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Tenaya Steed

MA work

UFOs Over Desert Towns

The skies over desert towns pulsed with light today as mystery objects flew among the trees. They appeared way up there in the clouds like a string of Christmas lights, like distant stars, their lights oscillating in the winter darkness. Now, there are would-be local astronomers scanning the heavens for signs. Naysayers sneering with rumours of bored teenagers and their elaborate hoax. Those spooked and searching for earthly explanation. But the rest of us will sleep tonight with hearts a little lighter because of what some far away, silvery objects did to tell us we weren't alone.  
During a drop-out year from the Royal College of Art, following impossible fees and payday loans, I read that the Arts Council sees my home Gloucester as a 'culture cold spot' – the only English city on a list of towns. The same day I learned that The National UFO Reporting Centre has recently documented an all-time low in sightings. But imagine if flying saucers did come visit, imagine if they chose Gloucester? Or Blackpool, or Wigan, or Doncaster, or any of the places to make that list.
I reached out to local teenagers to fake UFO sightings across Gloucester and other desert towns. We used duct tape and empty film reels from Gloucester Scrapstore to make props, photographing them with disposable and instant cameras; a revival of the dying and overlooked art of the infamous 1970s UFO hoax.
We made signals in the sky, proving if not that there's life out there – that there's life right here in a so-called cultural desert. 

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Communication

    Programme

    MA Visual Communication, 2019

    Specialism

    visual-communication--experimental-communication

  • I'm an artist and writer interested in folk art, youth culture and everyday lives. I'm proud to have been commissioned by the likes of The British Council, Action for Refugees in Lewisham, and The Watershed, to work with people and communities in finding and telling stories.

  • Degrees

  • BA Illustration, The University of the West of England, 2015
  • Experience

  • Assistant arts producer, Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol, 2015; Visiting lecturer, UWE, Bristol, 2019; Artist in residence, The Watershed, Bristol, 2016; Workshop artist, Action for Refugees in Lewisham, London, 2018; Artist in residence, The British Council, Vietnam, 2017
  • Exhibitions

  • Into the Dark, Dalston Bunker, London, 2017; Work in Progress Show, The Royal College of Art, London, 2018; On the Line, Aram Gallery, London, 2017; New Talent Showcase, The Watershed, Bristol, 2016