Tackling the perils of digital communication with ‘Nexus’

HQ /
Oct 6, 2017 / Culture

The team behind Brainchild Festival are bringing new project ‘Nexus’ to Platform Southwark as part of Art Licks weekend.

Designed as a ceiling installation, the project – brought to life by Emily Motto, Ed Haslam and Flow Conceptions – features 24 frame structures that weave around the space, echoing the rate in which image-per-second is captured in film and marrying the digital world with its physical counterpart. “The project began with how we could create forms that worked with material and structural dependencies”, explains Jack Dale from Flow Conceptions. Vivid surprises greet the participant, as hidden sensors trigger sound and light displays, providing the individual with artistic control – often without them realising it, before going on to note the way in which it soon developed into a dependency between the installation itself and those who enter it. The piece throws what the viewer does back at them in real time, with the unique experience changing every time you enter; whether it’s one person in the room, or a group of 20, the story created is constantly different.

The bursting space is filled with various viewpoints for the exhibition, with the many frames, colourful hoops and string woven around the room evoking the idea of fragmented opinions. This “hectic beauty” allows the individual to re-claim their voice, in a fractured discussion between the work and the worker. A fusion of such voices joined the space on Sunday evening, as Lily Ashley (Little), Grace Pilkington (Grape) and James Massiah (Jelly) brought their nine-month-long email thread to the space. Titled ‘Hell-p Me’, it’s a witty, zany and charming as it explores the benefits and limitations of communicating online.

Tackling the perils of digital communication with ‘Nexus’

In ‘Hell-p me’, the nature of 21st century communication is fully exposed. The speech is broken, emphasising how through online communication, meaning becomes fragmented or lost – which is mirrored through the fractured unpredictability of the installation. Compelling is the poets’ use of email as a tool for communication; the words go from tangible thoughts to digital format, and are then regurgitated physically in the space. The sense of honesty apparent within their words is fervent, as we are exposed to the vast forms of communication that the present day provides us with. Little Grape Jelly’s words flying around the room is reminiscent of the collision of words found on a Facebook or Twitter timeline.

In a millennial lifestyle of instant culture and weightless gratification, poetry has never been more refreshing. Speaking on the limitations and benefits of online communication, Lily has much to say. “It has been fascinating to see how well we communicate, to see what is lost, what is misunderstood and what is straight up ignored. On a few occasions, the lines I plead to be heard were skimmed and the direction changed.

“We can use these ‘pages of pixels’ to protect ourselves, to keep things ‘cute and sexy’, you are never alone if you have your smart phone, a friend goes for a piss so you check what you’ve missed on Instagram…Gemma’s pushing a pram, Gemma had a kid, but what’s being hid? The nightmare of nappy changes and holding together a relationship when you don’t have enough energy to have sex anymore cos your baby is keeping you up all night…? But then you have the honesty in the private section, in the emails, in the messages, in the private messages, private pictures, that side of the smart phone is what gets me going, the “notes” section, the voice memos, that’s where I wanna be.”

The astonishing work of both Brainchild, Little Grape Jelly and the collaboration between Ed Haslam, Emily Motto and Flow Conceptions is something not to be missed.  The exhibition is available to view tomorrow, Saturday 7 October, 3 – 5pm.

Tackling the perils of digital communication with ‘Nexus’

Words by HQ

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