SCHOOL OF CHANGE comprises narrative film, sculptural installation and continuous live performance. To see the film the viewer walks 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 tower over a school girl inhabiting the world of SCHOOL OF CHANGE.
The 40 minute sci-fi musical film is an endless loop based in a distorted reality that satirically reflects on our own. Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, we are led through a School day in the life of the New Girl — kidnapped into this alternate world in which changes — mutations in the workings of reason itself — are threatening the viability of humanity. As the new girl joins her class, an exact replica of her joins parallel sets of identical classes.
Students learn a New Mathematics to cope with the increasing difficulty to measure or calculate objectively (now that mathematical laws only work for the very old). They learn about Hard Weather, the terrifying new phenomenon hurled at them from the sky. Each student’s learning is bio-technically monitored through an implant and high-scoring pupils perform their learning through a rhythmic song and action practise, The Production. This trance-like group activity produces small solids — Units of Knowing — the currency through which the new economy tries to function.
The School appears to be part 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...
SCHOOL OF CHANGE, Thomas’ second exhibition for Matt’s Gallery (in Gallery 2), is a celebratory, complex critique of fears and desires for radical change, speculating on the future effects of technology, the marketisation of education, the weirdness of Physics and financial crisis. Inspired by traditions of absurd British satire, and with original music by composer Leo Chadburn, the film’s playful strangeness delights in disruptive editing rhythms, choreographed movements, unusual special effects and songs, colliding the everyday location of the artist’s former school, with an extraordinary, skewed logic.
Catherine Thomas – First
Selena Comeskey – Tenth
John Wagland – Mr Maths
Sebastian Baczkiewicz – Head of Change
Leo Chadburn – Mr New Structures
Angus Lindsey – The Technician
Frances Scott – Ms Geography
Rachel Withers – Ms Language
Clara Wells – Ninth
Natasha Glickman – Eighth
Bethany Kendle – Seventh
Victoria Burrough – Fifth
India Hammond – Fourth
Siobhan Cloutt – Third
Alice Calvert – Second
Thanks to James Kench and staff at Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School
Music – Leo Chadburn
Cinematography and Lighting – Paul Tarragó
Costume Design – Hilary Baxter
Sound Design – Leo Chadburn + Jennet Thomas
Production Manager – Frances Scott
Movement Consultant – Nikki Tomlinson
Costume Assistant – Jenna McGowan
Production Assistants – Brian Llinares, Tanya Malachovskaja
Written/Directed/Edited – Jennet Thomas
Generously supported by Arts Council England, CCW Graduate School, University of the Arts, London with production assistance from Film London Artists' Moving Image Network advisory service (FLAMIN).
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