Join McLeavey Gallery for the opening of Special Measures, a show by Veronika Djoulai.

During feudal times in central Europe when people ventured outside, they did so in groups. No journey could be made by fewer than two people, and if it happened that they were not related, they bound themselves by rites of brotherhood, creating an artificial bond that lasted as long as the journey required. People lived in very close knit circles, so those who were seen wandering alone became the object of suspicion.

Private space in Middle Ages was divided into two distinct areas: one fixed, enclosed, attached to a location; the other mobile, free to move through public space, yet embodying the same hierarchies and held together by the same controls. Within this mobile cell peace and order were maintained by a power whose mission was to organise a defense against the intrusion of the public authorities, for which purpose an invisible wall, as solid as the enclosure that surrounded the house, was erected against the outside world. This power enveloped and restrained the individuals of the household, subjecting them to a common discipline. Power meant constraint. And if private life meant secrecy, it was a secrecy shared by all members of the household, hence fragile and easily violated.

History can be manipulated to create convenient metaphors with the present. With the volume of information (and mis-information) that exists on social media means that its easier to find connections and beliefs that suits the individual. Ever changing algorithm filters compress these connections even further by pre-profiling individuals into categories and continuing serving similar search results based on the online behaviour of the user. It's in this environment that a historical figure like Joan of Arc becomes a symbol for both - same sex marriage rallies and for the overly homophobic Marine Le Pen presidential campaigns in France. Online networks can morph into a place of darkness and ignorance, walled gardens and open commons. And like in the Middle Ages it is dictated by the connections we make with others.

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