Machynys Forgets Itself

TOM CARDEW | POP-up Programme

4 April 2024 - 4 May 2024

Machynys Forgets Itself is a film by Tom Cardew.

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The film explores aspects of place, time and physical and social change.

Machynys Forgets Itself focuses on the displacement of the village community of Machynys, which occurred in the 1970s during a period of post-industrial decline from the site of one of the largest tin sheet producers, with streets of terraced housing for the workers. In the sixth century, the site housed a monastic settlement; the monks were said to surveil the area via a secret tunnel, popping up out of the ground to check on the locals. Today, it is a golf course, spa and gated luxury housing estate.

Machynys, or Machynys Peninsula, is a coastal area just to the south of Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, Wales. It has now been redeveloped as a golf course as part of the Llanelli Waterside regeneration plan, the marketing name given to the new suburb development in the coastal strip south west of Llanelli.

Machynys Forgets Itself could be one of those slogans you see on hoardings in regeneration areas. Machynys Reinvents Itself, Machynys Rich with Tradition, Machynys from Industry to Leisure, but you start thinking, what has it forgotten? Has it forgotten that in the nineteenth century, it was once an industrial community? Has it forgotten the close-knit community that once lived there? When the industrial activity ceased in the mid-twentieth century, the buildings were demolished and the site lay derelict. The homes of workers became empty and overgrown until they were knocked down to make way for luxury homes and leisure facilities.

When the film was first shown at g39, in ‘Soft Split the Stone’ (2023), it was the central element, the result of extensive research into Machynys’ history. Tom worked as writer/director with a group of Welsh actors and film crew in an attempt to reimagine Machynys’ significant historical moments: from a 10th century monastery and possible network of secret tunnels, to its 19th and early 20th Century height of industrial and communal, working-class life, to its 1970’s derelict, and soon-to-be demolished, form, and finally it's unrecognisable present day. The film incorporates live action, archival footage, AI generated images and lip-sync interludes. At g39 it was housed within a tin sheet storehouse: reflecting Machynys’ industrial past, alongside a series of AI generated images which explored Machynys’ blurred histories and anecdotal records from one of its previous inhabitants.

We are delighted to be sharing this film in our current pop-up programme here at Oriel Davies. The project allows us to showcase work by artists who make use of the gallery spaces, in between refurbishment interventions, as we make improvements to become part of the National Contemporary Art Gallery Wales.

Machynys Forgets itself
Machynys Forgets itself

Tom Cardew was born in Bridgend (1988). He completed a BSc Architecture at University of Bath (2011) and MFA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins (2018).

Machynys Forgets Itself has subsequently been included in “In the Same Breath” at the Freelands Foundation in London. Tom Cardew was one of 20 artists in the third cohort of the Freelands Artist Programme. The programme supports emerging artists across the UK in partnership with g39, Cardiff, PS², Belfast, Site Gallery, Sheffield and Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh.

Tom is currently Magnetic Residency Laureate, at Fluxus Art Projects, Frac Bretagne and Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Brittany, France

Machynys Forgets Itself will be on show until at least 04/05/2024. If you’re travelling a distance to see it we would recommend you phone the gallery in advance to check opening times.

Machynys Forgets Itself is written, directed & edited by Tom Cardew


Roger Graham


Chloe Blissett + Tim Bromage


Tom Wills

Callum Humphreys

Roisin Bonar

Celeste Turnbull

Brooke Thomas

The project was supported by the Arts Council of Wales, Freelands Foundation and a-n Bursary

Venue Info

The gallery is open:

Tuesday - Saturday 10-4

Cafe closes at 3

Except for special events

Closed bank holidays