Network Bed

2017 | Installation

“Katriona Beales’s work has consistently been concerned with digital culture and online behavioural addictions. Are We All Addicts Now? came out of a prolonged period of insomnia that was both fuelled and soothed by surfing the internet’s infinite web of hyper-stimulating images, and it is these conflicting reactions to the digital – what Beales terms productive “sites of tension” – that preoccupy the viewer’s interaction with the exhibition. Piercingly bright, super-saturated nodes of light disrupt the gallery’s pitch-black interior. As visitors feel their way through the darkness, they come across the glimmer of a video installation titled Networked Bed (2017). The work comprises a sunken black-velvet bed in which sits a fluid glass sculpture with an embedded screen showing a video of fluttering moths. Like us, the moths appear to be compulsively drawn to the screen’s glow, seduced and ensnared by the lure of digital technology, for us the portal to the online world.” Henry Broome writing about ‘Network Bed’ in  Studio International 

Network Bed (2017) comprises a sunken bed installation covered with foam and black velvet. The audience is invited to climb up some steps and then down into the work. Overhead a projection (Update from the Wasteland II 1min02) shows a moth who’s colours are slowly morphing. Within the bed itself, a glass sculpture embedded with a raspberry pi screen shows ‘Update from the Wasteland I’ (6m53). As moths flutter inside the sculpture, two sets of headphones allow the audience to sit amongst the soft, warm space and listen to the whispered audio, a concrete poem from my twitter timeline. A sheer net hung with dichroic screens stripped from mobile phones screens the audience within the bed off from the rest of the gallery.

Lydia Ashman writes “Through headphones, Beales whispers disjointed sentences. Like the scroll of unrelated content from a Twitter feed, references to Trump are juxtaposed with mentions of cute cats and desperate pronouncements such as ‘We all fail, always’ and ‘I do not want to be human today’. The effect is at once hypnotic and claustrophobic; the softness and darkness encourage intimacy, but the restless movements of the bright moths, distorted by the glass, suggest a distracted mind, trapped in a loop.” Lydia Ashman in ‘Artist explores internet addiction: “I’m talking about the conflicts at the heart of my life’ published on a-n 18th Sept 17

Shown as part of ‘Are we all addicts now?’ new work by Katriona Beales and Fiona MacDonald at Furtherfield 15th Sept-12th Nov 2017