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Cellular World: Cyborg-Human-Avatar-Horror

GOMA, Glasgow until October 8th
Three stars

You can’t escape the elephant in the room in this parallel universe group show programmed by incumbent Glasgow International director Richard Parry, who has beamed down nine artists for a speculative-fiction inspired exploration of possible futures in a messed-up world. The elephant in question is captured in Telepath (2018), a cinema-scope sized close-up by John Russell set against a backdrop of a re-made and re-modelled version of the gallery interior, as if the beast had been captured in the wild and put on show a la King Kong. Frozen in monumental hi-res, the image could be a trophy of an endangered species poached from Ray Bradbury’s short story, A Sound of Thunder by way of The Veldt.

Elsewhere, Mai-Thu Perret’s Les Gurrillerres XIII (2018) imagines a feminist miltia in the desert by way of a female mannequin in repose, reading on a rug with her machine gun nestled beside her. E Jane’s The Avatar (2015) tries on internet identities for size in a series of hi-tech videos. As far as one can tell from Sam Keogh’s recordings accompanying his Kapton Cadaverine (2017), Keogh is a man who fell to earth, the grubby remains of his cellophane-wrapped spaceship blown out of orbit and now in storage awaiting forensics.

The effect of all this is a kind of captain’s log that zaps between time-zones. The way the work is spread about GOMA’s civic interior resembles a film set depicting a twenty-first century dystopia at odds with the ornate classicism which houses it. Seen together, the works themselves look plundered by space pirates from the hippy sci-fi age of John Carpenter’s film, Dark Star, which, like Kapton Cadaverine, up-ended the white room straight-lines look beloved by space age directors Gerry Anderson and Douglas Trumbull. But this is all illusion. Only the incongruous totems hanging from Jessie Darling’s washing lines are defying gravity. 

The List, June 2018

ends






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