Liam Scully: A Digital Suicide
05/03/2016 - 22/04/2016
Union Gallery is pleased to present the first solo show by Liam Scully at the gallery; an installation around the artist’s latest book project A Digital Suicide.
Digital Suicide is a term that refers to the elimination of one’s information online – particularly social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. The project undertaken over the past year and a half has been the documentation of Liam Scully's Facebook Digital Suicide.
When committing Facebook digital suicide, the user is offered the opportunity to download their data, just in case you wish to return using the platform. Every single interaction, be it pokes, posts, or a private conversation exists inside this apparition. Poring over your data will cause both fascination and concern; “But those conversations were deleted years ago?!"… so you thought. In addition to this data, there are photographs: hundreds, possibly thousands, every image you ever posted to Facebook, including the embarrassing ones you deleted.
In light of the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013, Scully embarked on a project to reclaim that data. The past year and a half has been spent salvaging his profile, in a personal, tiresome and physical way. Every inch of meta-data has been printed onto reams of pink, thermal-sensitive electrocardiograph paper, and every photograph ever posted has then been recorded has been overlaid through Scully's physical act of drawing, collage, mark, rubbing out, spillage and stain; thus rendering the digital analogue and permanent. The culmination of this body of work has always been to make a book - a massive book, at that. A book that is heavy and awkward to hold, but handcrafted and beautiful. Commissioning Book Works London, a limited edition of 5 copies were produced. This was an important way of distilling 5 years of once vulnerable data, and furnishing it into something of quality and value.
Further to the book, Union Gallery will for the first time accommodate an installation of the original drawings. A selection of these works on paper will cover the walls from floor to ceiling, representing just a third of the entire collection. All of the 953 drawings will be available for sale.The artist is “fond of the idea that these reclaimed life fragments can now be dispersed among people’s personal collections, where essentially they become the property of other people. It will then only be the book that binds 'A Digital Suicide' together in its entirety.”
Liam Scully is a ‘living’ artist working in London. Constant drawing underpins most of his practice; this is often expanded upon and develops through painting, performance, video, music and installation. Scully's drawing style is essentially blunt and diaristic in its approach; commenting, observing, and confessing on the activity around him. Possibly autobiographical, at times political, Scully takes inspiration from, and embraces, low-brow culture.
Supported By Arts Council England Lottery Funding.