Katriona Beales (UK), White Matter, 2015

 

White Matter presents elements of Beales' ongoing research into Internet addiction, as well as the black mirror of the screen and it's historical antecedents. The title of the work responds to scientific research suggesting that individuals exhibiting symptoms of Internet addiction also display changes in the white matter of their brain similar to people addicted to alcohol and other drugs. While the diagnosis of Internet addiction is yet to become an official disorder in the UK, it is widely used in China and South Korea. 

Artist

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Multi-media installation with glass sculptures, moving image and sound

 

White Matter presents elements of Beales' ongoing research into Internet addiction, as well as the black mirror of the screen and it's historical antecedents. The Mexica people treasured obsidian - a volcanic, black, glass-like material - using it for mirrors and other ceremonial devices, as portals to access other realms. Beales draws a parallel between these obsidian mirrors and contemporary mobile telecommunication devices, which also act as portals into vast realms of information.

 

Visitors are invited to handle the weighty, black reflective stones and use them as viewing surfaces, watching as these hand-held objects reflect and distort the projection above. This video work consists of a series of shorts that focus on the blurring between offline and online realities -the tendency to get lost online and immersed within flows of information.

The title of the work responds to scientific research suggesting that individuals exhibiting symptoms of Internet addiction also display changes in the white matter of their brain similar to people addicted to alcohol and other drugs. While the diagnosis of Internet addiction is yet to become an official disorder in the UK, it is widely used in China and South Korea.

 

This work contains flashing images.

 

A new commission for FACT, developed in conversation with Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, one of the UK’s leading experts on online addictions, based at Royal College of Psychiatrists, London. 


 

The artist would like to thank:
Anthony Spence at the British Museum, Bruce Marks, Django and Alfie Pinter, FACT, Hana Janečková, Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Luc Julien, Shane Beales, Uniform (Mark Lee, Antonio Miele & Lucy Johnston) and Vanessa Bartlett.

 

Brain imagery courtesy of the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging and Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Consortium of the Human Connectome Project - www.humanconnectomeproject.org

Soundtrack by Shane Beales

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