Takes the form of 4 interrelated videos, colliding a number of genres: Folk Sci-Fi, musical, mock-documentary, absurdist satire.
All of them explore fantasies that humans have about other creatures and distorted glimpses of the realities of what we do to them. They take place in a curdled world.
ANIMAL CONDENSED >> ANIMAL EXPANDED #1
Two bizarrely costumed characters – a human ‘chicken’ in a fat suit, and an elaborate folksy creature called an ‘authenticity fetish’- meet and debate their plight. In an attempt to reconcile themselves with some unspecified trauma of mass biotechnoviolation, these two beings quiz one another in rhyme and animation on the origins and ontologies of their species. The Trailer is here (34 sec trailer for a 7.5 minute video)
First shown as an installation in solo show at Block 336, London, 2016
“Our food, just like our politics, is synthetic. A supermarket chicken looks like an animal but doesn’t taste like one. Animal expanded. Everything in Jennet Thomas’s work is abstracted, condensed and expanded. Dissonance abounds, Bridget Riley crossed with Doctor Who, the high and the low, the optical and anecdotal – biological and technological. I’m reminded of the recent advert on the underground about how they can ‘delete’ blood cancer — your body as hardware, drugs as software — your body enhanced, expanded and abstracted.”
– George Vasey on UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM>>TASTES LIKE CHICKEN at Block 336, 2016
ANIMAL CONDENSED >> ANIMAL EXPANDED #2
A man and woman speak urgently to camera about their relationship with an intelligent substance they call ‘Animal Expanded’. The man has swallowed Animal Condensed; as it expands it flows throughout his home, improving his family. He holds his five-year-old daughter up to camera: “Look how her fibres are formatting! She is her very own accelerated portfolio.” The woman has refused to swallow it – as ‘it’s not alive in the right way’. For this disobedience she is tracked by Deep Face and punished with Confusion Events. But in her studio she is building new weapons, bizarre kinetic sculptures with skewed faces and stark black and white camouflage stripes that she believes will ‘Re-align the narrative centre’. This struggle between conformity and dissent quickly escalates into exceedingly strange domestic science-fiction involving many pigs.
(33 sec trailer for 14 minute video )
First shown as solo installation show at Tintype Gallery, London 2018
“Thomas’s critical skill lies in how her fables – fashioned, stream-of-consciousness-style, out of the detritus of pop-cultural neologism- tie everyday experience, through their use of the bizarre, to far bigger political and philosophical questions.”
– JJ Charlesworth, Art Review Magazine 2018.
IT ONCE HAD A FACE, NOW IT WANTS ONE AGAIN
is possibly part of this series.. maybe episode 2.5? You can watch the complete video here as part of MattFlix. Two billion years from now, the oceans are beyond understanding, yet undersea karaoke may still be possible. The ghost of an oyster holds memories of what happened. It sings to a scrap of cloth that fell to the bottom of the sea, trying to get a face. An installation of objects and video in which cloth and string, song and dance, costumes and goo collaborate to find new ways of moving in bleak time. Here’s a 23 second trailer for the 7 minute film
First shown as a solo installation show at Xero, Klien and Coma, 2020
THE GREAT CURDLING
The final part of this series The Great Curdling is a Folk-Sci-Fi film sometimes accompanied by live performances and installation. Taking the form of a musical, with compositions by Leo Chadburn, the film explores the feeling that collective reality is at a tipping point. A conflagration of crises that are congealing into a queasy and unstable new story.
In the home of a middle-class family, something is not quite right. A defensive father is interrogated by an Alexa-like voice, and his answers build a picture of a world where ‘animals ended’ and mourning them is taboo. His family seem happy now they have consumed ‘The Substance’ – a transformative liquid technology that helps structure them – but something is going very wrong.
Meanwhile, on the shores of a strangely altered sea, two outcast women meet accidentally when one of them is attacked by autonomous flying packages. Expelled from normality because they would not consume ‘The Substance’, they sing about the Curdlings they have witnessed in their exile – some unspeakable intermingling of bio-tech horror and Fascism.
Although the sea is dying, it is also spawning something that could be new life – fantastical creatures that are half-cartoon, and take the form of tiny flexing hands. A funeral cult has formed, worshipping this new phenomena, and with their help, the exiled women are learning how to re-format the colonised, curdled bodies of the dead into a new substance.
1 minute 40 seconds – complete work = 24 minutes.
Commissioned for the Whitstable Biennale 2022
with an accompanying Live Performance ‘The Error Mode’
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