Phantom Limb. Phil Coy and Will Self.
By way of an introduction to Brunel’s new Artist in residence, Will Self introduces the work of Phil Coy and his new work Phantom Limb. This live intervention is devised in response to Will Self’s talk You don’t have to be the Unabomber to go off-grid.
The work initiates a voluntary phone amnesty, placing phones given up by particpants together with analogue Polaroid portraits of their owners. The combination of the two forms of media – the phone and photograph – are placed under live observation for the audience, both within the auditorium and by live video link, to consider during the lectures.
“Phantom Limb allows for a graphic interrogation of this all-pervading device – the foremost arbiter of contemporary experience – highlighting, in the university context particularly, its connection to literacy, self and thereness.”
Will Self and Phil Coy have both interrogated networked digital technologies in their work previously. For Self they provide the underlying territory to his book Phone (2017) that, as with the previous two novels, Umbrella (2012) and Shark (2014), flits between perspectives of different characters to explore the way technology – violently, traumatically – shapes our lives. Whilst many of Coy’s film and installation works from eleven seconds of paradise (2000) to sons of unless and children of almost (2016) cut data from contemporary streams of omniscient digital material.
Phantom limb and You don’t have to be the Unabomber to go off-grid are presented as part of the lecture series Protecting Digital Privacy. The finale of The Public Lecture Series sees three experts discussing the problem of our personal data – often dubbed the ‘new oil’ – and how this precious resource is being mined by companies worldwide.
Dramatic advancements in our Digital Revolution offer hope for responding to the vast global challenges we face, but this comes hand-in-hand with threats to our digital security and privacy.
The Public Lecture Series
6pm, Wednesday 20 February
Eastern Gateway Building
Brunel University London.