Tuesday, 9 May 2017

In Review - 'Something City' by Ellice Weaver.

'Something City'

Created by Ellice Weaver.

Published by Avery Hill Publishing - 80 pages - Full Colour.

Part 'Black Mirror' and part Ordnance Survey this is a new book from Avery Hill. It both chronicles and literally lays out the lives of people in a City that is aptly called 'Something'. Each short chapter tells the stories that happen behind the curtains. These are tales that are often sharply observed. Looking like a more personalised Lowry painting this is a melange of emotion and situation. We see areas such as the city prison, a nudist colony as well as the perhaps more everyday situations like an old people's home and dinner party culture enclaves.

It is the switching situations that seem best to delineate the inentions of the storyteller. Keep moving, keep watching. Walk through the lives of these hugely different individuals. Show their place, and often lack of place, in the wider community of this mixed up jumble of a city. The cool Guardianista sets sit next to the loney and stressed adjacent to the rough and ready. But each group is cordoned off in their own area in this anthology. Never seemingly looking over the fence at a different set yet often unhappy with their own lot.

The art is also structured like a cross between a map and a colourful ant farm. The faces of the characters often lack a full rendering and we see them as a parallel with a reflected situation in the world outside it's pages. After the first reading I began to wonder if I would be happier with more detail in these lives. We are given only a situational snapshot of the everyday anxieties of each area on the map. 

Do these scenes seem imagined or real? Do they seem like a daydream or even a considered approach. At moments they seem a touch forced for my taste but I began to realise that the nature of a very short incursion into someone's life might seem this way? Do we truly see beyond the obvious in our first interaction with someone or somewhere? Maybe not. This book shows the errors we may make with our preconceptions. Lives that at first seem one dimensional and hollow have an underlaying depth when you began to explore them further.

The stories stray a little. Some are part sci-fi and a couple seem like an urban crime story. Yet they do all fit into this strangely structured narrative. Bright and Spiteful. Colourfully argumentative.

A prison, a home, a street, a square, an urban space, a rest home, a bedroom, a town and a 'Something....'

Interesting to say the least. Avery Hill continue to stretch and challenge. A worthy asset to their catalogue and well worth the entrance fee.

Find out more about Avery Hill at www.averyhillpublishing.bigcartel.com or follow them on Twitter @AveryHillPubl

You can find out more about the creator at www.cargocollective.com/elliceweaver or follow the creator on Twitter @ElliceWeaver

Many thanks for reading.