Convict Blanket

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Convict blanket is the latest art activism works from concept-based arts practitioner, Alison Little. A sensation to shock and stand against rape, rape culture and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime within our society.

Convict blanket confronts us with the homage style of using material available, in this case, the humble scratch provoking woollen coverings of the bed. The use of blanket stitch and appliqué reminiscent of techniques used in prison protests where all resources must be reclaimed from the sparse provisions available when incarcerated. The blanket is floor-based, slightly raised to one side. The text and images locate with the nearest edge in which they are placed, allowing the viewer to read the statements as their paths encircle the form. The use of hand-embroidered text reminiscent of the marker pen on corrugated card portrayals commonplace throughout activism. Texts vary in scale, case and font in regards to the emphasis placed on the statement which is being presented. Large bold statements often present definitive assertions, small joined-up style wording is often examples of dialogue and opinions of the minority. The black text looks to address how to reduce the numbers of sex attacks by convicting more rapists. In opposition, the red highlights issues within society and the authorities put in place to tackle sex crime which are failing at every given opportunity. Although male rape is equally as relevant, this identifies with female rape which is statistically committed in greater numbers.

The first of the black text presents a printed abbreviation, ‘HMP‘. This is commonplace within the UK, ‘Her Majesties Prisons’ being the full term and the title for units of incarceration. The larger appliqué fonts present ‘Convict‘ and ‘Rapist‘, indicating an intention for more sex offenders to be serving custodial sentences. This is emphasized in greater detail by a well-defined corner based statement:

We must press for the conviction of more rapists.’

A powerful sentence, stating the motivation behind the activism, the use of the second person to engage the viewer with the protest.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is common among rape survivors is raised within smaller statements. Dressing down as a result of being raped is proposed, backed up by an image of a ‘Hide under’ hoodie. Larger texts draw attention to statistics:

‘1 in 10 rapes are reported to the Police, of these only 1 in 10 lead to a conviction.’

Due to current changes within the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) this figure is currently much lower. The statistic highlights how rape is one of the most under-reported crimes. The statement is reinforced by the pie chart indicating that only 1% of rapes committed lead to a conviction.

Patriarchy is addressed, male supremacy being a factor in why rape is not being tackled effectively. Police apathy over sexual assault cases is presented. Demands towards the recruitment of ‘Strong, capable women,’ are made, requesting women who will prioritise rape over trivia to be brought into the Police Force. Drawing attention to the vulnerability of the rape survivor, showing how there needs should be prioritized. The black statements concluding with the most vital statement of them all, the rapist being ‘100%‘ to blame for rape.

The red text looks to highlight why our society is failing to reduce numbers in terms of sexual assault and punishing more sex offenders through the penal system. The large appliqué terms read ‘Rape Culture’ and ‘Victim Blaming’. Across the blanket, we have statements which highlight examples of victim-blaming, itself a factor within rape culture. Projections of low morals, promiscuous clothing, the rape survivor being presented as ‘The Whore’ and extreme example of ‘Slut-shaming’ are identified. Misconceptions around PTSD are given, many are still not aware that this condition is commonplace with rape survivors. The second delusion of rape being unusual is also stated. Narcotic and alcohol use are presented, suggestions that mild cannabis inhalation could result in hallucinations an example of ignorance. Again, blaming the victim through alcohol consumption, the concept of consenting to sex being overlooked.

Patriarchy being stated, showing the focus of the law to be on protecting men from being falsely accused of rape. How the Police Force is male-dominated, the notion of many of these ‘Men’ having little intentions of acting against rape, in this, recruiting weak, feeble women to actively fail rape survivors. This is developed by drawing attention to the actions of many Police Women, their sole contribution to a rape enquiry to be establishing what happens when they get dressed up, thus providing the opportunity for them to reflect on their superior beauty. The trivial nature of operatives, examples of attire being copied being prioritised as opposed to communicating the nature of the sex attack. This is matched by their counterparts, Policemen, many are only interested in their prowess, continually falsifying reports on how the rape survivor is attracted to themselves. Looking at the attitudes of Police personnel, those who feel that they are not expected to do anything in a rape case, the extremities being the role of the rape victim to protect and shelter vulnerable officers.

Ultimately, the saddest statement of all:

‘It was my fault I was rapped.’

The victims who blame themselves, a factor in why so many crimes are not reported to the authorities.

