Dr Elly Thomas


In The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich sees the notion of time as ‘spatial wandering’ as a defining characteristic of computer media. For Manovich, new media has reawakened the ancient neglected form of spatial narrative. In this presentation, I will explore how sculpture can engage with processes that parallel Manovich’s definitions of new media. Using play theory, I examine methods that allow one to break away from the static, finalised art object or pre-visualised image. I will explore processes that treat sculpture as a play material that is allowed to ‘live’ through endless reconfiguration. Through an emphasis on open-ended processes, structures and installations become provisional, placing the audience within a shifting landscape of emergent narrative.



Elly Thomas is an artist and independent scholar whose work explores childhood play as a continuous, evolving presence. By concentrating on play processes and methods, she engages with childhood play as a group of activities, objectives, and perceptions that evolve to inform the creativity of an adult artist, rather than as processes tied to the past.

Elly Thomas received her PhD from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2013 for her practice-related thesis (Play as Evolving Process in the Work of Eduardo Paolozzi, Philip Guston and Tony Oursler). Publications include: ‘Suwasa’ in Eduardo Paolozzi, exh.cat. The Whitechapel Gallery, 2017, ‘Meccano Work: Eduardo Paolozzi’s kits’, Sculpture Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1 and ‘Eduardo Paolozzi – Why Now?’, The British Art Journal, XVI, 2. She is currently developing aspects of her doctoral research for a book to be published by Routledge in 2018.

Exhibitions include: Kits and Building Blocks (solo), ASC Gallery (2016), Sketchy Remarks, Floating Island Gallery (2015), Group 2012, WW Gallery (2012), HomeService, Hayward Gallery Project Space (2011), Toy (solo), Vitrine Gallery (2011). In 2016 she was shortlisted for The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award.


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Last edited: 13/12/2018 15:38:00