Film on gender equality to form centre piece of programme on social divides

Rachel Maclean’s first feature film will form part of Scotland’s “New Agora” 

A NEW FEATURE film by Scottish artist Rachel Maclean, Make Me Up, will present a darkly satirical look at gender equality and feminism in the modern capitalist world, as part of a series of works and events aimed at sparking constructive conversations across social and political divides.

Inspired by the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage and the suffragette protests, the film is based in a brightly coloured dystopian future where a group of women are trapped in a reality TV style competition, set within St Peter's Seminary in Cardross.

With names including Siri and Alexa, the characters’ journey to overthrow a system in which physical attractiveness and obedience are paramount offers a harsh commentary on modern society.

Maclean describes her film as an exploration of “the excitements and complications of contemporary feminism” and as her “most ambitious work to date”.

"The New Agora will offer a radical digital and physical space where everyone can speak without reprimand or censure.” Angus Farquhar, NVA

The film will form the centre piece of arts charity NVA’s (nacionale vita activa) inaugural annual New Agora, which aims to bring the spirit of the Ancient Greek agora to Scotland, where people would gather to discuss the major issues of the day.

Through a programme of artworks and public events, the New Agora will seek to enable conversations across social and political divides in a world where such divides can appear insurmountable.

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of NVA explained: “NVA will be exploring these ideas in depth through this year’s New Agora programme of debate, discussion and digital installations.

“To reflect the shocking divides and incredible convergences that define human experience today, the New Agora will offer a radical digital and physical space where everyone can speak without reprimand or censure.”

This year’s programme will focus on the theme of ‘representation’ and will be announced in full in the Spring.

“[NVA's] New Agora Season will showcase the perfect stage Scotland offers for cultural programmes and events.” Paul Bush, VisitScotland

Make Me Up will be NVA’s first external commission linked to the ruined modernist icon of St Peter’s Seminary, which the organisation aims to reclaim as a platform for public art. Using CGI technology, the seminary will reflect the “feminine”, pop-coloured setting of Maclean’s vision.

The film is also part of Represent, a series of artworks, events and discussions inspired by the Representation of the People Act 1918, presented by 14-18 Now which will commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Produced by NVA and Hopscotch films and commissioned by 14-18 Now and BBC Scotland, Make Me Up be shown in screenings across the UK and broadcast on the BBC in 2018.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Following the success of Hinterland [NVA’s last major project], EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of NVA in their pursuit in establishing St Peter’s as a location for public art and ground breaking events in Scotland.

“Their New Agora Season with ‘Make Me Up’ as its centre piece will showcase the perfect stage Scotland offers for cultural programmes and events.”

Picture courtesy of Rachel Maclean, courtesy of NVA and Hopscotch Films

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