(RIGHT IN) THE FEELS is a transdisciplinary project about expressing feelings in the digital age, happening across differents moments and platforms; a web show, a gallery show, instagram residencies, talks, readings and screenings.
Emotions are a basic function for our understanding of the world, and the digital has pushed affect to its extremes. Has it also changed their nature, and the way we understand and communicate them?
(RIGHT IN) THE FEELS took place online and in Brussels, from September 14 to October 24, 2020.
The tools we use, the feels we feelOur world now has another layer of reality on top of it, one made up of everything digital. Our lives are lived as much on the internet as they are in the streets. What might have once seemed like a distant and separate world has undeniably infiltrated every corner of our existences. What is the effect of this technological takeover on our most basic human function, our emotions ?
The digital has pushed affect to its extreme, whether in the mind-numbing banality of social media or the overload of viral debates; the warping of space-time or the ultra accessibility of information. On the internet, we witness touching vulnerability and honesty, as well as blatant inauthenticity. The emotional state of our digital world is affecting us in strong and visceral ways – the physicality of the internet is no longer under question, just as neuroscience has shown us that emotions are first and foremost a physical reaction.
The internet has confirmed the multifaceted aspect of emotions : now more than ever, we know that they are social and political. In the past decade, we were sometimes painfully reminded that emotion is still the driving force of society, from the personal testimonies of the #metoo movement to the numerous fake news scandals. And emotion, like data, is also traded and speculated on, manipulated, fabricated and monitored, whether by governments, private interests or massive corporations that design and control the interfaces we use (with catastrophic human and environmental impact). And on the other hand, via these interfaces, close communities organize themselves and personal development flourishes where elsewhere it failed to grow. Any way you look at it, feelings are prevalent in this new reality. Thus, the internet is a whole lot of affect crashing and speeding and multiplying : memes, forums, tweets, temporary stories, emojis, tutorials, vlogs, wikipedia articles even, everything that makes up the internet is moving information loaded with expressivity and it all relies on one underlying structure : code, or in other words, pure language.
The internet, akin to language, is the one of the greatest and most complex tool ever for expressing feelings, and in this light, it is impossible to assume that the medium hasn’t affected the message. We shape our tools, and thereafter they shape us. How has the internet affected our relationship to our emotions ? We process the world through feelings – finding ways of effectively expressing them in a world where nihilism reigns (perhaps rightly so), a world where we are ever more aware of our own shortcomings as a species, of the global complexity of, well, everything, really, is essential for staying sane and, simply, living, as long as we can.
Curatorial notesEach work in the show, online and physical, is associated with at least one of the following categories. Find them signaled by their corresponding emojis.
I. Materiality of emotion
The works in this category, informed by the science and neuroscience of emotion and by empiric experience, work literally within the domain of emotion. An emotion is a psychological and physical reaction to a situation. It has first an internal manifestation and generates and external reaction. It is caused by the interpretation of reality; emotions are thus a material phenomenon.
II. The virtual is the real
Here, works explore the permeability between the worlds know as “physical” or “real” and the one said to be “virtual”. The border between them keeps blurring and they interact non-stop, the events of one spilling into the other so often that the distinction is almost outdated. These works navigate the frontier, the in-betweens, and the states of confusion or drifting that emerge.
III. Personal Identity
These artists use internet and digital tools to better define their own identity. For them, it’s a way of better understanding and managing their feelings, and a way to better know themselves and their position in the world. Often, they find that identity cannot be built entirely alone. Identity starts at an intimate level of personal definition, and in the end is about a shared and collective fight.
IV. Community & Relationships
Internet clearly is a community and network tool. What relationships are created there? Which communities organize themselves, and how? These works take on the question of the commons, and building links and kinship to others. Living together digitally isn’t the utopia it was at the time of the web’s beginnings, and capitalism tends to swallow and flatten everything, but internet remains an incredible tool for communication. This category explores the digital commons as a form of resistance.
V. Digital Natives
Most of the artists of the show are from a generation known as Digital Natives. They grew up with internet and have a precise understanding of its workings and codes. They hijack expectations, play with ideas of digital folklore and their works incorporate the specificity of the medium. Irony, melancholy or ecstasy are recurring feelings in their online lives.
