Fluctulation

Fluctulation Image copy

Fluctulation is a poetic form written for National Poetry Day, 2018 around the subject of change.

Fluctuation

When I am up I am alive
Answer every question, phone call, email
Positive moves forward I strive
Bounce and jump, free I sail

When I am down I hide away
Into bed, into covers, I crawl
Unpeel my skin in disarray
In the darkness, hide, two feet tall

On a high, I paint and draw
Forwards I roll
Content reading, write some more
Ten feet tall

Falling lower, bottom of the glass
Nicotine on hand
Clutter surrounds on mass
Swollen gland’

To the sky, I want to fly
In love with life, I seek romance
Absorb, with joy I cry
Excitement, sing and dance

Fading, grab another beer
Regretting every faceless man I screwed
My confusion, these men sneer
Recalling their attention, lewd

Rising up I demand success
More desired, fight to get there
Onslaught of thoughts, less
Mind ignores the growling bear

Drawing down I pour to the rim
Regretting every joint I ever rolled
Ecstasy pills that made me grin
Narcotics that made me bold

Well again, head is clear
Visions of beautiful sights
Falling down again I fear
Try to control my minds flights

Up, I am positively ruthless
Down, visions of myself toothless

I will push to control my mind
Not to fall, put positives on downwind

Alison Little

Fluctulation: Early plans for Installation

Small Steps and Art Activism

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Last Thursday saw Small Steps events take over Make on North Liverpool Docks.

Small Steps runs events to highlight social issues through the arts. Last Thursday saw an eclectic mix of performance, a breathtaking visual arts exhibition and engaging workshops drawing attention to Mental Health.

Cork-based artist Ann Mechelinck showed us how craft-based practice can highlight mental health issues with several pieces she exhibited at Make. Mechelinck spent many years living and working in Belgium as an administrator. On her return to Ireland, she decided to re-engage with her creative passions and began a body of study Crawford College in Cork. The most prominent of her works in the exhibition was ‘Release’. In this, she explores the restrictions we face in life by materialism, relationships and expectations. Using a knotted structure which she allows this to
‘Release’ free onto the floor. An exceptional fibre artist using structuring techniques to explore mental well-being.

Rebecca Hancock brought some intensely scratched text art to the exhibition. Hancock is a recent graduate from Central St Martins in the Capital. She uses her work to express; fantasies, hopes and dreams, but equally, vulnerability, anxieties and fears. The work exhibited ‘March 2016-Present Day’ presents hand scribed re-writing of eight months of diary entries. The period covers changes in medication and severe depressive episodes combined with panic attacks and anxiety. Raw, unmoderated, expression of coping and not coping with evolving cerebral turmoil.

We were taken on a journey by Moscow based film-makers Diana Galimzyanova and Artem Gavrilyuk-Bozhko. Galimzyanova’ rapidly expanding collection of award-winning short films have been shown at more than sixty festivals and fifteen countries. ‘Painting the Abyss’ came to Make last week stunning its audiences. The actor begins to paint his face with a light reflection of a cross central to the screen. As black is added the face paints formate into a type of warpaint, a kind of camouflage. As this progresses, old-dated, black and white train travel scenes are superimposed onto the footage. The narrative climaxes as the actor drops his head back and looks towards the ceiling. He marks a cross on each side of his neck indicating where to cut was an assumed knife. This progresses into the removal of the paints from the face. Powerful use of moving image which confronts us with the grim realities of ending one’s life.

Painting the Abyss

Not forgetting the painted works of Philip Chandler identifying with long-term depression. Gender roles were challenged by the embroideries of Jonathan Beavon. The floor space was occupied by another showing of Alison Little’ SV: Sex by Violence in Liverpool.

A remarkable exhibition, a fully engaging evening and evidence that art activism can make a real difference.

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Small Steps

Make

Ann Mechelinck

Rebecca Hancock

Diana Galimzyanova

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

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

Legs one image copy

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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Virginia Woolf and the Hours

Hours

The Hours

Three Women, One day.

