Date: 07 – 16 April 2017
Private View: Thursday 6 April 2017, 6 – 8 pm (register)
Open 11 am – 5 pm, Thursday – Sunday or by appointment
For her exhibition at Furtherfield Gallery, Alison Ballard presents Offline Is The New Luxury a collection of works exploring our relationship with technology and the Internet. When daily encounters are increasingly mediated by online technology, how is this affecting our experience of live-ness, presence, and time?
With live streaming, instant replays and video chat technologies, concepts of time, space, and distance, are changing. We ‘hang out’ together online, we ‘live chat’ with computer algorithms, watch cat videos over and over again and share world political events as they happen, ‘in real time’. Contemporary Western culture has become now-centric. Social media offers more ways than ever to ‘go live’ meaning we no longer have to share our experiences with others in the past tense (a photograph we took on holiday or a video of the event we attended last week). Instead, we share our every moment instantaneously in a continuously unfolding now.
The Narrator Is Present is an audio work with narrative ambiguity and a sinister underbelly. How can we distinguish fictional narrative from truth among the multitude of disembodied voices on the Internet? Who is it that is speaking to us and what do they want? Existing simultaneously in Furtherfield Gallery and online, the work also explores the dualistic experiences of the virtual and the physical, and the ways in which these two spaces contribute to a single reality.
In Live Stream of Consciousness Ballard asks; can the Internet be good for our health? Spending time in parks can improve mental and physical wellbeing by relieving stress, reducing depression, improving memory and cognitive function, and boosting creativity. Can the same mental and physical health benefits of visiting a park be achieved via meditation, online? Ballard attempts to find out with this 20-minute seated meditation, originally broadcast as a live stream from Chalkwell Park, Southend-on-Sea, in 2016. By displaying this work inside Furtherfield Gallery, the artist invites us to reflect upon the physical and mental health benefits that Finsbury Park brings to our day-to-day lives.
Through these works and more, Ballard reflects upon the current state of hyper-reality; the context-collapse of the real and unreal, the distinction between what is simulated and what seems ‘real’, and invites us to reconsider our view of reality.
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