I attended the opening of “The Architecture of Distance”, a gallery of art done by Laurie O’Brien, on February 19th, 2015 at 6 o’clock pm in the Bret Llewellyn Gallery at Alfred State College. O’Brien’s work involves different elements of video, puppetry, animation and architecture and is currently employed as a Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY and has won awards like a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation along with the Princess Grace Foundation award.
The installations in the gallery included works made from materials like paper, wood, and foam along with string and the use of protected images on the blank surfaces of the walls of the miniature buildings. O’Brien inspires for low brow forms of making in her work. Her goal is to create “impossible situations across space.”
These sculptures showed visual metaphors of how people interact online and how media how influenced us as humans and as a society. The images of the piece above show a good example of that; the left part of the work shows a series of wooden ladders leading up to a block with a Facebook Like icon with a spotlight being shined down on it. to the right it a small display of a person repeatedly clicking a mouse and switches to a person continuously pulling a rope, the physical rope out side the display connected to it and the Like icon with a series of pullies. This is a metaphor for no matter what and how much we post on Facebook, the amount of Likes we get will never be enough. For most people, these Likes fuel their egos and will continue to post the same related things to get more and more attention.
Because of the accessablity of the internet, there are a wide range of view points of different people from all over the world, and this piece above shows that well in visual metaphor. The rotating image on the right side of the whole piece is being projected to the display on the left. This is a representation of how people view the outside and other countries. But we are also being observed and monitored while with look at the other viewpoints, as represented by the webcam in front of the projected display.
O’Brien creates figures in her work that are related to some things and leaves others to be left to be mysterious. She’s all about trying to challenge the a internet user to a reader and a book to a computer and challenges what distance is to time and space. And purposely leaves things to be mysterious to the viewer.