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Rachel Maclean: Wot U :-) About?

  • Art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Admit it, you’re addicted to your phone. You’re addicted to social media, to likes, to notifications, to retweets – it’s okay, we all are. And young Scottish artist Rachel Maclean’s green-screened video installation is here to smash us out of our click-reverie. In a glittering pink-carpeted room, Maclean has basically created a long, angry, nasty, bubblegum-pop attack on social media masquerading as a broadband advert

A pretty, noseless, yellow-skinned character acts as a metaphorical embodiment of data (as in 4G data). Pizza-faced zombie hordes worship her, chanting her name on the streets, while rabbit-faced hackers attack her and chew through Ethernet cables. There are viruses and trolls, then beautiful Data bloats and goes bald, and the world they inhabit goes post-apocalyptic. The chants for data get all Gregorian, as if the masses are worshipping at a church of social media. It's all fallen apart.

It’s a treat to find something so odd and so contemporary in Tate Britain. The museum needs to put more effort into showing younger art that explores how people are living right now. The ‘Art Now’ series, which this is part of, just scratches the surface. More of this. Please.

Maclean has created a vicious, surreal, fairytale-like deconstruction of modern lives lived online. It’s like an episode of ‘Black Mirror’ but, you know, not painfully oversimplified, and actually good. Her aesthetic can become a little grating, but she’s made something relatable and strong here, with a powerful and unique identity, something that reflects modern society. That really is something to tweet home about. 


Eddy Frankel
Written by
Eddy Frankel


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