Artist: Brianna Meli
Media: Fiber, video
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Werby Gallery
Pictured above: the cloths in the middle of the room that spell out “LOL… IDK.” Under that are the jump rope-like wires laid out by the projection on the left side of the room.
About the artist
Brianna Meli is an undergraduate student in CSULB’s fiber arts program. Currently working on her BFA, Brianna plans to pursue a master’s degree after graduating from CSULB. She wants to pursue a master’s degree in library science. Brianna plans to use her library science master’s degree to help her incorporate art into her future career. Brianna says that she finds herself uncomfortable with how much she looks at her phone, which is very prevalent in this piece.
Pictured above: the cloths that spell out “IDK,” short for “I don’t know.” They too are covered in wires.
The exhibit contains four pieces. To the left and the right walls of the room, a video is projected on the left side of Brianna sewing pieces from the exhibit while seated at a chair in a park. The projected video on the right side of the room features Briana seated in the same chair at the park and alternates with video of her in bed, she uses her phone heavily in both. As the video and plays and one walks around the room, loud sounds of phone notifications buzz, becoming louder and more rapid with time. The chair that Brianna sits in during the videos is on display on the right of side of the room. It is a chair with white quilt draped over it, decorated with patches of colors like yellow, purple, red, and green. Phone charger and earphone wires that have been sewn together are placed on the chair and on the floor surrounding the chair. On a left corner of the room lie more wires that have been sewn together, made to look like multiple long pairs of jump ropes that have been tangled together. In the center of the room are sewn cloths, one with “LOL…” in red and then three more with the letters “I,” “D,” and “K,” one letter per cloth.
Pictured above: the chair seen in the videos. The artist sits in the chair while sewing at the park. The chair is surrounded by wires from various phone accessories.
As pointed out in the artist’s statement, this piece focuses on two questions that the artist asks herself: “What happens if I choose to remove myself from internet platforms; how will anyone see my work if it isn’t online? Will I be left out and void of opportunities?” and “How does the relationship to my physical body change if I spend so much time in the digital realm?” The piece is an attempt to find a balance between the physical and digital realms. She finds herself between these two realities. Brianna says that she now feels pressured to stay relevant in the online space in order to have her art be noticed, and she appears to be struggling with having the energy to do this and maintain a grasp of the physical world.
Pictured above: images from the video playing on the left side of the room, the artist sews wires in the park while staying off the phone.
The divide between both the physical and digital realms is shown by the difference in the videos playing on both sides of the room. The video showing Brianna sewing in the park represents her life in the physical realm without the control that phones can have, while the video showing Brianna waking up to check her phone and constantly checking the phone while sewing in the park represents a life where the digital realm has become dominant. The chair is the link between both realms. The cloths with “LOL…” and “IDK,” the latter being slang for “I don’t know,” appear to represent a state of uncertainty between which realm the artist is in. It being in the middle shows how easily we can fall into either side depending on what we choose to do. The cloths also show how hard it can be to achieve a balance between both sides, as parts of both realms always surround you, like the wires around the chair. The constant presence of both objects that represent both realms and the constant sounds of notification show how difficult it can be to escape one realm for the other when both are always around us and, for many, focal and necessary parts of our lives.
Pictured above: images from the video playing on the right side of the room, the artist’s attention is drawn to her phone upon waking up and while sewing in the park.