This generation was born in mourning and what the future holds is uncertain to say the least. But day to day, many must fight to survive the chaos all around. Dystopia is already here. The works in this category are marked by the scars of a constant battle against a world whose failings appear ever more clearly.
VII. The next world
Finally, these works think, tell, dream, fear the possible futures. A “post” for all of them: post-in-ternet, post-truth, post-biodiversity, post-human...
09.14.20 – 10.24.20
Online group show on the rightinthefeels.copyright.rip website, and on the @rightinthefeels.xoxo instagram.
10.15.20 – 10.24.20
Physical group show at la galerie de l’erg, rue du Page 87, 1050 Bruxelles.
02.2020 – 04.2020
Public open call.
Launch of the webshow on rightinthefeels.copyright.rip during a livestreamed online event.
Start of the instagram residencies.
Opening of the gallery show at la galerie de l’erg, in Brussels.
10.16.2020 + 10.21.2020
(RIGHT IN) THE FEELS: share your feelings
Talking groups, one without cisgender men and the other open to all, taking place at erg in Brussels.
Talks, readings and screenings at erg’s auditorium.
End of both the online and gallery shows.
- May Abnet (BE)
- Mathilde Block & Louis Garrido (BE+FR)
- Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne (AUS+US)
- Fiona Brunet (FR)
- Laura Brunisholz (FR)
- Martin Campillo (FR)
- Sarah Dessardo (FR)
- Alexa Detorakis & Dimitri Karastokas (CAN/GRE)
- Giuliana Diada (IT/BE)
- Darian Donovan Thomas (US)
- Héloïse Doret (BE)
- Xavier Duffaut (BE)
- Thiaba Egutchi Diop & Leo O’Faigan Konishi (FR/JP/SEN & FR/IRL/JP)
- Gabriel René Franjou (FR/USA)
- Marie Frenois (FR)
- Madeleine Gerles (FR)
- Léo Gillet (BE)
- TPO (Technological Powers Observatory) (BE)
- Miebi Iyeyemi (FR/USA)
- Joséphine Jadot (BE)
- Clément Lambelet (CH/FR)
- Zeste Le Reste (FR)
- Hadrien Loumaye (BE)
- Sophia Msaoubi (FR)
- Sylvain Peters (BE)
- Victoria Primina (BE)
- Kénia Raphaël (BE)
- Gladys Sauvage (BE)
- Laurel Schwulst & Gene McHugh (USA)
- Davy Styles (USA)
- Dorian Timmermans (BE)
- Yanmeng Zhang (CHN)
- Adebissi Agnes Adeye Butchibou (DE/BEN)
- Luz de Amor (CO/BE)
- Gabriel René Franjou (FR/USA)
- Elke de Rijcke (BE)
- Loïs Soleil (FR)
Speakers & Interventions
Here you will find a selection of net art pieces that constitute the first part of the exhibition.
Each work in the show, online and physical, is associated with at least one category. Find them signaled by corresponding emojis. Read more about these categories in the "ABOUT" menu.
- Get Well Soon - Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne
An archive of comments posted on online medical fundraisers, an archive of mutual aid in response to a ruthless for-profit health system.
- Forever Loading Web Pages - Xavier Duffaut
The frustrating experience of content never loading, leaving the well-known interface forever empty, is transformed into a meditative one.
- Love Letter - Thiaba Egutchi Diop & Leo O'Faigan Konishi
An intimate email correspondence where are intimately discussed plural identities, that we are invited to follow as it unfolds.
- My Calling (web) - Gabriel René Franjou
A text to copy, paste and spread as a simple and intense lifetool.
- Please Mr Officer - Miebi Iyeyemi
A transcript of the events that lead to George Floyd’s murder, stripped of the trauma porn that fueled the mass sharing of the images online.
- The way the cookie crumbles - Joséphine Jadot
A blog with recipes for comfort food collected all over the internet that show a deliberate practice of emotion.
