Block Works

Blanket 058

Block Works is the latest concept based practice from Alison Little: comprising of a series of sculptural forms which represent areas of urban residence. An ethnology process where collections of discarded objects are cemented together in block form. The artifacts are selected and encased in the common urban material offering an explanation of those who occupy the city space, their lifestyles and methods human existence.

Everton Block Works engages our attention with the towering form of the engine suspension system, reflecting the second-hand car culture commonplace within the area. Several narcotics smoking devices emerge from the upper surface, indicating drug use within the external environment. Homelessness or the misguided pursuits accountable as youth culture. Contrasted by the healthy activities of dog walking, shown by a lead and enhanced by an exercise equipment suspension spring. An adjacent feather shows the ever present urban pigeon, commonplace within cities globally. The top surface encases a heavy industrial ring, accompanied by screw findings, rope matter throughout the form. Manual work being common with local inhabitants. Child’s playthings are present, but items from £1 stores from lower-income families. The edges of the block are lined by food consumer packaging waste: crisp packets, fizzy and alcoholic drinks cans. A suburb where the unhealthy diet is prominent and drink alcohol a persistent activity. The greens and grays of the blocks finish reflect the mix of residential and urban green space which dominates the Everton area.

The top section of Anfield Block Works is entangled by the dynamics of a discarded cable. Other electric wastes reflect a culture where the inhabitants are happy to discard debris freely. An array of drinks top illustrates further examples of poor diet, however, an exercise water bottle top suggests healthy activities. This is joined by a dog toy and tennis ball, positive pursuits within a leisure space. Again, a pigeon feather evidence of urban wildlife. Examples of gambling additions within the district can be drawn from the miniature blue pen of the bookies. Wire wool, cable systems and sponge matter indicating manual tasks occurring within the outdoor spectrum. The Liverpool football stadium ‘Anfield’ being a central hub of the district. The inflatables from match-days, the drinks straws from spectators present in the block formed in the shadows of the Kop. The final colour showing a degraded range of greens and blacks, an urban green space heavily polluted by the traffic of the stadium.

The Block Works Collection with expand across the city and further afield. More collections with be collated, encased and presented as representations of the city and occupants.

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A Void

womb

A Void

In this, I have agreed to what was termed ‘A life modelling process’ for an artist seeking volunteers for a project he is working on. I stand before him in my dressing gown, nude underneath and wondering what he wants me to do, he tells me:

‘Don’t worry, I have done this lots of times before.’

From this, I am somewhat reassured, but still, air a little caution.

‘I just need you to lie down so I can paint you with latex.’

In this he shows me the latex, it’s white and when he paints a little of my arm it feels cold but pleasant on my form. I agree to the process and he helps me untie my dressing gown belt, although naked I feel comfortable in front of him, he has put me at ease.

I lie down under his direction and move into the position he needs me to be in. He starts painting around my neck area, slowly but surely working his way down. He is careful but professional as he covers my breasts, making sure he only touches my nipples with the horse hair bristles of the paint brush.

Working his way further down my body he comes to the groin area. I become nervous again, worrying about what he is about to do.

‘Relax, I have done this many times before.’

I let my muscles fall low, then with warm air, he blows gently inside myself. From this, like magic, I open right up like a great white shark about to launch an attack.

‘That’s right, good, you’re doing well.’

He directs, then he moves onto his back and slides his head and upper body inside my womb. From this, he begins to paint, carefully and professionally, coating the walls of my womb and ovaries in latex. When he has finished he edges out carefully and puts each hand delicately on the inside of my legs. Then without touching me with his lips he sucks air from the inside of myself. I return to my normal size, at ease with everything going on, amazed at what has been performed by this genius.

From this, he works down my legs in a similar motion. He then turns me over to work on my back and lower body. So relaxed with the brush motion I am almost asleep when he finishes:

‘We just need to wait for it to dry.’

He whispers, in this, he picks up an old fashioned guitar and begins to sing folk songs.

