The Trivia Of Eccentric England (Part one)
01 May 2011 to 30 June 2011
Eccentricity is widely regarded as a slowly diminishing behavioural trait in today’s society, compressed and pressured to conform to popular consensus of normality. Yet looking closely throughout our England and Lincolnshire pockets of eccentric behaviour are still rife.
The Trivia of Eccentric England explored through a series of new commissioned projects and accompanying talks and films, the nature and role eccentricity plays in today’s modern lifestyle, and asking what role an artist can have in reviving and reinventing English eccentricity in Lincolnshire. A film programme looked at past examples and explored in wider sense societies eccentric behaviours, which teeter on the edge of popular conformity.
Two main commissions acted as the core of the programme, from Uddin & Elsey and Anthony Schrag.
Drawing upon public fascination with railways and their histories, Uddin and Elsey used the public spaces within Lincoln Central Railway Station to develop a series of visual and sound interventions. The works ranged from train spotting videos and games in the waiting rooms, to sound installations of the Lincolnshire Beevor band. The works stemmed from historical references to British railways and the romanticism intertwined with them stemming from their inauguration during the industrial revolution.
What is normal!? Can anyone be truly normal!? Anthony Schrag set out to question just this through an open competition in the local newspaper, to try and find the most normal person in Lincolnshire and, through a parade of normal objects at the annual Lincolnshire Show, a quintessentially ‘normal’ part of the calendar for Lincoln.
The newspaper campaign to find the most normal person in Lincolnshire sparked the interest of local Lincolnshire dwellers with young, old, man and dog participating in the competition. The competition was judged by Anthony Schrag and Henry Hemming the author of In Search Of The English Eccentric, who deemed it necessary to have a king and queen of normality, subsequently Ellen and Roy were selected and crowned at the Lincolnshire Show.
Anthony began his search for normality by locating local groups that typified Lincolnshire; the groups included the local table tennis club, the chess club, and a historic windmill society amongst others. The groups then donated objects that were representative of normal activity within the group, but when isolated appeared at odds with the environment. The final objects included a selection of dummy cheeses, a certificate from a patron of the city and a poem, with a total of eleven objects, which were then taken to the Lincolnshire Show.
At the Lincolnshire Show the parade of normal objects took place where by a group of Lincolnshire Yellowbellies toured the objects around the showground at scheduled times, whilst asking the audience to select their most normal object. Questioning the very essence of their normality as they sit together in a slightly ridiculous but humorous manner that illustrated what is normal to some, might be considered eccentric to someone else.
The day concluded with the crowning of the king and queen and the honouring of the most normal objects, which by nomination of the public vote and king and queen were awarded to the dummy cheeses and a book donated by the local reading group.
Artists in the programme:
Shezad Dawood, Luke Fowler, Henry Hemming, Anthony Schrag, Uddin and Elsey