- When all of my friends are on at once - Gene McHugh & Laurel Schwulst
Early memories of being online, from a generation whose personal development is inseparable from the internet.
- Erhewon - Sophia Msaoubi
Erewhon is a journey and a spatial metaphor between the here and now.
- Things I liked - Zeste Le Reste
A daily list of things that made Zeste happy, like training for joy.
- 3e3e3e3 - Davy Styles
A web labyrinth that is both evasive and brutally honest.
- My Favorite Color - Dorian Timmermans
A minimal and slowed down blog where the only piece of data shared is Dorian’s favorite color.
Watch the replay of the livestream for the launch of the first part of the show that took place on September 14th.
- 00:00:00 tour of the web show
- 00:31:15 scr33nsh4re l0v3 11 by Victoria Primina (performance)
- 00:41:50 "A drop of love in the cloud", a text by Fei Liu (reading)
- 00:48:45 Acte Bonté (concert)
- 01:06:45 Neopets Rave b2b Xaxalxe (DJ set) Egutchi (live)
- 01:35:41 end credits
A TANGLED WEB OF FEELINGSOne thing we know about feelings : they happen. They are an internal manifestation at first and then an external reaction. We also know that we can’t help but express ourselves and thus we built tools to help us do just this. Funny thing is, those tools also helped complexify the feelings themselves, and we’ve been stuck in this feedback loop ever since. It can be overwhelming. How do you feel about art ? How do you feel about the internet ?
We also know the same thing about net art : it happens. Everything inside a computer is a performance ; a web page is assembled on demand pulling bits and pieces from across the network in such a complex manner that it’s a miracle it works at all. This network is ever changing, full of data we set in motion. An algorithm is still a series of decision made by someone, it’s infused with human sentimentality in some way or another. All this moving information makes up a nice tangled web of feelings, and while the network is primarily used for repression or value extraction, it’s true purpose remains, simply, communication.
The net art pieces we collected here express joy, care, terror or melancholy from within the network : they act on it, and they act on the people participating in creating them. This also means you, the visitor, clicking on the link and summoning the art in your browser. Hopefully, these pieces will act on you as they act on the network : creating, expressing, and untangling feelings.
Here is an ever-evolving list of ressources around the themes of the show. Would you like to add something ? Email us at email@example.com
- Internet Archive
- 0x salon
- Meme Studies Research Network
- Net Art Anthology
- E-flux Journal
- The Wrong
- DIS Magazine
- New Aesthetic
- Library Of the Printed Web
- K-punk Archives
- Usbek & Rica
- Codedrop.net - Arts Numériques
- Post Digital Printing Archives
- Post Internet Wordpress by Gene McHugh (via Net Art Anthology)
Article & Essays
- A drop of love in the cloud by Fei Liu
- Digital ressources for a Mouvement Against Police Violence
- An Essay On The New Aesthetic by Bruce Sterling
- In Defense of the Poor Image by Hito Steyerl
- Politics of Post-Representation by Hito Steyerl
- Xenofeminism - A Politics for Alienation by Laboria Cuboniks
- Baudrillard in Cyberspace: Internet, Virtuality, and Postmodernity by Mark Nunes
- We Know How You Feel by Raffi khachatourian
- Affect Theory and the New Age of Anxiety
- This Is Where It Ends: The Denouement of Post-Internet Art in Jon Rafman’s Deep Web
- The Rise and Fall of Internet Art Communities by Kelsey Ables
- Empathy is Not Enough, Part 1 by Lana Polansky
- On the “We” of Transmediale By Phoebe Cripps
- Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer
- The Meta-Ironic Era by Seong-Young Her
- On Oasis of Horror in an Internet of Boredom by Angela Nagle
- Hell is Other Internet People by Josie Thaddeus-Johns
- Trevor Paglen Plumbs The Internet by Tim Sohn
- Why do change our avatars after a Tragedy ? By Vinson Cunnigham
- The Secrets of the Wood Wide Web by Robert McFarlane
- The quest to make code work like biology by Cade Metz