He wakes me up to tell me that it’s time to peel the latex off. I stand up for him and he begins stretching off the suited coating, carefully going over my breasts. After my ribs he stops and places a hand on each side of myself, then he kisses my forehead, gently and childlike in motion. As I smile he gets back to action, working the form off down to my lower body.

After a gentle shake, my womb falls out. Before me, I see its squashed in structure, perfect on the inner coating, but de-revelled on the outer. My ovaries flop out almost deformed and entwined, messy and forlorn. Ahead of me, I see the babies, I will never give birth to and the children I will never raise. The bedtime stories I will never read, the play parks I will never go to, the football matches I will never go to and the school plays I will never attend. In this he finishes the removal process, then he shakes out the body-like creation. He clips it onto a line, in this, it stands tall and strong, an independent being, strong, singular, but of great value.

Alison Little

A Void is a flash Fiction works from Alison Little. This piece was first performed in the Hornby Rooms, Central Library, Liverpool for International Women’s Day in 2018. The subsequent year it read for an event marking the same celebrations held during the 209 Women exhibition marking the centenary of women being able to vote in the UK (Although restricted to those over 30 and with property).

The illustration was also created by Alison Little using a bamboo dip stick pen and Indian ink. It feature a close up of a womb and creates an impression of scarring. She is looking to make a sculptural piece from latex later in 2020 to represent the works.

More about 209 Women exhibition, Open Eye Gallery

Re-coil

Ro-coil image

Re-coil ia a flash fiction works written by Alison Little, the events and people are not based on real life.

Tired and exhausted I sit beside a woman munching crisps loudly as she crumples the cheap multi-pack packet, it has been a really long day and it is only just after one in the afternoon. Awaiting a local train after paying a ridiculous fair, strike action being declared through the screen projections. Surrounded, everyone else seems to be inhaling nicotine, the friends of the Station flower planter devoid of sprays of colour or foliage, omitted of community attention. Quite simply a large soil filled communal ashtray, the only real benefit being after a downpour the soil retails the water and distinguishes the cigarettes quickly. A gruelling wait, the tin block modular train jerks its way along the platform, the others and I enter choosing between the front and back carriage. I select a seat convenient to the door to save walking further, away it pulls then crawls snail’s pace towards its destined city. As my rear end settles into the lump filled, once public sector owned upholstery, I gaze out at the former mill and mining towns.

Night previous spent sleeplessly tossing from edge to edge, flipping over and returning while checking the timer on my phone to repeatedly determine that only a further half an hour had passed. Mind anxious as it worked its way through lists of debts, teeth grinding back and forth as I tried to decline from vomiting over the bedroom floor a stain still present from an earlier regurgitation. Eventually, I managed twenty minutes of shut-eye only to be awoken sharply by my alarm as ‘Hello Moto’ consumes to the deadly silence of the pre-day brake.

No time to lye in, or catch up on sleep missed, a day filled to the brim from start to finish. Backpack loaded, breakfast wrapped, onto the bike, to the Central station. On time, thank you, no hold ups.

To follow a morning of adjoining crammed local journeys, short distances taking long periods of time. At last at the meeting and only ten minutes late, appearing to be on time. Only marginally behind over the three and a half hours the distance of under one hundred miles had taken with local trains.

My thoughts gallop stringently toward the thought that I simply don’t want to do anything today, but then I know I will be back on form in a few days, I will push off this tiredness, this drench on my enthusiasm.

The train screeches into a midway town, jerking in full motion against the platform. I look around the station, a girl on the other platform tries to calm her boyfriend as he angary pull his shirt from his torso repeatedly. As the journey progresses my eyes glance around the passengers in my carriage. Bleach blond but too old, bald head but too young, child loving but downtrodden by bad behaviour. An assortment of motleys joining my journey as my thoughts contradict the artistry of my heart.

I visualise my intentions from the meeting, piece and my interventions. I will want to function again, contact and respond, direct and decipher, moderate and deliver, but not till tomorrow.

Simply re-coil home.