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Wednesday 6th February – Saturday 2nd March 2013 WW Gallery, 34/35 Hatton Garden EC1N 8DX
Hello Friend is the debut solo exhibition of new work by Siobhan Barr.
Developing upon previous works, which jovially explored the impact of modern telecommunications on our evolving language, Siobhan Barr’s new body of work brings together darker themes of loneliness and internet use, with a strong focus on the concept of Internet Abuse.
The Internet is a global super brain in a constant state of flux; a social structure which promotes speed, distance, and anonymity. It facilitates millions of individuals worldwide to discover, interact with, and generate a plethora of information. Barr views Internet Abuse, much like any addiction, as “characterised by cycles of dependency and withdrawal symptoms. A preoccupation with cyberspace elicits behavioural disturbances in ‘real’ life, mediated through use of the internet to alter mood and to escape the stress of ‘real’ life.”
Barr wonders if loneliness and disassociation is a by-product of excessive internet use, where ‘time spent online’ displaces ‘face to face’ time, or if individuals are just as vulnerable to developing an internet addiction due to pre-existing emotional disorders? The nature versus nurture debate may or may not be a moot point here; where does low self-esteem or repressed aggression originate anyway?
Online there is a forum to cater for every need and the web provides a haven to interact with a vastly expanded social network, allowing us to modify or create an entirely new persona. It is liberating and empowering. It is dangerous and invasive. It is our best friend and worst enemy.
As a self-confessed internet addict, Barr’s artistic lexicon is drawn from her personal web adventures, as well as extensively researching and accumulating indicators about how others interact with the Internet. Barr utilises Spam, autocomplete algorithms, niche forums, the rise of B2C International trading (particularly from Asia), auction sites, and Social Networking, as well as continuing her exploration into our evolving language and the rise of popular acronyms designed for Web chat.
Hello Friend is a collection of playful, cheeky and darkly humorous new works predominantly utilising text and digital reproduction techniques, as well as QR codes as an optional way to invite the audience to interact.Each piece has both a physical and virtual execution; the concepts play with trust – for anything (or anyone) could be at the other end of the link (or username) – thus mirroring the act of opening unsolicited bulk email, or taking sweets from strangers…
with the work.
About the artist
#justsaying. Siobhan Barr’s work embodies the spirit of British humour; with tongue-in-cheek phrasing and cutting irony she assesses the modern cultural landscape, primarily in work utilising text as the medium of communication. Barr’s work is playful and unpretentious in its execution;
she advocates humour in art and challenges the prevailing art-world indoctrination in which only the solemn and serious is worthy and valuable. Barr lives and works in Winchester. She holds a BA in painting from Winchester School of Art, and has held 2 long-term residencies, since graduating in 2006. She is a founding member of a successful artist-led studio project, has exhibited widely, including at the 54th Venice Biennale and her work is held in a number of private collections.