The Underpinning Newsfeed (2011)

Curated by sknielse
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(Note: Words of War is meant to be the first exhibition piece. Everything else in this exhibition is in the right order.) Here we have the underpinnings of news feed--where the information that is being fed to a person and how the digestion of that information affects them psychologically and emotionally. Over time, great discontent has been expressed due to war, violence, generated information of news, and everything else that serves as sub feeds to those topics. Beginning with the first work in the curation, the reason for "words of war" is to immediately begin with a dominant topic of social media that, as developed in the project, deconstructs previous notions of each leader in order to reflect the methods they advocated back on each other--to therefore show their similarities and make one think more about what is happening on the opposing side. There is unrest and discontent as each leader points a finger at the other and the argument remains perpetuated and the problem unresolved. From "words of war" the exhibition is lead into "whenever i see a plane, i remember the smell..." which is the expression of discontent over the events of 9/11. An event that shall forever remain in the mental, emotional, and physical senses of the witness forever. The project is composed of live web cams from the NYC airport and the Boston airport. The purpose of the project is to show the steady affect on the mind, how it correlates the images between the two live web cams, how its all different from a movie experience,and interconnect two distinct ideas. The basis, a.k.a. the underpinning, of live newsfeed and how ideas are placed into the mind and interconnected: such as NYC with planes and planes with NYC. In the third piece of the exhibition, what is seen is a home monitoring system that measures the levels of discontent a person experience while pacing and documents it. The elevated track is connected to a wall-mounted unit that dispenses red yarn in order to measure in string the equivalent time paced. The Artist decided to take the project to another level in terms of happiness and other countries--how happiness can supposedly be measured so unhappiness can be too. The red yarn then becomes a physical representation of national anxiety and discontent. To me, the red yarn also represents the continuous anger and bloodshed as a result of terror, violence, and war. The unending opposition to reason, no empathy whatsoever, as the world grows more and more discontent with its leaders and countries positions. The color of flags and bold letters on screens to lure eyes and minds into newsfeeds so that information may be poured down their throats, through their ears, into their blood, and flow to their minds. On that note, the fourth piece in the exhibition is all about news and how such an overload of information will kill people. "Average Shoveler" is a project designed as a video game in which the person must battle information as it topples over their head in the form of snowflakes. There is no way to save ones life because the constant bombing (pun intended) of information will eventually break the person down. Last, but not least, in the exhibition is "Unstable Empathy." The project is meant to establish a certain affect on the emphatic state of the player, cause them to constantly renegotiate the state they're in, through abstract imagery as it plays out on the screen in the background. As written by the artist Mattia Casalegno in part of her description of the project, "Empathy is the capacity to recognize or understand the state of mind or emotion of another person. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes”, or to in some way to experience the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself. It may be described metaphorically as an emotional kind of resonance or mirroring." The idea of mirroring emotions is no different then mirroring ideas. Connecting back to the very first work in the exhibition, the project mirrors the methods of terror and who is right and who is wrong between two very dominant figures: George Bush and Osama Bin Laden. What these two leaders did however was place the mirror in front of their followers and reflect their words, their ideas, back into our heads through speeches and social media. They affected the emotional state of others and the project calls for one to renegotiate their own state of empathy in order to listen to both sides and understand how their methods are actually interconnected: the back and forth roll of the devils advocate. Social media and political figures do not present two sides to a story, but one and enough to affect the viewer. Returning to piece number four in the exhibition, if news feeds begin presenting constantly different ideas to the viewer such as the difference between watching Fox News and CNN then its no wonder a person would crack under the pressure of the information overload. Can you see now how that might create Unstable Empathy? All of these pieces and the ideas embedded within them,the overall meanings they project to the world, are interconnected. One just has to see both sides: The Underpinning Newsfeed of the world.

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