This project explores the effect of de-industrialisation on Kirkcaldy. For over a century, this town on the East Coast of Scotland was the axis of a global industry: linoleum. At one point, there were six linoleum manufacturers in the town, bringing thousands of jobs to the local area. But the sixties saw a sharp decline in the demand for linoleum. By the mid-eighties, almost all the jobs had disappeared.
I spent a year working closely with a group of local jobseekers. The employment support centre was reimagined as an ad-hoc linocutting workshop. The homeless shelter was turned into a centre of contemporary performance: the residents of the shelter act, shoot and edit a series of video works. In another performance, the town’s 52 year-old celebrity breakdancer (Traki-G) is seen performing on an unfurled roll of linoleum, situated on the derelict remains of the linoleum plant. Through a series of videos, prints, performances and texts, this exhibition traces a relationship between the current experience of unemployment in Kirkcaldy, and its thriving industrial past.
The title of the exhibition refers to a routine by the comedian Billy Connolly, where he accounts for Kirkcaldy’s industrial decline. He claims that the city’s linoleum industry went down the pan because nobody could pronounce the word linoleum.
This exhibition includes a publication by the artist, and is accompanied by an audio guide that is written and performed by James Inglis, an unemployed resident of Kirkcaldy.