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Date uploaded: December 2, 2015

In a world where we use Instagram and Twitter ‘likes’ to assess who and what is important, FACT's new exhibition Follow will ask what impact the internet is really having on our concept of ‘reality’, and how we think about ourselves, our idols and those around us. Follow will be showing at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool from the 11th of December 2015 until the 21st of February 2016.

New commissions, research and existing work will present a wide range of experiences and views of image, self-branding, identity, sharing and micro-celebrity within the context of a life lived online. Exhibition highlights include new work by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, Cécile B. Evans, Debora Delmar Corp., Joe Orr, Ant Hamlyn, Aram Bartholl, Louise Adkins, Simon Whybray, and Candice Jacobs, and restaged work by Constant Dullaart and Kurdwin Ayub.

The diverse selection of approaches to the theme include artist Cécile B. Evans’ new video installation Commercials (It's not possible, it's real), which takes the form of commercials in a campaign, reflecting the real-time absurdity of contemporary marketing. The videos will be showcased both at FACT as well as online, offering audiences various ways to experience the piece. Another example is the online performance High Retention, Slow Delivery (2014) by artist Constant Dullaart, who purchased 2.5 million Instagram followers, which he then distributed amongst a cross section of the art-world Instagram profiles, highlighting the complexities of assessing value through 'Likes' or 'Follows' that can literally be bought. Follow will also showcase new work by art collective LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, made up of Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Luke Turner, who previously have created installations and performances across a variety of platforms including social media, art galleries and red carpet events.

The Follow Resource Space will feature a collection of journals, books, magazines, videos and games selected by the exhibition curators, situating Kim Kardashian’s Selfish book next to writing by thinkers and artists such as Hito Steyerl and Rob Horning.

Alongside the exhibition, Follow will present workshops, events and drop-in activities inviting visitors to discuss, and gain skills and knowledge about, the online platforms we use daily, but rarely critically think about. Most prominently, FACT’s experimental workshop space FACTLab will turn into a pop-up production studio, complete with green screen, lighting rig and basic filming and editing equipment, providing a space for critical experimentation around the way we use social media. The studio is inspired by the YouTube Creator Spaces around the world that are open to an elite group of YouTubers with thousands of subscribers, with the difference that FACTLab will be an open space free for all to use - regardless of position in the social media hierarchy. Artist Louise Adkins has created a series of workshops to take place in the space, specifically looking into themes of online identity, celebrity and the reasons why we produce online videos in the ways we do.

Amy Jones, co-curator of Follow with Lesley Taker, says: “Fame is no longer an aspirational dream and celebrities are no longer created on the exclusive space of the red carpet, but on our Twitter feeds and Facebook walls. Follow looks into the ways we commodify, advertise and constantly curate our own image as our ‘product’, and explores how this can influence our sense of self.”

Exhibition highlights include

Art collective LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner is made up of Shia LaBeouf (US), Nastja Säde Rönkkö (Finland), and Luke Turner (UK), who have been working collaboratively over the last two years producing works, installations and performances which relate broadly to the concept of metamodernism. These projects have appeared in, and been created using, a variety of spaces and platforms including social media, art galleries and red carpet events.

Cécile B. Evans (US/Belgium) is interested in the digital circulation of human ideologies, using the content generated around them them as source material. Commissioned by FACT and Metal, Evans’ new video installation (It's not possible, it's real), showcased both at FACT and online, reflects the real-time absurdity of contemporary marketing, which awkwardly incorporates social issues, dry humour, and an intense deployment of emotion, striving to simultaneously shape, and be shaped by, viewers.

Constant Dullaart (Netherlands) works primarily with the Internet as an alternative space of presentation and (mis)representation. Documentation of the online performance High Retention, Slow Delivery (2014) will be presented as part of Follow, looking at the problems of validation through 'Likes' or 'Follows' and considering the commercial and capitalist impact when you can literally buy your followers.
FACT’s Follow collaborators are Metal, Liverpool Hope University and Picturehouse. Supporters are Connecting Cities through the EU Culture Programme, CANVAS and Goethe Institut.

For more information please contact: Sofia Sigroth
Media Relations Officer
0151 707 4413 | [email protected] or click here.

Concept shot from Follow visual identity by Simon Whybray

Concept shot from Follow visual identity by Simon Whybray