Thursday, 15 March 2012

Criticulous' Crystal Ball

Thom Scullion
Respect the Other
Scullion’s interactive installations have always asked questions about the way that humans use technology to communicate – whether it was the computer game marathons of his youth, or his later musings on outdated social media, Scullion discovered the hidden good in the most disreputable examples of technology.

Eschewing his usual tentative approach, Scullion places himself firmly at the centre of the action: he is a constant presence, encouraging and amusing his young charges. As the centre-piece of Birmingham’s festival of Live Art for Young People, he proves that the venue, a library that spent all its money on the architecture and forgot to buy any actual books, is not the useless white elephant of tabloid notoriety but a poignant reminder of how bad planning and nostalgia can be redeemed by artistic responses.

For Scullion himself, Respect the Other marks a transition, from cult creator to mainstream curator. The popularity of the initial run has led to requests from the Barbican – formerly a thriving performance platform but now a big fucking car park – and Glasgow’s The Arches – for further runs. Not only does he enchant his young audience, Scullion celebrates the power of the live installation as a popular and intelligent medium.

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