As an interdisciplinary artist, I am fascinated by the façade of the Internet. With the rise of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms, I am compelled by how online identities function and relationships are navigated digitally. My thesis exhibition, SUGAR COATED, immerses audiences in a creative installation that reflects upon these ideas. Immediate splendor and delight from handmade emoji bean bags, giant candy hearts, stuffed digital symbols, and musical ringtones are a veneer to the contrasting, apprehensive language, passive aggression, at times, invaded privacy we encounter online.
My research of the analysis on digital culture explores “camp” theories and its involvement with social psychology. For something to be “campy,” it teeters the line between humor and horror or self-awareness and naïvety. In the context of art history, camp takes on a frivolous appearance, theatrical aesthetics, and shocking excess of over-the-top stylization. My work explores these notions, while inviting the broader community to participate in a social Valentine’s Day exhibition. With a multitude of varying access-points, a vast array of individuals including children, art-academics, and community members can appreciate the work. My interactive show will foster societal change by offering face-to-face human connection, unlike the impersonal online “like” of relationship updates or re-tweet of cute puppies.
This first iteration of the creative installation SUGAR COATED, transformed the Harry Wood Gallery at Arizona State University February 7th through 14th, 2020. In a time where information, ideas, and actions move faster everyday, I ask the audience of SUGAR COATED to slow down and participate in collective mindfulness.
SUGAR COATED: SOCIAL SECURITY
This second iteration of the SUGAR COATED era took place during the early months of COVID-19. From March through May of 2020, the main drag of University Street in Tempe Arizona was illuminated by the psychedelic black light and glowing pop from the portal-like windows of Fine Art Complex 1101. As a street viewable space and solo exhibition, SUGAR COATED: SOCIAL SECURITY, as stated by Grant Vetter, [transverses] the playful, the humorous and the sanguine in order to highlight where we are in culture today.
A final excerpt from Vetter's March 2020 Essay on this exhibition:
Why millenials will certianly never struggle with new media the way past generations do, they face an entirely different battle over how to connect, why and with whom. This is what the author of The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution and the leader of Occupy Wallstreet, Micah White, called the battle over our mental ecology. This has become an issue of paramount importance because being birthed into the information industrial complex has also meant being subject to a soft form of psychological warfare for millenials, with little choice but to try to separate out the rampant spread of clickbait, info-tainment, online disinhibition effects and even the worries of revenge porn from the valuted promises of living in a more "connected world". Torri’s contribution to helping us think through the complexity of the present situtation is what makes her oveure so prescient. While her tongue and cheek approach to addressing how digital and aesthetic experience informs our given dispositions at any one time, and even how we perceive the world around us, the more discerning viewer will be sure to note that lying just beneath the play of both material and screen effects, are those truly critical issues that resist being all-too-easily sugar-coated.
To read the full essay, follow the link below.