Shia Laboeuf

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  • Faux Queens
  • Baepecestre
  • Onika
FACT 11/12/15

We all want to be loved and acknowledged and if we’re honest with ourselves the easiest way to feel anything can come through a double tap, like or retweet. FACT’s new exhibition, Follow, curated by Amy Jones and Lesley Taker, explores how we interact with the internet and social media, and it’s done this by actively affecting our daily lives whether we’ve visited the gallery or not. Filling up our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds and trending around the world on December 10th you probably heard that actor/artist, SHIA LABEOUF was in Liverpool taking phone calls for his new performance piece #TouchMySoul. From Gallery 1, LaBeouf, Rönkkö and Turner, to give the art collective their full credited name, were asking callers “Can you touch my soul?”, whilst answers were transcribed on computer screens in front of them. In amongst the prank takeaway delivery orders and “Transformers is shit” calls, people were opening up their hearts to the artists, and the honesty, anonymity and revealing nature of the calls was really something else to behold. Like a call centre for a new cult, it was a captivating and not wholly comfortable experience.

Another piece that caught our attention in the exhibition was FACT resident ANT HAMLYN’S The Boost Project, an orb that inflates when people are talking about it on social media and deflates when its ignored. Try it yourself by liking it on Facebook, mentioning it on Twitter @BoostFACT or #TheBoostProject via Instagram. I don’t think anyone has ever had a better metaphor for what social media does to our egos and emotions.

Onto Follow’s afterparty at Buyer’s Club, the night starts with FAUX QUEENS, a DJ duo renowned as much for the records they play as their brightly designed costumes, wigs and make up, which have previously involved t-shirts emblazoned with the word ‘Cunt’, luminous pink merkins and, unforgettably, laser boobs. Alongside their unique mix of RnB, electro and pop from femme, queer and trans artists, they produced a visual mix of make up and contouring tutorial videos from Youtube.

Up next is BAEPECESTRE, an artist who has some internet notoriety for her pornstep mixes, dubstep sets with samples of porn dialogue and orgasmic moaning. Her visuals challenge the audience with a wide array of Lara Croft death scenes from Tomb Raider that make you question the minds of the game’s designers and recall that episode of Spaced. Another set of visuals featuring camera phone videos of inebriated women similarly makes you question the person filming but also made the set feel a little like something from an episode of Nathan Barley.

Finally Paris based DJ, ONIKA, closes the night appearing onstage like a character from the Final Fantasy series, in a black tracksuit with angel wings and romantic chat game visuals playing out behind him. His music is intentionally cute, saccharine even, sounding like it’s from the imagination of a manga loving, J-pop playing harajuku girl. After Onika finishes his set he comes back on to the stage to play a more pop oriented set ending with 2015’s most joyous pop song, Carly Rae Jepsen I Really Like You.

Michael Fowler

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