WITH school out for another number of weeks, what better time to have a play.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing at the Firstsite art gallery in Colchester, whether it’s playing with the notions of nationality, identity or even a movie blockbuster.

A New Life in Frigg plays around with the idea of nationality using the former Butlins holiday camp at Clacton as its inspiration.

It’s by the artist and graphic designer Scott King and forms part of the artist’s ongoing Butlins-inspired series Britlin’s, a combination of the words ‘Britain’ and ‘Butlins’, that plays with the power of collective nostalgia to reimagine a new society modelled on an idealised vision of the past.

Born and brought up in Goole, but now based in north London, Scott says: “I’ve always loved this part of the world. I used to escape London and go out to Canvey Island, mainly because I was such a huge fan of Lee Brilleaux and Dr Feelgood.

“East Yorkshire and this part of Essex for me has so much in common and now my mate Stuart has a house here in Colchester, I have even more reason to visit.”

A New Life in Frigg explores the idea of the Seventies holiday camp as utopian micro-societies, remembered through the colourful, hyperreal photography that was used on promotional postcards.

Reinforcing the mythologising aspect, the four proposed Britlin’s new towns are named after Anglo-Saxon gods: Frigg, Saxnot, Balder and Loki. Frigg being the goddess of love and wife of Odin, father of the gods.

The exhibition at Firstsite is made-up of a wall-based map of the proposed Frigg township, as well as questionnaires for visitors to fill out that set up satirical scenarios to consider one’s suitability to join the Britlin’s community.

Also included is a new film commissioned by Firstsite entitled Come to Frigg, which has been produced in collaboration with filmmaker Paul Kelly. The film acts as a sales pitch for the Britlin’s vision, persuading the viewer (and potential resident) of its ethos and communitarian agenda.

Alongside Scott’s installation piece is a large body of work put together under the more generic title Play It Again: The Art of Remaking.

This is an exhibition featuring ‘remade’ objects, events and films, produced by artists and the public, showcasing how history, contemporary culture and our own everyday experiences inspire repetition, remaking and reenactment in different forms.

The exhibition includes the work of contemporary artists Heather Agyepong, Laura Eldret, Michel François and Guillaume Désanges, Sofia Hultén, Hetain Patel, David Sherry, Allison Smith and Gillian Wearing.

One of the most striking pieces in the show is Hetain Patel’s Fiesta Transformer, which he made with the help of his dad, who used to be a mechanic.


Hetain says: “I wanted to spend more time with my dad after he retired so I asked him to take part in a few of my projects.

“After him coming into my world, I thought I should perhaps go into his and so I came up with this idea of finding the first car I had ever bought and turning it into a Transformers robot.”

Celebrating the artist’s passion for the Eighties Transformers cartoon and action figure franchise, while exploring the ideas of Indian culture and identity, after discovering his original car had been scrapped, Hetain found a similar car and converted it with his dad into a squatting human-like figure.

He adds: “We spent three/four months figuring out how to make this figure and then creating it. I had such a wonderful time with him sat in his garage, talking, eating sandwiches and making the sculpture.”

As well as Fiesta Transformer, Hetain has his film The First Dance also in the show in which another of his boyhood interests, of becoming a Kung Fu warrior, manifests itself in the restaging of a scene from the Ang Lee-directed film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. But in Hetain’s film, the narrative is relocated to the domestic reality of his South London flat and the lead roles are played by him and his wife.

Another recreation is that of a film of a boxing match which took place between a group of firefighters in Battersea, south London.

Interested in re-enactments, artist Laura Eldret asked the firefighters to recreate a specific boxing match which she then filmed Laura says: “Boxing was something my brothers and dad used to go and watch but I wasn’t allowed in to see, so there’s always been a fascination with it for me.

“When I was in Mexico years later I saw the wrestling matches there and thought what spectacles they were but I couldn’t recreate those because they were already pretty staged. Then I met these firefighters and thought I could perhaps do a boxing match.

“Obviously it would have been very difficult to stage it blow for blow but the framework of the fight was all there.”

Also included in the show is Turner Prize winning artist, Gillian Wearing’s seminal film Dancing in Peckham (1994), in which Gillian, inspired by a woman she saw dancing madly by herself, dances in a Peckham shopping mall, and Star Wars Uncut: A New Hope (2010) which remakes one of the world’s most beloved films when Casey Pugh asked internet users to recreate Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope into a fan film 15 seconds at a time.

In just a few months thousands of fans around the world had responded with extraordinary creativity, resulting in a feature-length film with scenes acted out by children, cartoons and cats filmed in fans’ living rooms and garages across the world.

Scott King: A New Life in Frigg runs until September 2, while Play It Again: The Art of Remaking runs until September 9.

Firstsite is open Monday to Sundays, 10am to 5pm. Entry is free.