Stephanie Wilson
Volume & The Void (2017)

Hazel Soper
Slags. I blame the parents. (2017)

Robert Cooper
@thefutureisfamous (2017)

url 2 irl 2 url

It’s common knowledge that people act differently on the internet than in the ‘real’ world, with the mask of the screen to hide behind one arguably allows their true self to appear, anonymously trolling on internet forums whilst creating countless profiles on Facebook in order to ‘cyber-bully’, an old hat phrase by todays standards… Although in the post-Trump era we are seeing a revolution, or evolution, of the cyber bully, reverting to being a physical embodiment of the bully, a frightening prospect. This week’s exhibition on isthisit?, titled ‘url 2 irl 2 url’, grouped together a number of artworks that explore the disconnect that occurs between our offline and online selves and how social media is constantly used as a space to create an alter ego of oneself. As you first encounter the exhibition you’re assaulted by the consistent sound of white noise coming from Hazel Soper’s video ‘Slag. I blame the parents.’ that utilises a variety of found texts which seem to have been taken from various online message boards. These float across the screen, eventually filling the space and effectively drowning the viewer in abusive messages, specifically levelled at women, reinforcing the offline hierarchy that’s commonly reciprocated on websites like 4chan and Reddit. On the other end of the screen there’s Stephanie Wilson’s short film ‘Volume & The Void’ which sees a flimsy cut out of a robotic hand being manoeuvred, as if stroking something, which in this case becomes the film that’s being layered behind it, a close up exploration of a human hand. This subtle experience that slowly occurs over the course of a few minutes is oddly charming, and, rather than experiencing a disconnect between the two forms, I begin to see beauty on the screen, the dancing fingers of the robotic hand being embraced by the details of the human skin. Maybe a look to the robotic relationships of the future... The final piece is a digital image from Robert Cooper titled ‘@thefutureisfamous’, which is their handle on Instagram, an ongoing art project within itself where they post photographs of themselves, usually heavily digitally altered, exploring the line between the online and the offline self that is continually questioned by users of various social media platforms. As we as a race become more immersed in creating a fictitious online portrait of ourselves, it begs the question, who is the real you? Or, more personally, which one of you is the real Bob?

Curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight