This was a programme of my single screen video work curated and by Jon Davies for The Pleasure Dome, to tour 2 venues in Canada; The Pleasure Dome, Toronto, Toronto and Available Light, Ottawa.
Kitchen-Sink Surrealism – by Jon Davies
Over the past two decades, London-based artist Jennet Thomas has evolved a distinctive video practice that embraces a homespun aesthetic to produce absurdist narrative pleasures that stubbornly refuse reason. Strange and complex, Thomas’s work develops experimental forms of storytelling to make sense of what seems like an increasingly non-sensical world.
In tapes like The Man Who Went Outside (2008) and Because of the War (2005), Thomas takes the sober British authority figure – broadcaster, politician, manager, teacher, clergyman, etc. – and subjects him to her comically bizarre scripts. The arbiters of rational order become a fount of delightful ludicrousness; as Sally O’Reilly has written, society’s “illusion of consensus” and “legibility” are befuddled. This Man who recurs in Thomas' work is just one ingredient of the rich stew of mass-cultural detritus and popular memory that she cooks up in each tape. Her concoctions give us a potent portrait of her kingdom’s quietly deranged collective consciousness. Thomas’s work taps into distinctly British currents of surrealist moving pictures, from Lindsay Anderson’s carnivalesque 1973 epic O Lucky Man! to the idiosyncratic work of fellow video artist John Smith to odd cult series like Doctor Who. The TV becomes a gateway for the surreal to be unleashed on the domestic home, providing entertainment for a British suburbia that Francis McKee has described as “seething with unconscious and repressed desires.”
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||Creative writing, experimental writing, kitchen sink surrealism, experimental film, experimental video, hybrid of genres, dream-logic, absurdist|