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Not to Scale

Steve Hawley

8 Nov - 22 Nov 2008

Not to Scale is a video that uses images shot in model villages around Britain. There is something about the model village (or miniature park) that combines nostalgia with a peculiarly English surrealism, the surrealism of Lewis Carroll and The Borrowers.

As Sam Jacob says, “Model villages are not just models of real places, though they are obsessively concerned with looking like a scaled-down reality. They are also models of ideas, shrunk to fit comprehension”

And yet the ideas are both benign and deeply reactionary. You will not find a multi-ethnic Britain here, but a controllable, containable series of Dolls’ Houses, that seek to reassure. They are at once both comfortable and creepy.

 There are no obvious clues that the scale is awry - this perfect England of the imagination has an air of menace. The Village of the Damned.

Artist Biography

Steve Hawley is an artist who has been working with film and video since 1981, and his work has been shown at video festivals and broadcast worldwide since then. There has been a long preoccupation with language and image in such tapes and films as Bad Reasons 1982, broadcast on WGBH Boston and Channel 4 TV Britain and shown at the Kitchen, New York, and in A Proposition Is A Picture 1992.

His tape Trout Descending A Staircase 1990, commissioned by BBC2 TV  was awarded a German VideoArt prize in 1994 and in 1995 his experimental documentary on artificial languages (made with Tony Steyger) and commissioned by the Arts Council was broadcast on Channel 4 TV.

More recently his work has looked at new forms of narrative, in  such works as Love Under Mercury, his first film for the cinema, which won a prize at the Ann Arbor film festival, and Amen ICA Cinema 2002, a palindromic video which won the prize for most original video  at the Vancouver Videopoem festival. 

Speech Marks, 2004, was shot entirely on a mobile phone and won a special prize at the 2004 VAD Digital Arts Festival in Girona. His last piece Similar to Nothing funded by the AHRC, was a first collaboration with artist Steve Dutton, and also won a prize in Girona. 

His current work explores issues around generative narrative  - a forthcoming DVD, Timetable uses the medium to create an ongoing recombinant narrative.



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