Rachel Maclean: Wot U :-) About?

Art Free
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(3user reviews)
Rachel Maclean: Wot U :-) About?
Rachel Maclean 'We Want Data!' 2016 Courtesy of Rachel Maclean © Rachel Maclean.

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. 

@eddyfrankel

By: Eddy Frankel

Average User Rating

3 / 5

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An amazingly disturbing and insightful amalgam of every popular culture reference. From the yellow skin a la simpsons, through the zombie-like constant search for data to the vain pernicious externalised approval system of selfie culture. This piece holds up a mirror to the grotesque nature of aspects of modern culture. 

Beautifully examined and unflinchingly stark....but overall, darkly hilarious.


Weird, addictive, scary, funny - and a bit upsetting at times. Don't think I have ever really seen anything like it. A refreshing bucket of water after visiting the great Hockney exhibition.


So this was probably the weirdest, most disturbing half an hour of my life...but I don't know whether or not I'm glad that I endured such an unusual experience? It was somewhat refreshing to see content so whacky but I think I may need to book in some therapy sessions...