Michael Cunningham’ novel, The Hours and the movie version, Directed by Stephen Daldry, gives a very accurate portrayal of Virginia Woolf beginning with her final act: suicide. The narrative intertwines the lives of three women: Virginia Woolf, Laura Brown an unhappy housewife in 1950’s Loss Angeles and Clarissa Vaughan a bisexual woman living at the end of the twentieth century in New York City. In this, we explore mortality, social roles, lesbianism and artistic endeavour throughout both the novel and the film.

The prologue begins with Virginia Woolf walking, almost marching towards the River Ouse to ultimately drown herself. On her way she stops to pick up a large stone, admiring its form as she does so. She then proceeds to enter the water, the actual death scene in the film echoing the great painting Ophelia by John Everett Millais of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood. Virginia takes in every detail of everything around her until the life has gone from her. We then switch back to 1923 when she is not so unwell, a happier time, the day when she begins to write one of her most successful novels ‘Mrs Dalloway’. Throughout the day she adds details to the novel from events which occur. After the embrace with her sister, she decides that Mrs Dalloway will have been in love with another woman when she was younger. After observing a dying bird she decides that Mrs Dalloway will commit suicide over something very trivial, a domestic choir. She later changes her mind, lets the character live but replaces the act with the suicide of a soldier. After handling her servant, Nelly badly she decides that Mrs Dalloway will be remarkably good at handling servants and writes this into the dialogue. Her sister is in fact very good with servants and her presence in the novel provides a contrast to Virginia. The production also gives a strong insight into her mental health the penultimate climax of her narrative being her journey to the train station where Leonard her devoted husband finds her and takes her home to keep her from harm’s way.

Laura Brown is living in Los Angela’s in mid-twentieth Century America. In this she is living the American Dream, she has a beautiful house, a loving husband, a war hero, a son and is expecting a second baby. However, ultimately, she is deeply unhappy with her life and the domestic role which she has been handed. This is symbolised by the Cake which she bakes for her husbands Birthday: Although the cake is perfectly adequate she wants it to be a work of art to reflect how perfect she is at domestic life, so she throws it out and starts again. Later in the novel, she becomes enraged when Dan, her husband, spits slightly when he blows out the candles. Her neighbour, Kitty, presents a contrasting character to Laura. She is loud, glamorous and was very popular at High School, where she was more interested in reading. Kitty character introduces the theme of fertility to the hours, Woolf never having children herself. Laura and Kitty embrace in a similar way the sisters earlier in the novel. Laura’ activities link to Virginia Woolf through the reading of Mrs Dalloway, taking time to ensure she reads more of the works. Her narrative climax’ in a hotel room where she seriously contemplates committing suicide. Outside of the context of the book, she fails in an attempt to commit suicide in recovery she leaves her family and moves to Canada.

Clarissa Vaughan is a bisexual woman living at the end of the twentieth century in New York City. Her character embodies the character of Mrs Dalloway in the Woolf’ novel. Her close friend and former lover, Richard is in-fact the grown-up child of Laura Brown who she abandoned. He calls Clarissa ‘Mrs Dalloway’ or ‘Mrs D’ for short. Clarissa has some doubts over her domestic set up, she is living with Sally her lover, however, it is not an exciting relationship it is mundane. Clarissa is pre-occupied with morality throughout the novel, in glimpsing a movie star she ponders over when they have died they will live on through screenings of the film. The climax of Clarissa’ narrative is the suicide of Richard, in losing his battle with Aids he decides to jump from the window of his apartment saying good buy to Clarissa before the ultimate plunge. After Richards death Laura Brown, now an elderly lady comes to meet Clarissa in New York. Clarissa does not blame Laura for leaving her family, although she witnessed Richards torture from this act she shows understanding of her actions as a mother.

This Novel and film created over half a century after Virginia Woolf’ death explore her and the writings in the greatest artist sense. Many themes are embrace throughout the three different days of three different women. On a surface level through Clarissa we see how attitudes towards sexuality have changed, acceptance being shown through her rather unremarkable same-sex relationship.

However, the suicide of Richard shows how times have not changed since Virginia’s generation. Again we have a frustrated writer, unhappy with his work mental health problems brought on by Aids who takes his own life. Could Virginia Woolf been happy in a modern climate, would she have escaped her demon’s, or would the same fate be waiting? Who knows but we certainly have a stunning novel and film which is a tribute to the Virginia Woolf we have presented here.

Alison Little

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……….