Installed at the University of Redlands Art Gallery, January 14 - February 9, 2020
BEWARE is an installation of 225 signs, composed of words and phrases about a broad range of topics widely debated in mass media and popular discourse between 2018-2019. These topics, radically reduced to emotionally charged sound bites and headlines, serve as touchstones for some of the largest, multi-dimensional problems in our society. Think “Wall Street,” “Transphobia,” or “Taxes,” and you will instantaneously align yourself with a specific perspective or belief system.
With sound bites, headlines and social media a new source of knowledge, we as readers, watchers and posters, are tailoring the information we ingest, and broadcast based on our belief systems. The internet and social media platforms are exponentially helping us—allowing us editorial oversight while reflecting back information and opinions based on our “likes” and individual authority. Through this democratization, agency is given to voices historically marginalized, yet concurrently it produces a silo effect: the repetition of one’s own beliefs in a never-ending, like-minded echo chamber. This skewing serves as an accelerant, aiding the seemingly ever-increasing social polarization we find ourselves in today.
Despite the emotionally compelling stories we hear, the sardonic memes we post, the on-screen shouting heads with flashy infographics, or even the simple clarity of black-on-white text—it is here we collectively find ourselves, deadlocked. Regardless of our political orientation, this radicalization has left us unable to move forward for the greater social good.
Jesse Finley Reed, January 2020