Rose Butler

Filmed from the quiet edges of a city centre car park The Fair presents a fairground ride appearing and then disappearing behind old industrial buildings and the John Lewis department store. The film evokes questions of escape, control, voyeurism, immersion and complicity.

“Fairs as we know them today emerged from the need to have an organised system for the trading and bartering of surplus material, a defining pattern of modern civilization. With these trading fairs came a cross-fertilising of different cultures, and an imperative for joy and festivity. The pleasure fair became integral to the trading fair, a time of both importance and social release. As trading in the market and festival driven fashion declined, with the advent of department stores, the associated joy and festivity, the sense of detachment and dreaming of the pleasure fair survived as a social need. Showmen had adapted to the situation and in many ways shaped their own destiny by cleverly creating a blueprint for thrills and the transformation of time and space.” – The Fairground Archive – The University of Sheffield.

Rose Butler, The Fair, 2013, duration 2:47 mins. Courtesy of the artist.