Through sound, video and, most importantly, the internet, Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead have been restructuring, observing and dismantling the very fabric of our lives for 20 years. This mini-survey makes a strong case for the duo being two of our most forward-looking and underrated artists.
The internet isn’t the subject of their work, but it provides the London-based duo with much of their material. Tweets sent from within a mile of the gallery are printed on the wall, random live internet searches feed a flickering train departures board and YouTube videos of people holding their breath are compiled into an oddly macabre video piece.
Elsewhere in the gallery you can play space invaders and blow up quotes from Foucault, or watch a digital portrait of web daddy Tim Berners-Lee reacting to webcam streams from opposite ends of the earth.
The work's power lies in confronting us with the overwhelming vastness of human knowledge, the relentless flow of information at our fingertips and the multitude of our belief systems. Rather than satirise these things, Thomson & Craighead formalise and question them. And they invite us to consider the ways in which we order our lives – a clock’s digits are reversed, every word of the 1960 film ‘The Time Machine’ is edited into alphabetical order. The work’s greatest asset may be its accessibility. Yet, by exploiting the immensity of the web, the artists create a world that becomes unsettling – and sometimes downright frightening.