The Tick and The Bomb


The Tick and the Bomb Single Screen, 4K/HD, 18:25 , 2018

The Tick and the Bomb is the final outcome of a two year Arts + Minds Residency based in Newtown, Ebbw Vale, Wales. The film was shot on location in Newtown over a three day period in October 2017.

January 2016 saw the beginning of a series of creative and collaborative meetings between artist, Matt White and members of the Tai Calon community in South Wales, under the watchful gaze of the Arts+Minds Consortium. The aim of this residency was to attempt to find meaningful, if sometimes less tangible, ways to utilise the arts in the process of community reawakening and to raise the possibilities for engagement and communication between the many facets of the Tai Calon Community Housing organisation itself, as well as the many people it is tasked with looking after.

A multi-screen installation, Make-Over, was also created as part of the process.

In early October, Newtown, Ebbw Vale — one of Tai Calon’s target community development and environmental improvement areas — witnessed a full-scale community film shoot co-ordinated and directed by Arts+Minds artist, Matt White.

This location shoot, which was preceded by a film crew visit and filming session at Tai Calon’s Headquarters in Blaina, was set up to generate film footage for The Tick and the Bomb, Matt White’s ambitious 15-20 minute broadcast quality short film, which uses stories and information from an eighteen-month period spent working with residents from Newtown, Ebbw Vale and staff from Tai Calon.

This pioneering work is the latest in a series of the artist’s creative conversations with the Tai Calon community that revolve around the idea of transformation. White’s film aims to highlight the ways that imaginative processes can be used to address some of the problems associated with the precepts of urban regeneration; as well as exploring the relationship between Newtown residents and the social landlord, charged with their care.

The film contains a number of dramatised sequences that revolve around everyday moments (the tick) that have the potential for transformation or profound change (the bomb). Shot in various locations in Newtown and Blaina, the film features Newtown residents and Tai Calon staff alongside professional actors and film crew. 

The collaborative process involved in making The Tick and the Bomb is a fundamentally important part of this project. Alongside previous creative interventions the artist has instigated, the work attempts to change perceptions about Newtown, from both the inside and outside. Indeed, the three-day shoot in Newtown is designed to be something of a local spectacle and this, coupled with the subsequent public screenings, offers a solidifying of this potential perceptive shift.

Chris Coppock