Artist: Brianna Meli
Media: Fiber, Video installation
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Marilyn Webry Gallery
Brianna Meli is a 26 year-old undergrad student attending CSULB’s BFA of Fibers art program. She initially attended CSULB around 2010-2012 pursuing illustration. She left for academic leave in order to start a business with a friend. She soon realized it was not something she wanted to do so she returned to CSULB and instead of pursuing illustration, she began sewing. She started off by practicing on industrial machines full-time to sew bags for a company. After she completes her BFA of Fibers this Fall, she hopes to pursue her Masters of Library Science because she works in a library and would like to learn more about incorporating art within a library setting.
Brianna’s Over_Realmed showcases a mix of handcrafted fibers meshed together using electrical wires, chords, etc. She uses these materials to sew a banner which reads “LOL” and “IDK” which are popular texting and social media acronyms. The colors of the fiber used for the banner seem to be pastel-like colors which looked really cool. She also displays two video recordings projected on both left and right sides of the room with visuals and sounds of common tunes heard when sending and receiving messages via cellphone.
Brianna Meli spoke of how her struggle yet willingness to stay off her phone and disconnected from social media inspired her creation Over_Realmed. It is something she is always working on. She feels like if she wants to stray away from her phone, she is abandoning the many things that are tied to it like keeping up with current events, her friends’ social lives, etc. Her appreciates now that her friends know her wanting to stay off her phone because they are accustomed to now texting her directly if they feel she should know something that may be coming up that might interest her. She somehow still feels she is missing opportunities. She still, however, feels that being on our phones has become so normalized that she still feels the need to keep her work online because she believes people have forgotten other ways to actually experience art in general and not just her own. She supports the internet, but she feels like the avenues that people once kept in mind when they wanted to experience art are slowly becoming undesirable. She believes that technology should teach us lessons of realizing that as much as we keep ourselves in touch with tons of people online that we are always ultimately alone because of the normalities of technology nowadays.
I really enjoyed Brianna Meli’s Over_Realmed because I related so much to her struggle of wanting to disconnect from the online world; but because it has become so normalized and transformed into such a big part of society and getting “in the know,” that it has become extremely difficult while trying to at the same time stay connected to those around us. I often catch myself on my phone for way longer than I would like to be and for reasons none other than just scrolling the timeline. So I related a lot to her idea of wanting to be connected yet disconnected at the same time. Her weaving and sewing was awesome. I think it was a creative idea as well as the short clips she presented had such a deeper meaning of what it looks like to be on your phone from the time we wake up in the morning throughout the day until we are back in bed for the night. Overall, it was a great exhibit. I enjoyed it and look forward to new work from her, if any.