Center Jenny (Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin, 2013)

The future is female. Even the men are women. There is no need for feminism, because we evolved from animations of a concept. Living is an infantile trip beyond the hills of post-feminism. Even ‘butch’ women, stewards of girl-women after the end of men, seem absorbed into a new lemon incest of neutral acid. Life is a permanent game and university, called Waste. We live in bad girl sororities where behaviour and language have evolved. Words remain but only to carry camp algorithms from the throat. Bitchy about nothing. No subject, only the sound of our own vocoder. Dominant women haze weaker women amid in-group yawps and preens. Women giggle and choke at the meaningless dream spiel spinning out of smart phones. Toys and powder pink sweat shirts with totalitarian logos validate the madness. “Fuck you, you’re not real” “Bitch, get out of my system” “I am you” “You’re narcing”. Anyone not ‘centre’ enough, not combing a horse’s mane, is punished, drawn on with markers. We gradually sense that ‘centre’ is a kind of fascism but fascism without object. Everyone is made up, painted pale bronze, red or silver, with fake corneas. “Are you saying I look fat in riot gear?” Everyone is called Jenny. The university, which we can never leave, teaches bullshit and ‘nanomagic’, “You have to learn to walk backwards before you can fly” “Sit and organise, girl!” and is a non-stop audition for porn movies which never happen. “I don’t want a body it’s too ethnic”. There are strictures here, codes we can only guess at. Everything comes alive in the camera and dies outside it. Retro special effects create entertaining enemies and stud stylists. “Stop objectifying time” “You’re so still-at-the-club, bitch”. The editing has the pace of an escaped nightmare and the music is relentless.

I sit, chained to the various screens in Kentish Town’s Zabludowicz Collection, wondering if I can zip up my own eyeballs. Such ‘femininity’ is hard and heightened, catty, red of nail. It attacks rather than attracts me, for sure. Perhaps I deserve it, perhaps that’s a good ‘issue’ to have. “What the facefuck are you talking about?” A quiet ‘showstopper’ at last year’s Venice Biennale, I’d be surprised if there is anywhere else in London at the moment which made one feel force-fed so completely with free drugs. “Block me.” “Did you write that for poetry class?” “Humans were cool.” Lounger beanbags invite me into sterile mini cinemas like ‘stadium bleachers, vacant lots or pool houses’, forgotten gazebos where rich and kinky humans might have once orgied, body fluids easily hosed away after brainless sex battles. (Interestingly, Zabludowicz has unsegregated toilets. Perhaps we need an army of fearless Rosa Parks to call time on the polarisation of privies.)

Essentially dystopian horror, works like CENTER JENNY are offset by a jaw-dropper called ‘Junior War’, documentary footage in green tinted night vision. A ‘Blair Witch’ convoy of goofy dopers terrorising a sleeping neighbourhood in the late nineties. Stealing flags, kicking over mail boxes, wrapping trees in bog roll and outrunning cops. The apolitical destruction is shocking. The combination of fear and aggression in these pointless goons, with adult bodies but the impulses of babies, is very ‘battle zone’.

While ISIS are trading underage slaves and googling them creates a bowling lane of severed heads, while people seem more distressed by Dapper Laughs, it’d be easy to claim the world a vacant and irredeemable place. ‘Religious’ people seem the least religious among us, financial services genuinely are a bank job. Art is happy to expose emptiness (even if you can’t imagine what ‘fullness’ looks like give it a go) but there are tangy hints that these films are built on real depth. ‘A Clockwork Orange’ meets ‘Heathers’, Lady Gaga by Philip K Dick, made funny, I think CENTER JENNY et al might be the greatest single weapon we have against ISIS. Their own heads would implode if they saw it.

Post-ghost. Medium.

Post-ghost. Medium.