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Twenty six artists and writers were paired in a collaborative process that resulted in an exhibition where writing and image hung side-by-side in the gallery. A public reading of the written pieces was held at the exhibition opening.

'The Pre-Text project gave me, as a writer, the opportunity to enter my artist’s creative world. Ruth shared with me her process of making a painting: how she engages deeply with her subject matter, and how her loose, bold style belies her careful colour planning and layering of texture.  I found lessons in this for my own creative practice. I then shared with Ruth my writer’s perspective, as I interpreted her work through a narrative, historicised lens. We learnt much from each other, and we both enjoyed this experience very much.'

Kathryn Knight talking about her collaboration with Ruth le Cheminant.

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The micro bot was dumped in the desert, the scene of many a science fiction tale. Abandoned, alone, to sink or swim. Any sinking, or swimming, would have to be done in sand. Not a nice ending for Mono/Cular.

Strictly speaking, he was not alone, nor was his gender definitive. Being made in a time when genitals and gender were much the same thing, we’ll call him a he, ‘though his own were forever obscured by a stylish chastity belt, complete with an oversized brass lock. He had a little companion, Phi Do, named after the terrestrial canines to which she bore a slight resemblance, yet lacking the usual doggy problems of shedding and farting.

Since the Nano bots had taken over, Mono/Cular was no longer micro, strictly speaking.  At 16 inches, he positively towered over his descendants. And that was the problem, he was outmoded, an anachronism. Dr Ocular was going out of business. Nobody needed eyes anymore; everything was signals and data.

Dr Ocular turned his back and Mono/Cular pleaded. Surely he couldn’t abandon his own beautiful creation, his shiny, unique bot child? When Ocular opened his prosthetic wings, Mono/Cular knew it was time. He focused his eye and pointed his guns (wasn’t that what he was made for?) and shot his father-maker in the back. As his life blood seeped into the sand, the Doctor smiled with pride. How precise, how accurate was his creation! 

by Vicki Benn

'The War of The Worlds' by Andrew Jakeman was part of the 2019 exhibition, ‘Pre-Text’. Andrew collaborated with writer Vicki Benn. Vicki's story, Mono/Cular was a response to Andrew's sculpture.

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