The artist stands by a wall of fake gem-embellished USBs. People buzz around her, some are friend and some are long-time admirers, offering words of praise and, naturally, taking selfies.
It’s the opening of Detroit-based digital artist Molly Soda’s first solo exhibition, titled From My Bedroom To Yours, at Annka Kulty’s Gallery in Bethnal Green. The packed gallery is testament to Soda’s huge Internet – predominantly Tumblr – following. On opening night, you can feel the intensity of her virtual following, but this time it’s in real life.
Though Soda works in several digital mediums online, including GIFs, videos and zines, the exhibition at Annka Kulty’s Gallery is dedicated to her video works. Soda herself is the subject of her work. In many of her videos she engages in longing eye contact with her webcam, spending time in her bedroom dancing around, or mouthing along words to a song.
Her videos and images are raw, presenting an authentic experience of being a girl on the Internet. According to Soda: “That’s activism in itself – just putting yourself out there as a woman – being totally unashamed of who you are and what you’re about.”
Soda’s sickly sweet aesthetic is a reclamation of what it is to be a female youth. Everything in the room is purposefully aestheticised, from the pink walls down to the drinks offered – a glass of rosé or mini Evian bottles, served on a pink gemstone printed plastic tablecloth. MacBooks, iPads and pink TV screens display the video works, and fake flowers, pink mirrors, and even a pink globe surround them.
While for Soda and her following these objects are admired with bittersweet nostalgia, the gallery owners’ primary school aged daughter takes genuine delight in the pink mirrors, tiny erasers and sprinklings of glitter. She excitedly tells my friend and me that some of the objects are going in her own bedroom after the show.
Everything exhibited in the gallery room can be found online, but what makes the exhibition worth visiting is that you can see the works in real space, and come together with people who would otherwise have viewed it alone in their bedrooms. It’s Internet art reborn in a real setting.
From My Bedroom To Yours is on at Annka Kulty’s Gallery, Bethnal Green until January 16.