The 20:45 to Lover’s Rest

The 20:45 to Lover's Rest

The 20:45 to Lover’s Rest is an installation and performance piece dedicated to railway workers and passengers who suffered the loss of limbs whilst working and travelling on railways. 

The work, a collaboration with artist James Kearney, prosthetist Chris Parsons and Uckfield Model Railway Club, features two constructed prosthetic limbs integrated into a model landscape.

As a miniature train travels between the limbs, the landscape – layered with mirrors, drops and facets – reflects the structures and people within, giving a surreal and industrial finish.

Both the limbs and topography show a mixture of organic and industrial elements highlighting the relationship between body, machine and the land.

Set to a musical score which plays with time and place, two passengers make eyes at each other as if at a station platform. The skies darken as they plug into prosthetic limbs which form the landscape between them and their journey begins.

The limbs act as terminals for a small locomotive passing from within the upper arm of a male passenger, ‘via Limbridge’ station, past a memorial relic (a severed forearm, paying homage to injured workers and passengers), before reaching the female passenger’s inner thigh and eventually docking into her shin, whereupon they both fall asleep.

This humorous, romantic and sensual piece highlights our need for connection, both to our surroundings and each other. 

The Alternative Limb Project was commissioned to create a train-themed limb for Head of Steam, Darlington Railway Museum. This was an exciting opportunity: in designer Sophie de Oliveira’s mind she could see a small locomotive travelling in and around a leg picking up both the scenery from inside and outside the limb.
As COVID-19 and lockdowns took hold, the project became a labour of love, developing into the two limbs and landscape seen in the final piece and film.
The work is a love story from one limb to another – touching on themes of romance, loss, connection, transhumanism and nostalgia.
1) Casting residual limbs (stumps) in plaster bandage
2) 3D scanning
3) 3D printing in nylon (the suspended arm)
4) Landscape carved and shaped in polystyrene and bandage
5) Creating form of limbs in plaster
6) Laminating leg socket and lower leg shell
7) Flocking the grass on landscape, bush and tree scaping
8) Sculpting silicone for realistic skin effect 
9) Welding in mild steel (metal elements of prosthetics and viaduct)
10) Mirror sectioning landscape 
11) Railway layout with electric connectors to limbs 
12) Making platform, sign and station 
Produced and directed by The Alternative Limb Project
Funded by Arts council England for Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum
Photography:  Omkaar Kotedia
Filming: Freebirdfilm at Klatch Studios
Actors: Welly O’Brien, Daniel Richards
Music: Lila
Design and making – Sophie de Oliveira 
Metal work – James Kearney 
Limb fitting – prosthetist Chris Parsons
Design and making Sophie de Oliveira Barata with support from Dilly Childs 
Support sourcing, layout design and making Keith Harcourt from Uckfield Model Railway Club
Smoke on loco – Rory Thompson 
Base construction – Olivier Sauer
Viaduct – James Kearney