5.9 Million, Tramway, Glasgow

Mary Brennan


We've been watching Junction 25 for ten years now - a decade in which this innovative youth group, based at Tramway under the aegis of Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore, has devised a dozen or more shows about issues that affect them. We've watched, and been entertained but also made to question our own attitudes and expectations.The current crop of Junctioneers are celebrating this anniversary by shrewdly reflecting on the burgeoning presence of surveillance in our society, be it through the 5.9 million CCTV cameras that speckle our streets or through the social networks that encourage users to surrender their privacy by posting photos and personal details.

First up, we're briskly split into groups of six and given rules to follow: this is all about control. Tramway One has become a maze of little black cubicles, each one providing brief encounters with aspects of surveillance and information gathering. We're soon following the arrows and doing what we're told. On one level it feels like a game, but there's an insidious pressure attached to our conforming - whether it's in answering a rapid fire questionnaire or standing silently in front of an (unmanned) camera. Even more unnerving than imposed bureaucracy, however, are the glimpses of how public our private lives have become - three girls pose for selfies they post on-line, while for another girl being on-line is a portal for anonymous, bullying abuse. Funny, provocative and bleak - there was nothing reassuring about the unseen voice whispering all this was for "our protection", but the final collective outburst, where the whole group joined forces to shout out what they do "when you're not watching" was a glorious chorale of odd-ball rebellions. Yet another Junction 25 show well worth watching.