Jennet Thomas: School of Change – Matt’s Gallery until 29 July 2012
SCHOOL OF CHANGE comprises narrative film, installation and continuous live performance. Moving across the space the viewer passes through an expansive sculptural installation in which motifs from the film are played out, giant diagrammatic stick figures in the warning colours of yellow and black preside over a schoolgirl inhabiting the spilled out cinematic world.
The 40 minute sci-fi musical film is an endless loop based in a distorted reality which satirically mirrors our own. Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, we follow a day in the life of the New Girl – kidnapped into this alternate time-space in which changes – mutations in the workings of reason itself – threaten the viability of humanity. As the New Girl joins her class, an exact replica of her joins three identical classes.
There, students learn a New Mathematics to cope with the increasing difficulty to measure or calculate objectively (now that mathematical laws only work for the old). They learn about Hard Weather, the terrifying new phenomenon hurled at them from the sky. Each student’s learning is bio-technically monitored and high-scoring pupils perform their learning through a rhythmic song and action practise: The Production. This trance-like activity produces small solids – Units of Knowing – the currency through which the New Economy tries to function.
The School appears to be one of a franchise of SCHOOLS OF CHANGE – attempting to shore up against the Breakdown, to educate and prepare a new generation to adapt. Whilst behind everything, the all-pervasive power of The Sponsor is constantly enforced…
Jennet Thomas, School of Change (2012). Video still courtesy the artist and Matt’s Gallery, London.
SCHOOL OF CHANGE, Thomas’ second exhibition for Matt’s Gallery, is a celebratory, complex critique of fears and desires for radical change, speculating on the future of technology, the marketisation of education, the weirdness of Physics and crisis: financial and ontological. Inspired by traditions of absurd British satire, and with original music by composer Leo Chadburn (AKA Simon Bookish), the film’s playful strangeness delights in disruptive editing, choreographed movements, unusual special effects and songs, colliding the everyday location of the artist’s former school, with an extraordinary, skewed logic.
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