'Gated Community' by Laura Yuile
Narrator: Helenavoice (fiverr.com)
Doctor: Deeja14 (fiverr.com)
Algorithm: Stefgallagher (fiverr.com)
Deliveroo courier: Alex Frost
Filter bubble: Voiceinthehead (fiverr.com)
Script writing assistant: Michael Lacey
Camera: Alex Frost
With special thanks to Alex Frost for his constant support; Michael Lacey for his humour, friendship and dedication to sitcoms; everyone at Collective; and all of those who still had to go outside to work and provide vital services over this time.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis we have all had to re-define our relationship to our homes. Lockdown has turned our homes from places we can retreat to multifunctional spaces where we have worked, cared, worried, self-improved (or not), stayed connected, and imagined how our society might change. Collective invited artist Laura Yuile to produce a new work that reflects her experience of lockdown and picks up on her ongoing research into ideas of the domestic and the urban, through matters of community, sustainability and obsolescence.
Laura has produced Gated Community entirely from her flat in London. In her new film work, the Gated Community is a global community facilitated by the Internet and social media - an imagined community of disparate actors encountered through screen-based online-platforms and services.
Laura wanted to create a work which shows the struggle in trying to grapple with the reality of living and working while our experience of the wider world is bounded by screens and social media. A crescendo of articles and discussions with titles such as The way we once lived is now redundant. We need to reinvent ourselves, Smile! Could the pandemic lead to happier times?, Covid-19 is nature's wake-up call to complacent civilisation and DIY beauty hacks you can do at home, all became commonplace. An underlying feeling was that this time could and should be used responsibly, productively, and that by creating a routine, setting goals and communicating effectively, our society could see real change in everything from environmental impact, to how we care for our families and making our own beauty products.
Gated Community has a DIY aesthetic and uses TV Sitcom tropes to depict the life of its central characters during the reality of self-isolation. These three characters are semi-fictionalised versions of the artist, World-care Laura, Self-care Laura and Sad Laura along with gig workers, an algorithm and a filter bubble. The information that we see on our screens is tailored to our consumer profile and the film explores how that shapes our understanding of what is going on in the world, as well as enabling or limiting our access to services, products and entertainment. The work also reflects on how we use humour as a coping mechanism to discuss difficult situations and connect with people in this shared experience albeit behind the closed doors of our homes.
*Trigger Warning: Collective recognises this film shows one of the characters struggling with their mental health, if you are experiencing similar feelings please talk to someone, the Samaritans 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 838587 are free specialist services.
Laura Yuile is an artist from Glasgow and is currently based in London. She has exhibited internationally at venues including; Science Gallery (London); TACO! (London); nGbK (Berlin); Belvedere 21 (Vienna); Apexart (New York); Blackwood Gallery (Toronto); t-space (Milan); Recent Activity (Birmingham) and Generator (Dundee). She has undertaken residencies with; The Art House (Wakefield); ZK/U (Berlin); Temporary Art Platform (Beirut); and IOAM (Beijing). Laura participated in Collective’s Satellites Programme in 2014 and was an Associate Artist with Open School East in 2015. Alongside her gallery-based work, she has initiated a number of projects that intervene with the everyday, commercial spaces that her work is engaged with. This includes the podcast series ASSET ARREST, that takes a critical approach to financialised housing. Each episode features a visit to a different residential property with a different invited guest, with artist and guest posing as potential buyers or renters.