Welcome to the ‘net. Feel free to click, but be aware of the bait. It is every bit as colourful as everything else around here. This might have once been a place of concise information transfer, but we are so post that now. You can compress every bit of personal data and conveniently store it in our depot. We’ll keep it right at hand for future inflation and public display. It’s time to meet your new friends. Flamingo loves to flaunt what he’s got. He is feeling very rich today, however this might be due to the distorted reflection of himself that he has been gazing at for quite a while. Whale feels like he is disappearing, so he constantly makes sure that his presence is noticed. While floating on the surface amongst the others, crab is promising to be your anchor. But beware: he secretly loves to cause confusion by using his sharp claws are to clip around the strings of communication. Devilfish is looking a bit deflated, but his paralysed smile still shines bright. He really thinks you should quit smoking. How does it make you feel?
For her Instagram exhibition project “How Does It Make You Feel?” / @hdimyf, Ellen Möckel (*1984) has rendered the ungraspable realms of the world wide web haptic, only to transform them back into two-dimensional fragments. Contained in a storage unit, the nautical elements of her technicolour sculptures are assembled into existence for the length of a few snapshots. While the installations themselves are as ephemeral as the foam on a latte art coffee, the documentation of their brief existence prevails in the form of an ever-existing online exhibition. Using elements bought off of eBay, Möckel has constructed a number of avatars which mirror the practice of online communication through their interactions in the storage space hallway. Loosely based upon quotes from the song “How Does It Make You Feel” by the synth pop band Air, the sentences printed onto the backs of the blow-up characters read as a further development of the questions about sincere online communication raised by the duet of computer-generated voices. From their genderless appearance alone, it is impossible to distinguish who is hiding behind these ever-joyful water creatures – and while there is a total number of seven of them, they are all operated by a single person.
Möckel’s avatars are accompanied by four paintings that mirror the Matrix-like grid structure of the surrounding storage compartments. The abstract painting “Mice way” translates movements of scrolling, swiping and clicking into vibrant brushstrokes, while “Drop it” visualises the act of uploading packages of data to the web. With its bubbly icons based on the distinctive shape of the Skype logo, “Let‘s go fishing” depicts the slight anxiety caused by staring at the symbols of pending requests for interpersonal connections. “Black and White Can Be Hide” references the german term “Ente” which literally translates to “Duck” but is also used to describe hoax news stories. Through its title, the painting serves as a summary of the picture of the internet that “How Does It Make You Feel?” paints: within a turbid ocean of information overflow, the black-and-white distinction between real and fake has been blurred. From news articles to social media posts, the data floating around the web oscillates between reality and fiction. By building a colourful playground of half-truths and accompanying it with hashtags such as #believeitornot and #iamtoobigtofitinthepicture that serve as comical instruments rather than means of categorization, Ellen Möckel lightheartedly shows us ways of reclaiming digital spaces – by not taking their content too seriously.
Text by Donna Schons
(1984) born in Rostock, lives and works in Leipzig und Berlin