The Loop



A journey in memory and myth along the circular lay line created by the Isle of Thanet’s orbital bus route featuring Jo Murray, Dominic Rose, Tanya Royer and Jon Spencer.

The artists were invited to present their own responses to this bus journey which connects the three coastal towns on the Isle of Thanet with the shopping centre and retail parks inland at Westwood Cross. Jon produced a piece of video work alongside a series of photographs made as part of a walk.


An Ode to the Buses of the Thanet Loop

Appropriated video with karaoke lyrics (duration 8.5mins)

Adding to the long tradition of mourning for lost favourite routes & familiar buses, when the fleet of 'Darts' running on the Thanet Loop came to be replaced by a set of ‘Enviros' in 2013 local enthusiasts were keen to record the moment. Videos were produced both to celebrate the last days of the Darts on the Loop and subsequently to search out these buses in their new, seemingly much-reduced roles on minor routes or acting as standby vehicles for the Enviros that usurped them. At the same time, the PR machine at the bus company was keen to celebrate the arrival of the buses with great fanfare.

Alexander Dennis Dart SLF Pointer 2s (2004-2013)
vs.
Alexander Dennis Enviro 200s (2013-Today)

Here these videos have been re-presented with the addition of on-screen karaoke lyrics. The anthemic pop/soft rock songs chosen by the bus YouTubers have lyrics which are perhaps often overlooked, but which become strangely profound when read against the clearly emotional content of the images and notes of the bus spotters.

Enthusiast videos by @N380 LPN @SoutEastSpotter



Walking the Loop 1901-1926

C-type prints mounted to embossed plan prints

A 16 mile walk in the fading shadow of trams and trains whose paths would one day become the Thanet Loop.

SR Ramsgate Town to Margate Sands (1846-1926) & Isle of Thanet Trams (1901-1937) 
-
Thanet Loop (2004-Today)

Mapping the route of the long demised Isle of Thanet Trams and the Ramsgate to Margate Sands railway line against the Loop bus route charts two very similar circular paths, with large sections which overlay directly. Following this combined route on foot took me from main roads and visible track beds to cul-de-sacs and industrial estates. I kept as close to the original route as possible, cutting back and forth as though I was a needle passing a thread around obstacles to trace a line from the past.

Walking these roads and paths, I began to hear the boneshaker trams rattle past and see the smoke of the old steam trains billow into the distance. The work shown here is my record of this intangible experience. Ostensibly very empty images, they are in fact busy with the imagined memory of these machines a century distant.


Copyright Jon Spencer 2003-2019