The sister installation to Vending Machine, this piece features a dilapidated 1980s kid’s car ride which starts up and offers people free rides when news relating to the recession makes the headlines on the BBC News RSS feed.

Toytown is the sister installation to Vending Machine – a piece developed during Ellie’s period of residency at Plymouth College of Art in 2009.

Together they form part of a trilogy of new works which use specially designed software to respond instantaneously to news headlines reported in the BBC News RSS feed. The third installation in this series is the yet-to-be-realised proposal Monument (Maggie), in which a full-blown 1979 disco lies dormant in a gallery space, activated only when news of Margaret Thatcher’s death is announced.

For Toytown, a dilapidated but operational 1980s kid’s car ride is installed in the gallery space. Connected to the special software, it springs into life only when search terms relating to the recession appear in the headlines on the BBC News RSS feed. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to ride the car as-and-when this occurs.

Toytown was first shown as part of the Interim MFA exhibition at the Newbery Gallery, Glasgow School of Art from 16 – 23 May 2009. It then toured to Watermans in London as part of Harrison’s solo show A Brief History of Privatisation (12 March – 2 May 2011), and finally to the Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle as part of Wunderbar festival (1 November – 17 December 2011). It was programmed by Ben Dembroski in PureData and Python.

Search Terms

‘administration’, ‘administrators’, ‘airbus’, ‘bank’, ‘bankruptcy’, ‘banks’, ‘benetton’, ‘bill’, ‘bills’, ‘bn’, ‘borrowed’, ‘borrowing’, ‘borrows’, ‘bp’, ‘budget’, ‘budgeting’, ‘budgets’, ‘business’, ‘businesses’, ‘cac’, ‘capital’, ‘capitalism’, ‘cash’, ‘centrica’, ‘chrysler’, ‘citigroup’, ‘city’, ‘close’, ‘closes’, ‘closures’, ‘contract’, ‘contracts’, ‘costs’, ‘credit’, ‘crises’, ‘crisis’, ‘crunch’, ‘cut’, ‘cuts’, ‘debt’, ‘debts’, ‘decline’, ‘declines’, ‘deflation’, ‘dollar’, ‘dollars’, ‘dow’, ‘downturn’, ‘earn’, ‘earnings’, ‘earns’, ‘economic’, ‘economics’, ‘economies’, ‘economise’, ‘economy’, ‘employed’, ‘employees’, ‘employers’, ‘employment’, ‘equities’, ‘equity’, ‘exchange’, ‘exchanges’, ‘export’, ‘exports’, ‘figures’, ‘finance’, ‘finances’, ‘financial’, ‘firm’, ‘firms’, ‘fiscal’, ‘fiscus’, ‘forecast’, ‘forecasts’, ‘ftse’, ‘fund’, ‘funding’, ‘funds’, ‘gdp’, ‘globalisation’, ‘gloom’, ‘gm’, ‘growth’, ‘hbos’, ‘hitachi’, ‘house’, ‘houses’, ‘housing’, ‘hsbc’, ‘imf’, ‘import’, ‘imports’, ‘income’, ‘inflation’, ‘interest’, ‘investment’, ‘investments’, ‘investor’, ‘investors’, ‘job’, ‘jobless’, ‘jobs’, ‘labour’, ‘liquidated’, ‘liquidation’, ‘loan’, ‘loaned’, ‘loans’, ‘loss’, ‘losses’, ‘magners’, ‘manufacturer’, ‘manufacturers’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘market’, ‘markets’, ‘meltdown’, ‘money’, ‘mortgage’, ‘mortgages’, ‘nasdaq’, ‘nationalisation’, ‘nationalised’, ‘natwest’, ‘negative’, ‘neoliberal’, ‘neoliberalism’, ‘nissan’, ‘opel’, ‘output’, ‘outputs’, ‘pay’, ‘payment’, ‘payments’, ‘pension’, ‘pensions’, ‘petrobras’, ‘pinch’, ‘pound’, ‘pounds’, ‘poverty’, ‘price’, ‘prices’, ‘privatisation’, ‘privatised’, ‘profit’, ‘profits’, ‘properties’, ‘property’, ‘rate’, ‘rates’, ‘rbs’, ‘recession’, ‘recessions’, ‘recoveries’, ‘recovery’, ‘repossessed’, ‘repossession’, ‘repossessions’, ‘retail’, ‘risk’, ‘risks’, ‘sale’, ‘sales’, ‘saving’, ‘savings’, ‘share’, ‘shares’, ‘shoppers’, ‘shopping’, ‘slowdown’, ‘slump’, ‘slumps’, ‘spending’, ‘squeeze’, ‘sterling’, ‘stimulate’, ‘stimuli’, ‘stimulus’, ‘stock’, ‘stocks’, ‘store’, ‘stores’, ‘struggle’, ‘struggles’, ‘struggling’, ‘subsidies’, ‘subsidy’, ‘suzuki’, ‘tax’, ‘taxes’, ‘tesco’, ‘trade’, ‘traded’, ‘trades’, ‘trading’, ‘treasury’, ‘tui’, ‘unemployed’, ‘unemployment’, ‘wage’, ‘wages’, ‘worker’, ‘workers’, ‘workforce’, ‘wto’.

Photo: Ellie Harrison