Posts Tagged ‘Unsanity’


The Original ‘Off The Trolley Production’…


Off one’s trolley is well defined in the Cassell Dictionary of Slang (Jonathon Green): phr [late 19C+] crazy, eccentric… etc, plus goes on to explain the derailing of electric trolley cars in Manhattan…  [‘Off the Trolley’ is also the title of a 1919 American short comedy film featuring Harold Lloyd.]

Colloquially, in English English, ‘off one’s trolley’ connotates to having lost your marbles in a mentalist kind of way – but for me to appropriate OTT (Off The Trolley) is-&-was also appropriate to myself as the Trolley Tranny (see More than a regular hoppa shopper… post)
Off the Trolley Artworks

Off the Trolley Artworks

Fittingly, then, I borrowed the phrase to collectively name my creative productions as of 10.10.10 – World Mental Health Day, 10th October, 2010.  For that occasion, I was, by surprise, able to exhibit some of my artworks – fashioned [mainly] in the Noughties – in the Roundhouse Cafe on Dartington Hall Estate, nr Totnes in Devon. (The Tranny Trolley was indeed the mode of conveyance of said artworks into the cafe / gallery premises.)

The exhibition was hung in collaboration with a 24hr radio broadcast by  community SoundArt Radio (operating also out of the Dartington Hall Estate) which ‘went out’ (via online streaming and FM airwaves)  for the duration of 10.10.10 under the title of ‘Unsane Rhapsody’: a celebration / recognition of all that is implied by ‘mental health issues’… (Some films – on the theme of ‘Unsanity’ – were also screened in the Barn Cinema, adjacent to the Roundhouse Cafe, during the week surrounding 10.10.10)

SoundArt Radio was also linked with the inspirational community Radio La Colifata airing from the grounds of a psychiatric hospital in Buenos Aires – which has been filmed in action plus being supported by international-renowned ‘world music’ artist, Manu Chao.

The images below of the artworks in the OTT exhibition are ‘off the trolley’ in the photographic sense: bad lighting, flash reflective, weird angled, bumpy yellow wall backdropped, 3 megapixelated Nokia phone shot, etc… (Mexico’s Frida Kahlo is featured…)

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If you care to read more… the following is the blurb that accompanied the exhibition: the creative process linked to mental health and gender exploration issues:

Off the Trolley Artworks: The pieces in this exhibition represent artwork that I have produced over the last fifteen years. My ‘practice’ is sporadic and functions in the main to produce objects that add colour to my living spaces. Some pieces (‘Service’, ‘Animated Exeter’, ‘Homage to FK’ and two felted ones) have been created as coursework projects whilst attending access, adult education or return-to-work art and craft courses. My life experience has been ‘coloured’ by mental health challenges. The earliest created piece here, ‘Spiralling into Now’ directly expresses a continued journeying between grey, low periods and brighter, more ‘up’ times. My employment (and education) history has been a chequered affair due to 40+ years of living with depression and anxiety. With resulting low income, my artworks have of necessity been assembled from free – or minimal cost – found, broken or recycled objects. This creativity is both sustaining and sustainable! Many transgendered persons, including myself, have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder prior to gender transitioning; the mental health diagnosis serves to validate the individuals’ gender dysphoria that is currently classified by consultant psychiatrists working within gender identity clinics. It has frequently been a compulsion of mine to feature an interplay of grid and circular ‘lines’ in my work. With hindsight I have recognized that I was expressing my dual-gendered nature – as an androgyne who is ‘electively hermaphroditic’ – in this interplay of archetypal male rectangles and squares alongside female circles and spirals. The choice of media represents a similar juxtaposition by the ‘yin and yang’ of the materials: flexible textiles, leather and paper against rigid plastics, glass and metals, etc. Off the Trolley productions: artworks, creative writing and performance – including recording and broadcasting for Soundart Radio’s 10/10/10 ‘Unsane Rhapsody’ – are conscious actions responding to life’s tragi-comic paradox(es); are positive efforts to stay (un)sane in an increasingly insane world.