/*Internet Series*/ function Distract(User);
Oil Paint on Wood Panel
20″ X 24″
Not for sale
The Internet cannot completely be explained as a tool. It’s unique. Rising forth from the efforts of millions of people, the Internet is so vast that there is no human in existence that has the expertise to produce a significant fraction of the Internet. Although it is similar to the “Invisible Hand” of the economy, the Internet influences our daily lives down to the level of shaping our thoughts and opinions with information, opportunities, and collaboration like never before. I think of the Internet as our hive mind. David Bowie aptly called it an “alien life form” and presciently proclaimed it would change everything back in the late nineties when it was still more of a novelty to most of us. It is a masterpiece of the human collective that we use every day, but rarely stop to think how much it impacts the way we function.
It has changed us too, our brains struggling to multi-task, and our attention spans shortening along with our memories. However, we are committing less to memory because we can access the answers to almost anything with a few clicks on our keyboards or phones.
I am going to explore the interactions between us and our powerful non-biological offspring/colleague, the Internet. I want to examine how we use it, what it does for us, what it is, and how it is changing our behavior and abilities. My first painting is an update to the classic interior scene. Everyday life is unfolding on the canvas as it has for centuries, but this is a modern situation. Rather than an embroidery hoop or a butter churn, this painting features a girl using a computer. This piece depicts the power of the computer to distract us from the rest of the world. The captivating entertainment of the Internet can make us oblivious to all else. In this case, the culprit is social media, and the screen includes a quote from Charlie Chaplain, “You’ll never see a rainbow if you are looking down.”
I often recognize the humor of sitting at my computer reading the multitude of quotes about seizing the day in lieu of actually seizing the day. It’s easy for me to find myself in a similar situation since I live in a year-round warm climate. We all need to take time off between adventures to recharge, but since we are optimistic creatures, we tend to post impossible advice featuring the words “always” and “never”. “Always live like it’s your last day.” “Never quit.” This all seems to be some deeply rooted aspect of human nature.
The day unfolding outside the window is a gorgeous day that deserves to be captured and posted on social media, just like the beach photo on the screen. Sometimes those of us on social media end up enjoying the photo albums of other people in the virtual realm instead of experiencing our own ethereal moments in real life. Outside the window is the fleeting perfection that our inspirational social media quotes tell us to fully experience. She does not notice. She is missing the type of day we share with each other in photos that fuel our FOMO into a frenzy (because YOLO). It is a common modern dilemma, and the only solution to it seems to be to search up an inspirational quote to remind ourselves and others to get off the computer and live real life. 😉
I titled it in a format echoing the structure of computer code. /*Internet Series*/ Function Distract(user);
Fun facts: This piece won Best in Show AHA 90th Anniversary Show 2016. It was also one of the pieces that I submitted as my portfolio to be successfully juried into Oil Painters of America.