With the summer solstice just passed, what better time to take an arts-based look at one of the season’s biggest highlights: ice-lollies.
That’s just what mixed media artist group Miss Bugs has done for her show Do No Harm, an installation that consists of 900 vibrant coloured resin lollies.
And while it’s all bright and cheery, there’s a dark message here: each contains a range of pharmaceuticals, in a bid to “critique contemporary society's obsession and consumption of social media,” according to London’s Jealous Gallery, which is hosting the show.
Miss Bugs has long explored ideas around addiction to digital technology, and how our reliance on such devices acts as a dangerous “anaesthetic” that dulls reality.
The decision to use ice-lollies is smart: just as we’re told social media is all a lovely way of keeping us “connected”, this is—you could argue—“sugar coating” the truth. “The ice lollies represent the churn of the social network; the posed selfies, the frothy coffee top photos and the cute animal videos side of the internet that we all like to binge on, but inside it’s rotten and sick," says Miss Bugs.
"Digital technology whilst being a sweetener in our lives perpetually distracts us with a constant, addictive stream of information and temptation. The internet becomes a space where reason and logic are trumped by fake news, and people with extremes of opinion can shout each other down. The candy on the outside sugar coats the sickness within.”
Each lolly is created using three layers of different coloured resin, containing a mix of surgical blades, Viagra, syringes and various painkillers.
The gallery installation will see the lollies presented in “pharmaceutical orderliness,” according to Jealous, conjuring both Pop Art tropes and Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy. They will be sold in medical packaging, with instructions for application, how to store and a warning of the side effects.