Friday, April 5, 2013

The Light Factory: "Connected There but Not Always Here" explores the reality of social media

The Light Factory's current exhibit, "Connected There but Not Always Here," is zooming out from all of those Facebook pictures we "like."

While social media often purports an unending stream of lively, crowded activities, the photos hung in The Light Factory contradict this account with depictions of the person behind the post. These scenes betray the cyber myths, showing a much lonelier reality.

Dina Litovsky's series, "Untag this photo," shows clumps of people hovering around a smartphone or camera, enjoying their cyber lives instead of the ongoing party. Posing for pictures takes the place of company, and those without devices sit alone.

Nate Larson and Marni Shindelman have taken to cyber stalking in the name of art. In their series, "Geolocation," the two have photographed the location from which a tweet was sent; the photos are accompanied by the tweet that summoned the artists. To capture these images, Larson and Shindelman watched  their twitter feed for interesting posts and traveled to the  locations listed by the tweeter's GPS tracker. The lack of people in any of their photos accentuates a sense of desolation.

Two photos from Larson and Shindelman's "Geolocation," in The Light Factory through May 19. Courtesy of The Light Factory. Click on the photos to enlarge.
Gabriela Herman's "Bloggers" is a series of portraits in which the subjects' faces are illuminated by their computer screens. This collection seems to observe something more positive about lives spent at a computer; the glowing laptops give off warm light and cast heavy shadows on everything except the blogger's face.

From Gabriela Herman's "Bloggers," in the Light Factory through May 19. Courtesy of The Light Factory.

This exhibit allows an opportunity to record your reactions. Visitors can sit at a computer in the gallery and respond to prompts about each artists' work as a webcam films them. The responses are then fed to a video loop projected on the wall. Celine Latulipe, Berto Gonzalez and Annabel Manning created the concept and technology for this interactive addition.