- If Walt Whitman Vlogged by Kenneth Goldsmith
- The Internet Lives in a Huge Hotel in Manhattan
- In Praise of the Flaneur by Bijan Stephen
- Scientists explain how happiness makes us less creative by Ephrat Livni
- Trending Trauma by Lauren Michele Jackson
- Technologie : la rebellion ou la survie par Evgeny Morozov
- Google’s improbable deal to recreate the real world in VR by Cade Metz
- Post-Internet : Notes On The Internet and Art by Gene McHugh
- A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Harraway
- Parables for the Virtual - Movement, Affect, Sensation by Brian Massumi
- Journal Of Visual Culture : Meme Issue
- Computer Lib Dream Machine
- The Digital Sublime - Myth, Power and Cyberspace by Vincent Mosco
- New Dark Age - Technology and The End of the Future by James Briddle
- The Wretched of the Screen by Hito Steyerl
- The Internet Does Not Exist - e-flux Journal
- Cecile B Evans Interview : The Virtual is Real
- Cecile B Evans : What The Heart Wants Lecture
- Recode by Vox
- Internet Historian
Undertaken by three graduates of école de recherche graphique (erg) in Brussels, this project is meant to push further our exploration of certain themes and to confront these ideas to a public and a reality, by taking a political position relative to those themes. We believe the event opened many questions and tackled important issues. The project will continue and a catalog will be produced.
The show was able to take place in between two lockdown periods in Brussels. Different interlinked events, some online, some in meetspace, some mixing both, came one after the other : first the webshow, presenting a selection of net art pieces on our website, launched on September 14th 2020 with a livestreamed opening, featuring a guided tour, readings, concerts, and performances. The next day, on our Instagram account, the meme residencies started. Access to our account was given to a guest for a few days, and they could post how they saw fit. These residencies continued until the end of the whole event, on October 24th, when the exhibitions ended. The gallery show opened at La galerie de l’erg (in meetspace, with the necessary health measures respected) on October 15th with performances and in an intimate atmosphere. Concurrent to the exhibitions, two talking groups were held on October 16th and 20th, and as ultimate event on the 22nd, we gathered in erg’s auditorium for an afternoon and evening of talks, readings, and screenings, all of which were livestreamed online. Following circumstances beyond our control and linked to the sanitary situation, the gallery unfortunately couldn’t open of the last day, the 23rd. On the 26th, Belgium went back into lockdown as we uninstalled the show.
We would like to thank everyone involved in the project and everyone who took an interest in it : from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
- I. WEBSHOW
- II. INSTAGRAM RESIDENCIES
- III.GALLERY SHOW
- IV. TALKS, READINGS AND SCREENINGS
- V. DOCUMENTS
09.14.2020 — 10.24.2020
Tega Brain & Sam Lavigne, Xavier Duffaut, Thiaba Egutchi Diop & Leo O’Faigan Konishi, Gabriel René Franjou, Miebi Iyeyemi, Joséphine Jadot, Gene McHugh & Laurel Schwulst, Sophia Msaoubi, Zeste Le Reste, Davy Styles et Dorian Timmermans. With the interventions of Victoria Primina, Acte Bonté, Egutchi and a reading of a text by Fei Liu.
- 00:00:00 guided tour of the webshow
- 00:31:15 scr33nsh4re l0v3 11 by Victoria Primina (performance)
- 00:41:50 "A drop of love in the cloud", un text de Fei Liu (reading)
- 00:48:45 Acte Bonté (concert)
- 01:06:45 Neopets Rave b2b Xaxalxe (DJ set) Egutchi (live)
- 01:35:41 credits
A TANGLED WEB OF FEELINGS
One thing we know about feelings: they happen. They are an internal manifestation at first and then an external reaction. We also know that we can’t help but express ourselves, and thus we built tools to help us do just this. Funny thing is, those tools also helped complexify the feelings themselves, and we’ve been stuck in this feedback loop ever since. It can be overwhelming. How do you feel about art? How do you feel about the internet?
