Life Chances is an new experimental novel published in February 2017, as a direct outcome of the Productive Margins research project undertaken with University of Bristol, University of Cardiff, Single Parent Action Network and South Riverside Community Development Centre.
Within the novel we encounter personal stories of refugees and migrants dealing with the UK authorities and discover that it is not easy to gain a foothold on the economic ladder or find security for your children. In the background Ivan Dunhouse-Jones (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) grapples with his suppliers – G4N (Great For No-One) to get the Universal Credit system rolled out across the UK. They struggle to make things work and pressure mounts, as we see both ends of the system at play.
Life Chances is available from Amazon - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1527203743
Life has become transactional. Education, health and housing are all subjected to metrics. Everything is defined by inputs and outputs. Sociologist Peter Townsend defined poverty in 1979:
“Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and the amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged or approved in the societies to which they belong”.
‘Life Chances’, a phrase first used by the Marxist sociologist Max Weber, has now been appropriated by the Conservative government. Whilst Weber’s definition of Life Chances is directly correlated to socio-economic factors, the Conservatives definition adds a moral and judgemental dimension to the term.
FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE PROJECT AT – www.closeandremote.net/life-chances
We make history obvious.
Close and Remote are Sophie Mellor and
Simon Poulter, based in Plymouth.
We have an ongoing practice that responds to history as a dynamic form of representation. We like to work with the everyday, marginal or peripheral as starting points, making artworks that are formed from observations of public places and events. In our recent work we are dealing with the emerging issue of the exponential growth of data, the process of archiving and the idea of landscape as database. Recently we have worked in a number of locations where the history of a place has been played back into itself. Working with small groups of people, historical information is reprocessed, such as with ZONE and Lost Characters.
Close and Remote work with an informal set of understandings that inform our practice and process:
• The obvious is always present
• The edge of a situation has value
• There is no such thing as content
• Lifestyles are not defined only by technologies
• Uncertainty is preferable over innovation
• Aesthetics contain cultural currency and agency
Recent interests include Andrei Tarkovsky’s film ‘Stalker’, HMS Hood, Frank Hampson, Althea and Donna, Birkenhead North and Bidston Moss, Giambattista Vico and Trafalgar Square.