Unspeakable Freedom >> Tastes Like Chicken
Jennet Thomas
Private view: 23.9.16 | 6 – 10 pm
Exhibition: 24.9.16 – 21.10.16
Performance evening: 7.10.16 | 6:30 – 8:30pm
Opening hours: Thurs – Sat or by apt.

From 23rd September – 21st October 2016, Block 336 will show a major installation by Jennet Thomas, featuring her magnum opus The Unspeakable Freedom Device as well as Animal Condensed >> Animal Expanded, the first in a trilogy of new works exploring the meaning of animals in a post-digital and post-anthropological world.

Originally commissioned by Grundy Art Gallery, The Unspeakable Freedom Device combines a number of interconnected multimedia and sculptural elements and paints a picture of an absurd primitive-future world populated by a cast of uncannily familiar characters. Its narrative shadows two women who wrestle with the fascination and threat of techno-totalitarian supremacy personified by the all-powerful Blue Lady. Thomas’ powerful portrayal is as formidable as the histories it prophesizes and its timely creation couldn’t be more fitting against the backdrop of today’s political unconscious.

Animal Condensed >> Animal Expanded stages a philosophical encounter between what are perhaps best described as two postanthropological agents who, in an attempt to reconcile themselves with the trauma of a mass biotechnoviolation, quiz one another on the origins and ontologies of their species. Set in a virtual black and white world where human and nonhuman identities are anything but, the overriding question here is less one of animal rights and more of how our new animal ‘wrongs’ might think, feel and communicate. Neither ‘toys’, nor ‘food’, Thomas’ ‘animal-unreliables’ speak to one another in a language hatched on the wings of today’s eco-hypocrisy, and the fact that we can understand them almost perfectly, only makes what they have to say all the more troubling.

Please click here for the trailer of The Unspeakable Freedom Device and here for the trailer of Animal Condensed >> Animal Expanded

Unspeakable Freedom >> Tastes Like Chicken Performance evening: 7.10.16 | 6:30 – 9:00pm

On the evening of 7th October Block 336 will stage two live performance works, I AM YOUR ERROR MESSAGE, a hybrid live/video performance piece by Jennet Thomas, and Red and Blue by the musician and composter Leo Chadburn.

Consisting of a duet between two Safety Orange costumed performers, one inside the screen and one in front of it, I AM YOUR ERROR MESSAGE explores reality decay in Thomas’ characteristically anarchistic and bleakly humorous style.

Chadburn’s Red and Blue, developed in relation to Thomas’ The Unspeakable Freedom Device for which he also wrote the musical score, comprises of twelve fragmentary songs; an extended, kaleidoscopic single or abstract, experimental radio play. The text is inspired by the correspondence between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the twin icons of right-wing politics throughout Chadburn’s 1980s childhood in a UK East Midlands ex-mining town. Thatcher and Reagan’s words are fractured and half-remembered in the surreal ‘libretto’, which imagines the two politicians as a pair of ‘televisual spectres’.

 

Unspeakble Freedom Device book available to buy

The Unspeakable Freedom Device published by Book Works in 2015 – £12 is an experimental fiction book that parallels the film of the same name. The book will be available to buy at Block 336 for the duration of the Unspeakable Freedom >> Tastes Like Chicken. For more information and to buy online please click here

 

In Conversation: Jennet Thomas with Professor Simon O'Sullivan and George Vasey 12.10.16 | 6:30 – 9:00pm

On 12th October from 6:30 – 9:00 pm Jennet Thomas will be in conversation discussing her work with Professor Simon O’Sullivan and George Vasey. Simon O’Sullivan is Professor of Art Theory and Practice in the Visual Cultures Department at Goldsmiths College. He is a theorist and artist working at the intersection of contemporary art practice, performance and continental philosophy. His collaborative art practice – with David Burrows and others – comes under the name Plastique Fantastique, a ‘performance fiction’ that involves an investigation into aesthetics, subjectivity, the sacred, popular culture and politics produced through, performance, film and sound work, comics, text, installations and assemblages.

George Vasey is a writer and curator at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland. Recent curated projects include ‘Blend the Acclaim of Your Chant with the Timbrels’ Jerwood Space, London and ‘Breakin’ Up is Hard to Do’ KARST, Plymouth. His writing has been published in Art Monthly, Kaleidoscope, Frieze, Art Review and Apollo. This event is free.