I love the FACT {which if u don’t know is this foundation for art and creative technology hub wit cinema in Liverpool and where I} used to lie on the middle floor benches with friends and friends and/freeloaders, days in, growing. Maybe FACT did some osmosis on me because I’ve grown up an art-tech girl } I only say this so you know that I approach FACT nostalgic, nervous, and grateful; so you know that I’m writing this in the cafe with a little sunshine heart glow because i feel personally invested in this place and the Follow exhibition did not disappoint:D 

So u may have heard that Gallery 1 was made briefly WWWorldwide by the LeBeouf-Rönkkö-Turner phone-in this month, ‘Touch My Soul.’ The 0151 - - -> “” bring bring “” was posted online for ppl to dial. Callers mostly gushed over Shia, which is fiiiine and continues to underscore his status and fantasy but that fanaticism is also made to look zzZZ when callers actually do what the piece begged, when they touch the artists’ #souls. Those calls are lonely, desperate, embarrassing; recorded and humiliatingly public. That broadcast, the fact your *special* voice-to-voice call is actually a voice-to-anyone’s ear, dasssss important. The piece performs the new Contact, the irrelevance of the Contactless. It undoes the 1 to 1 privacy of intimacy, becomes peer 2 peer. It’s not switching ur phone to silent when you’re with ur lover. And the artists speak in a tone s0 laid-back that the whole thing is like chill, it’s fine, you’re live on the air, you always are. and that… well…

‘Follow’ has this coolness and chill-pill-ness that almost had me seduced —— like ‘Follow’ as the exhibition title kind of sounded like ‘come on,’ instead - - —- and let’s think about that tone for 1 second. Neither glaring optimism nor nasty-pasty interrogation in the work. juss An ambivalence that came across as acceptance. comfort. Gallery 1 has this shiny, melty, meat curtain-slickness, a slippy, buffed floor, an #aesthetic. Was so #holo, clear. That indulgence, making-it-look-easy #lifestyle was a careful trick ‘Follow’ played on the visitor. Hmpf. On the stairs above, Joe Fletcher Orr’s words ‘marketing, a lifestyle’ are plastered./ long and up and diagonal /. like I was Almost seduced, but in my heart of hearts I know I dont wanna be a Virtual baby. I don’t think the curator wants me to be either. Hadta pull myself out of the digi-smothering with Cécile B. Evans’ films, my lifeline, Because is there anything more grounding and gross than a CGI jar of mayonnaise rolling down dusty rendered sand dunes. Nope, there is not. Her videos are the crux of this exhibition for me: the digital looks so fucking nice, isss backlit, HD, that flushed edge profile…  but technology is not Holy, and being online/being digital has inverse-shitty {sterilising} implications for the body, and its agency. We should rather value our shit and our mortality and our dairy products. dey make us so Real. dey make us like Mayo.

 

If seduction is charm and tactic in ‘Follow,’ then up in Gallery 2 I found the Wizard of Oz. I found conversation. I found FACTLab and tech workshops and a  aFREE GREEN SCREEN FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE. ah gad. I cannot caps lock this enough. There is a green screen up n ready for use while this exhibition is open  —til Feb 21st 2k16). you can film n take files away/have them emailed to you. the guy there assisting was s0 nice, hi Billy.

 

I also got speaking to a FACT artist in residence, Radamés Ajna, and that was almost as great as my time with Billy. He told me about <these>, classes through January on coding/physical computing/general tech help (but like, to do with art, this isn’t PC World). And he’s holding a reading group, too! THIS is wat left me sunshiney, the fact there is a real effort to engage with the art-tech-social-narrative, to discuss concerns and New Materialism in a productive and welcome 2 anyone space,,,Happy that ‘Follow’ is a whole symposium. am Happy that it isn’t just a pretty face (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

Dec 23rd 2k15

{ the only reason The White Pube can still exist is because some of our readers choose to support us each month via Patreon. We sometimes do talks and other jobs but Patreon is how we get paid for the actual writing here - the reviews n art thoughts and so on. And it's so important to us 2 that we can stay independent critics without ties to big funders or institutions, public or private. Thank you for being our old timey patrons - we'll do our best to produce quality output; write stuff that is thoughtful and sincere. }

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