Heads May Roll, Benedict Drew at Matt’s Gallery
19 February – 20 April 2014
We live a life overwhelmed by screened images. We live a life online, mediated through LCD screens. What happens when we’re submerged in an extreme version of this reality? Heads May Roll, Benedict Drew’s solo show at Matt’s Gallery, asks us to ‘imagine for a moment’ that this is the case.
A low-ceilinged white walled room with a single screen demanding all attention. Images and two overlapping soundtracks immerse you in a complete sensory experience from which there is no escape. The images are hyperreal and oversaturated. You are launched into a world where mediated images and electronic noise are all encompassing and fully inescapable.
Drew’s installation takes a world ruled by technology, screens and virtual realities to the extreme. The digital, saturated images and electronic noise are the only existing sensory impulses within the space of the installation.
A small hallway filled with speakers and foil guides you through the space – exploring – into estranging surroundings. Screens are placed on stages, microphones are pushed into pink foam. Smaller screens showing what appears to be making offs of the screened images on stage undercut the alternate, extreme reality. They probe beyond the images on the staged screens. Hidden away underneath the stages, you have to almost physically submit to the big screens to look for them. The making offs deconstruct our relation to the images presented on the screen, sparking questions about this absurd version of our current reality.
The absurdity, its repetitiveness and uncontrollable aspects are further highlighted by a near human shape continuously playing a single tone on a snare drum. The absurdity of a life in images on screens is highlighted to the extreme.
The experience does not end when you leave the space but continues with a playlist – also available online – to further immerse yourself in Drew’s universe. Stepping out onto the canal path near Matt’s, I’ve rarely felt this estranged from my own reality. After the overly saturated images, the outside world seemed strangely fresh. The feeling simultaneously prompted me to re-evalute my relation to the screen and to reconsider the virtual reality it represents. Go, and lose your head before the show ends on the 20 of April.
runs till 20 April 2014
at Matt’s Gallery, 42-44 Copperfield Road, London E3 4RR