This is an archived page from the Website Archive of British artist Ellie Harrison from Version 3.0 (active 2008 - 2015). New website:

last updated
15th July 2015

Toytown is the sister installation to Vending Machine - a piece developed during Ellie’s period of residency at Plymouth College of Art in 2009.

Together they form part of a trilogy of new works which use specially designed software to respond instantaneously to news headlines reported in the BBC News RSS feed. The third installation in this series is the yet-to-be-realised proposal Monument (Maggie), in which a full-blown 1979 disco lies dormant in a gallery space, activated only when news of Margaret Thatcher’s death is announced.

For Toytown, a dilapidated but operational 1980s kid’s car ride is installed in the gallery space. Connected to the special software, it springs into life only when search terms relating to the recession appear in the headlines on the BBC News RSS feed. Visitors to the exhibition are invited to ride the car as-and-when this occurs

Toytown was first shown as part of the Interim MFA exhibition at the Newbery Gallery, Glasgow School of Art from 16th - 23rd May 2009. It was programmed by Ben Dembroski in PureData and Python.

Search Terms

‘administration’, ‘administrators’, ‘airbus’, ‘bank’, ‘bankruptcy’, ‘banks’, ‘benetton’, ‘bill’, ‘bills’, ‘bn’, ‘borrowed’, ‘borrowing’, ‘borrows’, ‘bp’, ‘budget’, ‘budgeting’, ‘budgets’, ‘business’, ‘businesses’, ‘cac’, ‘capital’, ‘capitalism’, ‘cash’, ‘centrica’, ‘chrysler’, ‘citigroup’, ‘city’, ‘close’, ‘closes’, ‘closures’, ‘contract’, ‘contracts’, ‘costs’, ‘credit’, ‘crises’, ‘crisis’, ‘crunch’, ‘cut’, ‘cuts’, ‘debt’, ‘debts’, ‘decline’, ‘declines’, ‘deflation’, ‘dollar’, ‘dollars’, ‘dow’, ‘downturn’, ‘earn’, ‘earnings’, ‘earns’, ‘economic’, ‘economics’, ‘economies’, ‘economise’, ‘economy’, ‘employed’, ‘employees’, ‘employers’, ‘employment’, ‘equities’, ‘equity’, ‘exchange’, ‘exchanges’, ‘export’, ‘exports’, ‘figures’, ‘finance’, ‘finances’, ‘financial’, ‘firm’, ‘firms’, ‘fiscal’, ‘fiscus’, ‘forecast’, ‘forecasts’, ‘ftse’, ‘fund’, ‘funding’, ‘funds’, ‘gdp’, ‘globalisation’, ‘gloom’, ‘gm’, ‘growth’, ‘hbos’, ‘hitachi’, ‘house’, ‘houses’, ‘housing’, ‘hsbc’, ‘imf’, ‘import’, ‘imports’, ‘income’, ‘inflation’, ‘interest’, ‘investment’, ‘investments’, ‘investor’, ‘investors’, ‘job’, ‘jobless’, ‘jobs’, ‘labour’, ‘liquidated’, ‘liquidation’, ‘loan’, ‘loaned’, ‘loans’, ‘loss’, ‘losses’, ‘magners’, ‘manufacturer’, ‘manufacturers’, ‘manufacturing’, ‘market’, ‘markets’, ‘meltdown’, ‘money’, ‘mortgage’, ‘mortgages’, ‘nasdaq’, ‘nationalisation’, ‘nationalised’, ‘natwest’, ‘negative’, ‘neoliberal’, ‘neoliberalism’, ‘nissan’, ‘opel’, ‘output’, ‘outputs’, ‘pay’, ‘payment’, ‘payments’, ‘pension’, ‘pensions’, ‘petrobras’, ‘pinch’, ‘pound’, ‘pounds’, ‘poverty’, ‘price’, ‘prices’, ‘privatisation’, ‘privatised’, ‘profit’, ‘profits’, ‘properties’, ‘property’, ‘rate’, ‘rates’, ‘rbs’, ‘recession’, ‘recessions’, ‘recoveries’, ‘recovery’, ‘repossessed’, ‘repossession’, ‘repossessions’, ‘retail’, ‘risk’, ‘risks’, ‘sale’, ‘sales’, ‘saving’, ‘savings’, ‘share’, ‘shares’, ‘shoppers’, ‘shopping’, ‘slowdown’, ‘slump’, ‘slumps’, ‘spending’, ‘squeeze’, ‘sterling’, ‘stimulate’, ‘stimuli’, ‘stimulus’, ‘stock’, ‘stocks’, ‘store’, ‘stores’, ‘struggle’, ‘struggles’, ‘struggling’, ‘subsidies’, ‘subsidy’, ‘suzuki’, ‘tax’, ‘taxes’, ‘tesco’, ‘trade’, ‘traded’, ‘trades’, ‘trading’, ‘treasury’, ‘tui’, ‘unemployed’, ‘unemployment’, ‘wage’, ‘wages’, ‘worker’, ‘workers’, ‘workforce’, ‘wto’.

Exhibition History

16 May - 23 May 2009, Newbery Gallery, Glasgow School of Art
12 March - 9 October 2011, Watermans, London
1 November 2011 - 30 April 2012, Star & Shadow, Newcastle