‘Convict Blanket’, innovative works, at the helm within the spectrum of art activism. Artwork which can challenge misconceptions around rape, concepts which can address issues in society and confront the authorities put in place to act against rape. Ultimately, ‘Convict Blanket’ will lead to the conviction of more rapists, reducing rape crime and proposes a safer society.

Convict Blanket will be exhibited from spring 2020.

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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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Suspended: Bold Place

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The Female Suspension

The female suspension takes over 5 Bold Place until the 8th of April. The lower bodies were hooked through the groin and suspended from chains earlier in the week. In the shadows of the Bombed Out Church, Bold Place lies directly beside St Luke’s Church, Liverpool City Centre.

The Female suspension is an installation which addresses a world of sexual violence. The lower bodies and limbs of numerous women who have been raped are suspended by chained, hooks penetrating their groins. Meat like, a waste product, violated then disposed of like an animal carcass meat still to be stripped from the bones.

This will be the fourth installation to take over at 5 Bold place as part of the art in windows project. Art in Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent artworks for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool.

The form is a female abdomen and legs extending down to the feet. Each represents a rape victim, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate:

Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

(WHO, media centre, Violence against women, fact sheet, updated November 2016)

The charity Rape Crisis England and Wales respond to an average of 3,000 calls per month from women who have been raped. In November 2017 there were 422 recorded violent and sex offences recorded in Liverpool alone. It is estimated that only one in every ten incidents of rape are reported to the Police: the actual figure is projected to be much higher.

Polythene and shredded paper are used to create each of the sculptural works, red toned papers are used around the groin area to reflect the pain suffered from the attack. Wire wool is used to represent the pubic hair, this demonstrates resistance from the violation. The lack of upper body and stones in the feet show a woman who was unable to oppose the onslaught. The hook is driven through the groin area, this enables us to reflect upon the extreme violence used in sex attacks. We view the forms suspended in a commercial environment, infinite in number and we are given the impression that more will simply be added to the collection.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension, she has been North -West based for the last decade and worked on commissions from the Superlambanana trail to the Penguins. Her most recent conceptual works are SV: Sex by Violence, a series of four animated sculptures which show the different stages of a sex attack. Alison helps Organise the Reclaim the Night March held in spring in Liverpool annually. The intentions behind the exhibition as a means of activism against sexual violence and to play its role in her campaign work.

The Female Suspension which will shock, inform, evoke debate and lead to social reform in direct regards to Rape crime.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension will be talking to Ngunan Adama about the Installation to be broadcast on Radio Merseyside Sunday 11/03/18 from 8 till 10 pm.

Radio Merseyside

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Artist Talk: The Female Suspension

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The Female suspension is an installation which addresses a world of sexual violence. The lower bodies and limbs of numerous women who have been raped are suspended by chained, hooks penetrating their groins. Meat like, a waste product, violated then disposed of like an animal carcass meat still to be stripped from the bones.

This will be the fourth installation to take over at 5 Bold Place as part of the art in windows project. Art in Windows is a small organisation that works with landlords and artists to commission and curate temporary and permanent artworks for display in empty windows in and around Liverpool. Windows have varied from those in empty shops in the city centre and on local high streets, to empty units in shopping centres and even in houses on residential streets. Art in Windows’ displays range from a single installation for two weeks, to a series of different installations across many months.

The form is a female abdomen and legs extending down to the feet. Each represents a rape victim, The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate:

Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

(WHO, media centre, Violence against women, fact sheet, updated November 2016)

The charity Rape Crisis England and Wales respond to an average of 3,000 calls per month from women who have been raped. In April 2017 there were 422 recorded violent and sex offences recorded in Liverpool alone. It is estimated that only one in every ten incidents of rape are reported to the Police: the actual figure is projected to be much higher.

Polythene and shredded paper are used to create each of the sculptural works, red toned papers are used around the groin area to reflect the pain suffered from the attack. Wire wool is used to represent the pubic hair, this demonstrates resistance from the violation. The lack of upper body and stones in the feet show a woman who was unable to oppose the onslaught. The hook is driven through the groin area, this enables us to reflect upon the extreme violence used in sex attacks. We view to forms suspended in a warehouse environment, infinite in number and we are given the impression that more will simply be added to the collection.

