The Common Sense
- David Pollock
- 13 August 2018
Eerie representation of the future
Hidden deep in the bowels of Edinburgh College of Art, whose ongoing refurbishment sadly doesn't lend itself to ease of public viewing during Edinburgh Art Festival, Melanie Gilligan's The Common Sense is an installation you'll want to spend time with. Arranged over an angular, snake-like frame, which winds its way around the gallery room, 15 television screens each show a small clip of filmed narrative drama, a medium which Gilligan continues to return to in her work. The theme of the show is social media, specifically a focus upon a futuristic form of human integration known as The Patch; a kind of implant worn on the roof of the mouth which allows users to access the feelings and thoughts of others.
Across various scenes, the film – which totals around 90 minutes when its component parts are added up – looks at The Patch's effect upon education, commerce, population control and social order, and the extrapolated parallels with social media as we use them now are apparent. Yet more than this, the film is a sculpture too, and seemingly alive to our presence; as we walk near to each screen wearing our personal headphones, the installation switches films on and off to react to our presence, a wholistic and eerie representation of a world designed to observe and respond to us individually.
Edinburgh College of Art, until 26 Aug, free.