Week 7 – Artist Conversation – Brianna Meli

Exhibition Information

Artist: Brianna Meli
Exhibition: OVER-REALMED
Media: Mixed Media
Gallery: Marilyn Werby Gallery
Website: BriannaMeli.com

About the Artist

Brianna Meli is an undergrad at CSULB and is a part of the fibers program on campus. The exhibition is Meli’s first non-degree exhibition. Mali grew up in Anaheim, but she is currently living on and off campus. Meli works in a library where she tries to incorporate art workshops and programs for kids and teens. She hopes to get them interested in art and to communicate with them through art. Meli believes that people spend too much time on their phones and feels that people do not communicate face to face anymore, but are always hiding behind their phone or laptop.

Formal Analysis

In the gallery, Meli sets up a video in which she is sitting on a chair at a park and knitting and ignoring her cellphone which is constantly beeping. Instead of knitting yard, Meli is knitting together different cords. In the next part of her video, she is trying to get into a car and drive away however she cannot do so because her phone is constantly beeping and she has hard time ignoring the text messages. She starts her car, but she just sits in there replying to messages. In the middle of the gallery, Meli brings the chair she is sitting on in the video and lays a whole bunch of cords such as aux cords and USB cords, connected to one another on top of the chair.

Content Analysis

I think that when Meli is trying to knit together the cords, she is trying to show how we are connected to technology in that we connect cords, such as our headphones and aux cords, to our phone into slots to listen to music or to talk to others. I thought Meli’s video was really powerful in that it is showing someone ignoring their cell phone and concentrating on the task at hand. I think she is trying to say that ignoring technology is possible and can be done. In the second part of Meli’s video, she shows a person not being able to drive their car to run an errand because they are not capable of ignoring their cellular device. Mali’s video illustrates both sides of the rainbow, one side in which someone does a good job of ignoring their cell phones and the other side in which someone cannot ignore their cell phones. I think Meli is trying to say that we need to find balance in our lives of when we should use our phones and when we shouldn’t. Furthermore, I think Meli is trying to say we need a break from technology at times to accomplish tasks and to be at peace.

Synthesis / My Experience

When I first walked into the gallery, I felt that it really resonated with me because I spend so much time on my phone and on social media. I like going on social media to keep up with my TV shows, my friends and family. Sometimes when I am not on social media, I feel like I am missing out on news and seeing what people are up to. When I try to put my phone away I always come back to it with an important message from a friend asking for help or something hence I always feel like I need to be on my phone. Furthermore, when I am not with my phone such as times when I accidentally leave it at home, it makes me feel uncomfortable and that I a part of me is missing. I want to do a better job of weaving myself out of social media and technology. Like Meli’s art expresses, I think I need to find balance of when I should and shouldn’t use my phone. At times, I definitely feel uncomfortable when I am trying to hang out with my friends and they are always on their phones, so I think it is important at times to not be on our phones so much.

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