Alison Little, the artist behind the Female Suspension, she has been North -West based for the last decade and worked on commissions from the Superlambanana trail to the Penguins. Her most recent conceptual works are SV: Sex by Violence, a series of four animated sculptures which show the different stages of a sex attack. They were exhibited in a solo show at zauhause gallery, Gostins Hanover Street (Liverpool City Centre) in July of 2017. In the months prior to this, she curated a group show ‘Shatter the Silence, Violence against women’ held at the Quaker Meeting House, School Lane (Liverpool City Centre). ‘Life from the Waist Down’ is the fourth of the series, representing the recovery process it was exhibited at Unit 51, Baltic Triangle (Liverpool) for 2016 Mental Health week. On the previous year she showed Brainscape as similar human head form and in 2014 Bipolar B was created for the celebrations at the Williamson Gallery in Birkenhead. In 2016 she worked on a commission for the race equality centre in Derby where a polyethene figure and a broken wheelchair were created to draw attention to race hate crime. Her first work relating the sexual violence was in 2014 for the Speaking Out exhibition at Embrace Arts, University of Leicester. The work was exhibited and Alison attended the Speaking Out conference where she addressed the delegates on the thought processes behind her work. Prior to that, she ran a successful funding bid and project managed the prospering ‘Rags Boutique’ as part of the ‘Shops up Front’ scheme from Liverpool City Council. This was an exhibition space and workshop venue was the use of found object was utilised to maximum effect. Alison helps Organise the Reclaim the Night March held in spring in Liverpool annually. The intentions behind the exhibition as a means of activism against sexual violence and to play its role in her campaign work.

The Female Suspension which will shock, inform, evoke debate and lead to social reform in direct regards to Rape crime.

Exhibition runs from the 5th of March, 5 Bold Place, Liverpool, L1 9DN

Free view from Street location.

Artist Talk to be held on International Women’s Day, Thursday the 8th of March from 6.30-7pm. Talk starting at Bold Place then either being held inside or to be moved to another location possible to be provided by John Moores Uni. Details to be confirmed, to book:

Free Ticket

Art in Windows

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Sleet Feet

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Sleet Feet in an extract from the fictional novel: Casual Nexus, currently being written by Alison Little. No characters or events depicted are based on real life.

 

Sal looks up towards the sky, daylight was only just beginning to make its way through the intensity of the waterlogged clouds. She looks up towards the street lamp, sleet is falling heavily, the cold ice of the snow combined with the raw whipping of the rain. The lamp shines from the centre, enlightening the heavy grey of the skies expanse. The sleet flickers across the illumination lashing towards the ground before it disintegrates and draws its way through the drainage systems. Sal shivers slightly, her feet were cold as her trainers were worn badly, the soles almost coming away from the main body even after being glued back together last week. Her mother had insisted on buying her new trainers for her return to college in September, because of the lack of money Sal had opted for a cheap pair and they were in tatters. She decided she would get a new pair at the weekend after she was paid off her part-time job collecting glasses. She wouldn’t be left with very much but there was a bit extra from the evenings she had covered to avoid Jack. The icy water seeps into her shoes, making its way to her toes as she shakes on the winters morning.

It is Wednesday of the week her brother Jack is home on leave from the army, Sal had been up and out before he had even got out of bed. Since his return on Sunday evening, she had managed to avoid any real contact with him. Apart from an obligatory ‘Hello’ she had either been out of the house or been able to make an excuse to go to bed early. This evening was, in fact, the only one where she was not covering a shift in the pub except Sunday, he should be going back on Monday, then she would be safe again. That afternoon Sal had stayed late in six form, there was an informal table tennis contest going on and she joined in, playing well in view of how distracted she felt. When everyone began to drift off she stayed until there were only one or two others then began to make her way slowly towards home. The darkness had returned, bringing the sleet and ice of the rain with it as the sunset. Although a fast walker Sal took her time, wandering from side to side making progress like a ship lost at sea, circling the expanse of the ocean.

Toes begin to blue as the ice from the sleet seep into the over worn trainers, Sal returns to the smell of her Mum cooking dinner. When she inquires about the location of Jack her Mother explains that he had going to stay with friends for the evening. Relief floods into Sal’s mind than through the tense muscles of her body. Later that evening she decides to boil pots for a bath, as she lies back, her small breasts covered by the bubbling foam bath she hears the rain rattling as it cuts intensely through the black of the night.

She thinks about how she will be safe tonight.