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by Tim Neath 

Playing with Plastic Part 6 (2016) is another response to the Western from Tim Neath an artist who lives in the UK. Looking at the American Holocaust which is poorly depicted in the genre - the Myth of Conquest. The Native American is reduced to merely an obstacle to be overcome in the narratives. 2 dimensional characters who were rarely fleshed out for the audience to identify with, becoming the "other" to be feared, conquered and wiped out.

During my research I came across God Bless America (2011) a Wigwam motel was used as a location, which horrified me, concrete structures in the form of Wigwams, designed for white American families to stay in. The appropriation of the "others" culture stayed with me resulting in the use of the plastic non-pc Cowboy and Indian figures which have been in circulation since the 1950's, completely removing the historical context from which they are from. These brightly coloured figures allow children to create their own Western narratives influenced by film and parents who vicariously pass this culture onto their children.

The lack of history that is taught on the subject shows that the Holocaust have been brushed under the carpet in the States - each state deciding what they teach without Federal interference, history can and is being lost and blurred.

The combination of childs-play and loss of history allows Playing with Plastic to address this convenient memory loss using play to loosely look at historical events. Each colour becomes a nation, Red, Yellow, Dark and Light blue, and Green, each suffering in various ways from the White man as the myth of conquest is played out throughout the animation. The making of the work was inspired by opening sequence from Toy Story (1995) and the animation of the toy soldiers. Andy draws on cardboard boxes for scenery and animals. Inspiring the VHS boxes that I used as buildings in the model miniature set and expanding the playset language. The limited and playful animation of the soldiers informed the figures animation.

For the first time I successfully constructed teepees which are used throughout the piece. Playing with Plastic is my first extended animation, piecing vignettes into a larger narrative that looks at how through play you can find a more honest history through the figures which are essentially stereotypes.

Part 6 is the final part and culmination of the animation, all the colours/nations are living free of reservations. In 1919 the newly mechanised U.S. Army have been ordered into finally remove and relocate the Native Americans to a reservation. Pitting green soldiers against brightly coloured "Indians". Again underestimating the will of these free nations. The extended sequence was edited around the time of the peaceful protests at the North Dakota Pipeline which caused me some concern, wanting to reduce the violence to a minimum, showing the Native American to defending their land and not going on the attack as we have seen throughout cinematic history. These fictional and plastic nations stand their ground, refusing to be relocated after past events after past upheaval. Let me know if this is enough/too much or needs editing down.

Tim Neath is a visual artist based in Leicester’s cultural quarter, who responds to the ideas and imagery found within Hollywood/film. My creative output is mainly through models, photography, video and animation.