The Common Sense (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

The Common Sense

credit: Image courtesy of Galerie Max Mayer. Copyright Melanie Gilligan

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.

The Common Sense

  • 4 stars

What would you pay to feel? Melanie Gilligan’s dystopian drama is set in an eerily familiar future. Over 15 short episodes it tracks the impact of a new immersive technology that enable individuals to tap into the sensations of others. Worn on the roof of the mouth, the ‘Patch’ has reformulated not only social contact but…