HOST gallery, the exhibition space belonging to biannual photo magazine FOTO8, has reopened its premises on Honduras Street following a refurbishment hiatus, with a media-savvy show by one of their contributing photographers Chris Floyd.
There’s a formula at play here; social-networking site plus celebrity plus art equals mainstream press attention and visitors dutifully filing through. And unfortunately, this exhibition smacks of it.
The premise Floyd came up with for this exhibition was undeniably good: we live in a world led by the Internet, spending large portions of our time communicating with people we have never met – what happens, then, when we do connect in person? Twitter and Facebook have soared in significance in the last two years, especially in the light of current affairs and the discussion of their importance in mobilizing the public around the globe. The way people interact today, increasingly split levels of reality, the psychological effects of such social media tools on youths, and adult productivity alike are fascinating subjects and entirely relevant to any modern discussion, in any field.
Yet Floyd’s exhibition, with its punchy title, clear, concise concept and string of celebrity subjects, is an insipid exploration of a thrilling theme. It purports to 'bridge the gap between how we maintain traditional relationships and how we increasingly form friendships through online communications.' On the one hand, Floyd wants to elicit the ‘very lonely’ melancholy felt by frequent social networking users, yet what we are presented with is a set of sweet, perfectly innocuous black and white portraits of Floyd’s personal ‘favourite’ tweeters. You can’t help but feel that Floyd has missed a trick, and neglected the disconnect between these tweeters’ words, which initially interested him, and their everyday reality – instead we are left with another veiled, distorted view of life, that provides even less insight into these characters, and their relationships to one another, or to the photographer himself, than the 140 letters they usually employ. A more appropriate summary of this exhibition might be: missable.
-- Charlotte Jansen, a writer living in London.
All images courtesy HOST Gallery
images: Chris Floyd, (L to R) @c_gos, @dollyalderton, @milliegibson, @v_fay, @sophwilkinson; Chris Floyd, @keithwildman