steve hawley


artists’ film and video

Not to Scale 2009 10 min

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.

‘Deeply disturbing - really funny - an odd ‘technical rural ‘ that feels like folk horror meets ‘ Last year At Marienbad’ - ? Beatrix Potter’s nouveau vague ?

Cutting the sound of the thunder ‘mid roll ‘ Is great Then the sound of the mini - village’s empty lane that roars like a tiny hurricane’ Simon Thompson

‘how can it be so difficult not to reveal something about a film where absolutely nothing happens? Not to Scale might require a lot of patience, but it’s not a drag to watch, as the simple and uniquely evocative images from an Idyllic English country village pass by in a calm tempo, accompanied by twittering birds and a lone car in the distance. It’s summer, and everything radiates with peace and tranquillity. But where are all the inhabitants? The streets are deserted, and the only things that move are the leaves in the wind. Something is not quite the way it should be, and sooner or later one realises that the romantic motifs from the village’s clean-scrubbed garden ponds are hiding a neurotic fantasy about complete control. The acclaimed English artist Steve Hawley has over 30 years experience working with film and video, and calmly undermines the audience’s potential expectation that the filmic image should have some kind of anchoring in the tangible world.”

Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, New visions award catalogue.

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 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.

2008 Not to Scale HD video installation, Bloc Artspace Sheffield. 2009 Istanbul Biennale Sheffield Pavilion (curated DVD). Lanchester Gallery Coventry. Copenhagen International Documentary Festival New Visions. 2010 Cross Cutting, Edinburgh, Marin Biennale Turkey.

Not to Scale 2009