Billie Marten heads out onto the streets of London in Joe Wheatley's video for Human Replacement - in a tank.Decked out in combat gear, Marten sits upon the top of the huge armoured vehicle, as it cuts through nighttime streets in the West End. But the extraordinary sight is also delivered in an understated fashion. And what initially seems enjoyably absurd is armed with a message.Wheatley and Marten's second collaboration together following Creature Of Mine, makes a jaw-dropping scenario seem routinely commonplace in order to make its underlying point more effectively: this is what women have to do to feel safe at night.Having passed other women, all similarly dressed, the moment that Billie steps off the tank to enter a shop and buy a pint of milk, and then gets back in her tank, really hits home.Marten and Wheatley have made a thought-provoking work that gives a memorable image a proper political meaning and significance. The message should be taken seriously.
Rob Ulitski - 24th May 2021