We also know the same thing about net art: it happens. Everything inside a computer is a performance; a web page is assembled on demand pulling bits and pieces from across the network in such a complex manner that it’s a miracle it works at all. This network is ever-changing, full of data we set in motion. An algorithm is still a series of decision made by someone, it’s infused with human sentimentality in some way or another. All this moving information makes up a nice tangled web of feelings, and while the network is primarily used for repression or value extraction, its true purpose remains, simply, communication.
The net art pieces we collected here express joy, care, terror or melancholy from within the network: they act on it, and they act on the people participating in creating them. This also means you, the visitor, clicking on the link and summoning the art in your browser. Hopefully, these pieces will act on you as they act on the network: creating, expressing, and untangling feelings.
II. RÉSIDENCES INSTAGRAM
15.10.2020 — 24.10.2020
Conceived as an integral part of the show, the instagram residency program gives control to the instagram account @rightinthefeels.xoxo to a guest for a few days, before they hand it to the next.
- 09.15 — 09.17. ______________________10_0
- 10.28 — 10.03 Tom Galle (BE)
- 10.10 — 10.12 Luz de Amor (CO/BE)
- 10.13 — 10.17 Laura Brunisholz (BE)
- 10.18 — 10.24 Soaking Wet Angel (USA)
III. GALLERY SHOW
10.15.2020 — 10.24.2020
galerie de l’erg
WHAT IS IT ABOUT, THIS SO-CALLED DIGITAL AGE?
It’s about everything, all the time. The internet has turned into everything else; to talk about the internet is to talk about our world. It is unfathomable in a very real sense and as exciting is it can be, it’s mostly overwhelming – or mind-numbing. And so switching between extreme emotions becomes business as usual. Most of us don’t have the leisure to overthink what we feel, so when comes the task of comprehending and expressing feelings, we often resort to readymade formulas, undermining them and thus life itself. Emotions have a purpose, and it starts with survival – because yes, in this digital age, it’s survival that’s at stake – but don’t end there. Chemical imbalances in the brain often become deadly, but they also slowly poison existence at an everyday level.
We were told that reason and technology failed us in the 20th century; and in the 21st, emotions and technology (again) are rapidly being co-opted by late capitalism for all manners of oppression before we’ve really had a chance to apply their social and political power as tools for better living. One of the many tasks of art is also to help us live better. These works seek to reclaim the power of both technology and emotion for ourselves.
How can we find liberation in an internet run by predatory platforms? How can we feel safe expressing ourselves when our every thought is predicted then archived? How can we feel anything but dread when we’re bombarded with disasters 24/7? We don’t know, but life goes on, joy and love still find ways to sneak in, and we should keep trying, connecting, communicating. Linking these artworks together felt like doing just that, and so humbly we hope to offer you a motivation to keep on keeping on.
The internet is dead, as they say. Cause of death: too much world. And we’re doomed to keep feeling every single moment of it’s drawn out agony. We don’t have to save it, only ourselves and each other – and we’ll be alright as long as, together, we don’t forgo the very act of feeling.
IV. TALKS, READINGS, SCREENINGS
10.16+21.2020 & 10.22.2020
erg auditorium, livestreamed event
Butchibou, Eric Cyuzuzo, Luz De Amor, Gabriel René Franjou, Nargisse Mhammedi, Peggy Pierrot, Loïs Soleil, Elke de Rijcke and set design by Kenia Raphael.
22.10.2020 auditorium de l’erg, avec une retransmission en direct et en ligne par ERG TV Conférences 15h15 Peggy Pierrot - on neurocapitalism and emotional design 15h45 Eric Cyuzuzo - on online antiracist activism 16h15 collective discussion Lectures 17h00 Schematics Of Consensus - Luz De Amor 17h15 Herzschmerz - Butchibou 17h30 Poetry reading - Loïs Soleil 17h40 Juin sur Avril - Elke de Rijcke 17h50 Every time I am away from the internet, I wonder if I am loved... - Gabriel René Franjou Projections 18h30 Annals of private history - Amalia Ulman 18h45 Stuff that makes me scared (not spooky) - Mollysoda 18h55 Make something beautiful before you are dead - Steve Roggenbuck 19h00 Feeling For You (What the Heart Wants) - Cecile B. Evans