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Thursday
10
MAY

Billboard Commission #1: Chris Alton

19:00
21:00
Spit and Sawdust
Event organized by Spit and Sawdust

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BILLBOARD COMMISSION #1
Chris Alton: Crudely Plucking the Strings
11/05/18 - 12/11/18

LAUNCH EVENT: Thursday May 10th, 7pm til 9pm
Screening at 8pm

Spit & Sawdust are pleased to announce their first Billboard Commission: Crudely Plucking the Strings by Chris Alton, which launches with an event on May 10th. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate the unveiling with us, which will include a screening of a new accompanying film by the artist, a bar and free delicious food from our outside wood oven.

Throughout his practice, Chris Alton dredges up moments and ideas from the past, attempting to rethink them for and apply them to the contemporary world. Crudely Plucking the Strings reimagines the 1607 flood of the Bristol Channel, which some hypothesise to have been caused by a tsunami. 2,000 or more people drowned, houses and villages were swept away. The local economy along the coasts of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary was wrecked by the destruction of 200 square miles of farmland and its livestock. It is believed that Cardiff was the most badly effected town. A woodcut print is one of the only surviving visual representations of the disastrous event.

For Spit & Sawdust's first Billboard Commission, Alton has created a speculative reworking of this woodcut. St. Mary's Church, the image's original focal point, has been replaced by Hinkley Point C; the yet to be completed nuclear power station that sits on the southern bank of the channel. When it is finally completed, Hinkley Point C will be the most expensive power station in the world. It will perch on the edge of a precipice, vulnerable to the increasingly prevalent instances of extreme weather that are being experienced globally. By mimicking the style of the original woodcut print, Crudely Plucking the Strings prefigures that which is yet to pass, training a sceptical eye on nuclear power as an answer to climate change. In many ways, this science fiction inspired image operates as an “early warning system”* and a call to action.


“I've always thought that people living in the cosy suburbia of Western Europe and America never appreciated just how vulnerable we were to climate disasters.” JG Ballard to Travis Elborough, 1962*

*JG Ballard to Travis Elborough. ‘Reality is a Stage Set’, interview with J.G. Ballard, appendix in The Drowned World, London: Harper Perennial, 1962 (7th edition, 2008)

The Billboard Commission’s aim is to provide a large-scale, site-specific platform for artists to develop new work, and increase the visibility of the creative programme at Spit & Sawdust. The first two Billboard Commissions are curated by Freya Dooley and are supported by The Arts Council of Wales.

Chris Alton is an artist and curator based in London, whose practice spans documentary film, music videos, online interventions, disruptive design, live events and exhibitions. Whether deploying disco music in opposition to fascism or playing table tennis in competition with aggressive architecture, his work interrogates symbolic manifestations of power. He works to destabilise or subvert their logic, undermining their shaky foundations through humour and play. Commissions include; Adam Speaks, The National Trust, Croome, Worcestershire, 2017; and Keeley Round, Turf Projects, Croydon, 2016. Exhibitions include; You're Surrounded by Me, Turf Projects, Croydon, 2017 (group); Of the Sea, The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, 2016 (group); Under the Shade I Flourish, xero, kline & coma, London, 2016 (solo); and Outdancing Formations, Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg, 2015 (dual, with Marta Popivoda). Chris is currently a participant in Syllabus III, an alternative peer-led learning programme.

www.chrisalton.com / @chrisalton
www.spitandsawdust.co.uk / @spitandsawdustskatepark

Image credit: Chris Alton, Crudely Plucking the Strings (detail), Digital image, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

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Mae Spit & Sawdust yn falch o gyhoeddi ein Comisiwn Bwrdd Poster agoriadol, sef Plycio’r Tannau’n Amrwd gan Chris Alton, a gaiff ei lansio â digwyddiad ar 10 Mai 2018. Mae croeso i pawb dod i dathlu gyda ni - Bydd diodydd ar gael, bwyd am ddim o’r popty tân coed y tu allan a dangosir ffilm newydd gan yr artist.

Ym mhob gwaith y mae’n ei wneud, mae Chris Alton yn tyrchu adegau a syniadau o’r gorffennol i’r wyneb, gan geisio’u hail-lunio a’u cymhwyso ar gyfer y byd cyfoes. Mae Plycio’r Tannau’n Amrwd yn ailddychmygu hanes gorlif Môr Hafren ym 1607 a achoswyd, yn ôl un ddamcaniaeth, gan swnami. Boddwyd 2,000 o bobl neu fwy, a golchwyd tai a phentrefi i ffwrdd. Chwalwyd yr economi lleol ar hyd arfordiroedd Môr ac Aber Hafren wrth i 200 milltir sgwâr o dir amaeth a da byw gael eu difa. Credir mai Caerdydd oedd y dref a ddioddefodd waethaf. Print torlun pren yw un o’r unig ddarluniau sydd ar ôl i gofnodi’r digwyddiad trychinebus.

Ar gyfer Comisiwn Bwrdd Poster cyntaf Spit & Sawdust mae Chris Alton wedi ail-greu’r torlun hwn mewn modd dyfaliadol, gan ailadrodd drama llifogydd 1607 gydag actorion newydd. Mae Eglwys y Santes Fair, sef canolbwynt y llun gwreiddiol, wedi’i disodli gan Hinkley Point C, yr atomfa sydd heb ei chwblhau eto ar lan ddeheuol Môr Hafren. Pan gaiff ei chwblhau maes o law, Hinkley Point C fydd yr orsaf bŵer ddrutaf yn y byd. Bydd yn eistedd ar ymyl dibyn, yn agored i’r digwyddiadau tywydd eithafol cynyddol gyffredin sy’n cael eu profi ledled y byd.

“Rwyf wastad wedi meddwl na wnaeth trigolion maestrefi cysurus Gorllewin Ewrop ac America fyth sylweddoli lawn cymaint ar drugaredd trychinebau hinsawdd yr oeddem ni.” JG Ballard yn siarad â Travis Elborough, 1962*

*JG Ballard yn siarad â Travis Elborough. ‘Reality is a Stage Set’, cyfweliad gyda J.G. Ballard, atodiad yn The Drowned World, Llundain: Harper Perennial, 1962 (7fed argraffiad, 2008)

Wrth gynnig y Comisiwn ein nod yw darparu llwyfan mawr, safle-benodol i artistiaid ddatblygu gwaith newydd, a hybu gwelededd y rhaglen greadigol o fewn y ganolfan aml-wedd hon. Cefnogir y ddau Gomisiwn Bwrdd Poster cyntaf gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru a’r curadur fydd Freya Dooley.

Artist a churadur sy’n byw ac yn gweithio yn Llundain yw Chris Alton. Mae ei waith yn cynnwys ffilmiau dogfen, fideos cerddoriaeth, ymyriadau ar-lein, dylunio aflonyddol, digwyddiadau byw ac arddangosfeydd. Boed yn defnyddio cerddoriaeth disgo i wrthwynebu ffasgaeth, neu’n chwarae tennis bwrdd mewn cystadleuaeth â phensaernïaeth ymosodol, mae ei waith yn cwestiynu amlygiadau grym symbolaidd, fel arfbeisiau, arwyddeiriau Lladin, brandiau corfforaethol, arfau mytholegol a baneri cenedlaethol. Mae’n gweithio i ansefydlogi neu wyrdroi eu rhesymeg a thanseilio’u sylfeini bregus drwy hiwmor chwareus.