Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad Tousi: Remote ★★★★ Tate Modern | October 9, 2022

In the not-too-distant future, five women from around the world bond around their shared interest in a Korean dog grooming show. We enter their reality by following the daily life of an isolated expat architect played by Okwui Okpokwasili. Unoaku is living in Kuala Lumpur, and she gradually forms an online friendship with four other women living on their own in Iran, Argentina, Puerto Rico, and South Africa. They come together as a group because they have all noticed something unusual about the clock in their favourite streaming show, and this realisation leads them to the discovery of some curious time/space portals in their various flats. The story is bizarre and charming, and the actors create a delightfully whimsical tone that engages the viewer from the outset. The themes of isolation and connection resonate with the recent Covid experience, but the film also speaks to the redefinition of community and people's relation to the concepts of time and space as these are affected by the internet and its inevitable successors. The artists, Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad Tousi, do a fine job of engaging these complex concepts in a way that beguiles and never overwhelms the viewer. Remote is utterly endearing and deftly avoids becoming ponderous. The film was commissioned by Artangel and numerous museums and supporters of contemporary art, and it is gradually being released around the world. If you have the opportunity, take the time to share the unusual experience of this offbeat online community.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad Tousi, REMOTE (film still), 2022. Copyright Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad Tousi. Courtesy the artists and Hauser & Wirth.

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