Exhibition Review – The Milking Parlour
By Heather Lambourn
” Whilst walking around the gallery the first exhibit you will come across is a section of wall covered with about fourteen black boards, a TV playing a short film and a bench and chair.
The first thing I did was sit and watch the short film. It was about a woman called Nessie who went to a cattle farm and spent time with the cows there. She focused especially on two cows that she eventually took to the harbour side in Bristol. She set up a big white tent to act as the ‘barn’ and laid lots of hay inside for the two cows to sleep on. She also made herself a bed from hay bales and blankets, she stayed with the cows for three days and it attracted a lot of attention!
The film is about the fact that milk in Britain has become cheaper than water and this leads to the question, what price do we actually pay for our milk? Dairy farming has a big impact on the environment and the demand for low milk prices results in thorough bred cows that are injected with hormones and fed large quantities of food to keep the amount of produce up and the time taken to produce it down.
I think that this exhibit stands out from the rest in the fact that it isn’t complicated to understand and the message behind it is ultimately your own opinion. Also I think that it is has a quirky gimmick that interests you and keeps the story from being just about boring cows, after all it isn’t every day that you see two cows outside a night club in Bristol.
There is a part in the production where a man she is talking to says that you can think of any environmental issue; deforestation, global warming, climate change or even floods and in some way it can be linked back to the choices we make as human beings. In the short film the artist tells us that the reason she set up the milking parlour in Bristol was because she wants to motivate and create an area for people to discuss these issues, whilst explore the impacts of different lifestyle choices.”
‘The Milking Parlour’ was a Cape Farewell residency based in Bristol and Nessie Reid’s work is on view alongside two other projects, Field of Wheat by artists Anne-Marie Culhane & Ruth Levene and EXCHANGE by Artists Chris Drury & Poet Kay Syrad in the Allsop Gallery.
CAPE FAREWELL runs until Saturday 3 June in the Allsop Gallery, Open Tues-Sat, 10-4
Heather attends Bridport Arts Centre’s Youth Theatre – BACstage and is doing work experience with us for a few weeks! If you are interested in work experience or how to volunteer at Bridport Arts Centre contact Megan Dunford the Exhibitions & Participation Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org