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Spinello Projects, Miami, Florida, USA
September 8, 2016 – November 8, 2016
The hashtag has become a prime method of organization in our contemporary media environment. It’s technology is indecipherable to some, but it’s utility is simple. The power of one character (#) can isolate any word or phrase, removing it from its context, creating a powerful infrastructure space of words and images across social media platforms.
For #tags, Bijl has isolated a series of six words, directly sourced from his own life and global news headlines. Words like Anarchist, Family Man, Demagogue and Terrorist radiate in bright lettering on a suite of powder coated aluminum sheets. Each word stacked neatly, their letters in three rows of three. Removed from their original narrative, our brains are conditioned to fill in the gaps.
There’s a danger in these infrastructures, as they carry the power to persuade through minimal language and labeling. By decontextualizing these words, they create new meanings and new identities. Of course, there’s a risk of manipulation or polarization, but they also have the power to activate global political mobilization. We’ve witnessed this through movements like #Occupy and #BlackLivesMatter. Bijl leaves these words without context, a true definition of a hashtag. The likelihood is that these images will be recycled back into the machine by the viewer, eternally networked with new narratives, new associations, and new hashtags.
Photo: Jesus Petroccini
Courtesy of Spinello Projects, Miami