husbands latest affair had come out in the gutter trash of the daily press. She had not realised that he had been having an affair, not a new one anyway, there had been so many she had lost track after their second child was born. This time it was more of an embarrassment, he a celebrity artist they had met early on in his career, he had returned from fighting in Europe in the War. He had built up fame ass an abstract painter, his celebrity status excelling when they had begun dating. So as she stepped out the lime light he had stepped in, as he became more famous the headlines began to refer to him by his name, not simply husband of Starlet, Hollywood’s legendary child star. This time it was more of a humiliation, even bigger headline news, the women he had been having the affair with was his life model. Although abstract painters didn’t use life models the press had jumped on the notion as a great story. He had been amidst an alcohol fuel period for several months. She had been avoiding him and ensured the children didn’t see him during these bourbon flavoured patches. He would spend much of his time at his studio, his paintings very dark during these periods. Many of his evenings were spent at endless parties accompanied by various women, other than herself. It was at one of these parties he had been photographed in an embrace with the so called life model come high-class hooker she thought to herself. It had knocked her terribly, she would put a brave face on things for the children and wait until he begged her to take him back. She didn’t know what she would do, say yes or no, it was still too fresh a wound to determine if it could be healed.

Then she looks in the mirror again, the vision comes directly from the heart: she remembers herself as a young girl and she sees a girl of stone. Transfixed and still in motion, no breath, no heartbeat, fixed solid as a rock like form. Her beauty is her shell, her outward appearance, her internal organs are dead to life and emotions. To the outside world she sings, dances, acts and socialises, on the inside, she is frozen still. The dark haired Starlet had become a mature mother who no longer sang and danced, but she was still the same, she must project an image of confidence and success to the World, she may be facing a marriage breakdown but she would continue to allude confidence.

Slowly she moves towards the window, she takes a cigarette from her pack of twenty and she lights it with the marble weighted table lighter. She feels the weight of the marble in her hand, she looks through the expanse of the window of their lakeside Mansion. She thinks about tearing her arm backwards, aiming forwards then projecting the shot put through the outstretched glass pain. A vision of a missile exploding, shrapnel in pursuit of every direction as it projects into the horizon of the lakes edges.

Calming herself, she inhales slowly enjoying the nicotine rush, they were only just beginning to talk about the health risks of smoking now, she had no intention of giving up, her lifelong habit would remain her many vices. She gazes out of the window, her eyes scan the lake: the mountains standing tall in the distance, the expanse of the lake stretching out for miles into the horizon. The pine trees surround the lake looking tall and healthy, strong and worldly, the American way. On the left shore she can see the small cluster of cherry tree’s, she thinks back to the cocktail that had been created in her name. The mixture of ginger ale vodka and tequila topped off with the finest cherries, a highly toxic variety which seemed appropriate for the US dark haired icon.

She looks towards the glass she had been drinking from until late last night, the gin bottle with still quite a bit in it was free to consume. The ice had melted and the lemon had dried up, the tonic was warm but still neatly assembled on the tray which was brought up to her last night. She considered calling down to Ebinger the Mexican housekeeper who came in on weekdays. It was eleven in the morning and she didn’t want her to know she going to start drinking so early in the day. He had sent her over the edge, into the abyss to alcohol added depression, the worrying over everything and seeing no positivity in the future. She made do with warm tonic to accompany the gin then fuelled her mind with another cigarette.

The water laps the rocks which align the edges of the tides path, her eyes focus on the jetty. The small lock up at the end proudly parading the star spangled banner at full mast. An array of brightly coloured kayaks lines one side of the landing,

She thinks back to a movie she had made not long after the second world war. She was all of sixteen and playing a naval Seels sweet heart, she stays loyal to him as he sails seas and coverts with women on the South Pacific. She had not been keen as they had wanted her virtually nude in many of the sex scenes, but her Mother, as usual, had decided it was what was in her best interests. She thinks back to the days of making the movie, a chance to escape her domestic nightmares, her mothers latest husband, she was now on number five had decided he preferred the junior dark haired Starlet to the mature beauty of her mother. He had started walking in when he knew she would be changing when she started blocking the door way with furniture he began ensuring he walked out of the bathroom naked when he knew she was the only one in the house. She made sure she was never alone in the house with him, staying late and making new arrangements to avoid his company. One of the older actors on the set had realised that something was wrong, he had spoken to the director, an old friend of her mothers he had come to the same conclusion. He tried to raise the matter with her mother but she would not believe a word of it, rejecting the logic put forward. Starlet continued to suffer enduring him at meals and more frequently over the festive season. As she looked for escape her domestic nightmare her drinking had begun, eventually leading to the meeting of her current husband.

Looking towards the other moorings her eyes focus on a small motor boat, the stern facing towards the expanse horizon. To take the boat and plough at full speed towards civilisation furthest outpost, how easy it would be to end everything, for the weight of her boulder shaped organs to drag her to the bottom of the lake. Her slow and solid lungs to fill with the water from the basin of nature’s whirlpool. The starter motor of the heart pumps sludge slowly through her internal organs to fail to kick in. The once long dark hair intertwined with the weeds at the bottom of the cycle of life, she would be no more……….