‘AMOS’ WORLD’ is a highly staged, three-part, telepathic and narcissistic TV soap opera, strewn with the vernacular of a therapy session and the persuasive mantras of the executive suite, the property developer and the city planner. Special animosity is reserved for the architect Amos, played here by a diminutive mannequin, and his flimsy claims to societal revolution. It is a video installation that shares its theoretical and aesthetic universe with works like Melanie Gilligan’s ‘The Common Sense’ (2014), Jasmina Cibic’s ‘This Machine Builds Nations’ (2018), Edward Thomasson’s ‘Pressure’ (2016) and Ed Atkins’ ‘Ribbons’ (2014).
At times ‘AMOS’ WORLD’ seems to be a musing on Brutalism, architecture and the body or on identity, capitalism and individualism. Buildings like Erno Goldfinger’s residential ‘Trellick’ and ‘Balfron Towers’ (1972) and Le Corbusier’s ‘Unité d’Habitation’ (1952-57) are referenced in the installation and on-screen; while notions of societal breakdown or urban disintegration set in a bourgeois, modernist housing development conjure thoughts of J.G. Ballard’s ‘High-Rise’ (1975).
At other moments the video installation operates like a theorisation on the artificiality and contrivances of television, especially melodramatic soap operas. It is a study on this genre’s clichés, suspensions of disbelief, anecdotes, episodic character development and arcs, bad acting and oversimplified scripting. Elsewhere, Evans considers our perceived reliance upon affirmation, connection, affection and community through new technologies and networked cultures. It is the ‘fear-of-missing-out’ come to life - a world of theorist Shoshana Zuboff’s ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’ (2018), artist Hito Steryl’s ‘How Not To Be Seen’ (2013) and the data mining and brokering of political agencies like Cambridge Analytica. Through all of this, ‘AMOS’ WORLD’ is always an examination on the tropes of science-fiction filmmaking and special effects, with cinematic references to ‘Logan’s Run’ (1976) and Ava, the humanoid robot in Alex Garland’s feature film ‘Ex-Machina’ (2014), and its allusions to what film theorist Barbara Creed terms the “monstrous-feminine.”
Evans establishes a sense of changeability at the heart of this video work, which is voiced throughout. This idea is reinforced by Evans when she plays the character of ‘The Weather’ as well as ‘The Manager’, who voices in the opening lines that it this film is an “incomplete narrative of fragments in a story with missing parts.”
‘AMOS’ WORLD’ appears in Tramway as a mosaic of tall screens, heavy concrete and steel viewing pods, an array of props and sets, and a deconstructed Amos puppet with interchangeable heads that display a range of emotions: detachment, denial and anxiety. Alongside Amos’ architectural office and library, viewers will discover a mood board assembled from cut-outs from magazines, two collages of small video screens playing gif-like loops, a light-box transparency of red roses and the image of a busy motorway akin to a still from Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ (1982).
The overall affect is a work that exists without a space where an audience might reside, a place where any empathy for the characters or their situation might be gleaned. And between Amos’ manufactured insincerity and garrulousness, and the film script’s obfuscation, the trilogy of films do not know quite what they believe or what they are trying to express.