Artist explores internet addiction: “I’m talking about conflicts at the heart of my life”

Review of ‘Are we all addicts now?’ at Furtherfield by Lydia Ashman

Published on a-n 18th Sept 2017

Extract below, read full review here

“I’m trying to articulate the pull of online spaces. I want the experience to be seductive and at the same time, a bit disquieting. Because that’s how I feel; I’m embroiled in these things. I’m talking about conflicts which are at the heart of my life.”

Artist Katriona Beales is discussing ‘Are We All Addicts Now?’ (AWAAN?), her exhibition at Furtherfield Gallery in London which explores the nuances of compulsive internet usage. Through sculpture, moving image and installation, the show seeks to translate Beales’ ambivalent experience of online environments into the tactile and bodily.

The exhibition forms part of a cross-disciplinary and collaborative investigation into the lure of digital technology, instigated by Beales three years ago. In addition to the exhibition, which is on until 16 November, AWAAN? culminates in the publication of a book, and a symposium at Central St Martin’s, London on 7 November.

AWAAN? taps into burgeoning research into internet addiction, and wider medical, political and social discourses about the ways in which proliferating digital technologies are impacting on us. Importantly, the project questions where agency resides in our online behaviour. At its heart lies the charged and as-yet-unresolved provocation: do we shape technology, or does technology shape us?