Today: Jun 18, 2024

Students wreak havoc to express opinion on social media

Photo courtesy Haley Lynn Smith
Haley Smith said she put together the exhibit so other people who feel like her can get an oppurtunity to express their thoughts on social media.


Nowadays, it may seem like more and more people let out their frustrations and choose to express everything through a Facebook status or a tweet.
Well, what if social media itself was the reason for one’s frustrations? Would it be hypocritical to then vent about Facebook via Facebook?
In an interactive exhibit put together by senior art major Haley Smith, who is also the president of the Student Arts League, people were given the opportunity to express those feelings by not sending out a tweet but rather smashing a Facebook icon made by plaster tiles with one’s weapon of choice.
People had a choice of aluminum baseball bats and lead pipes among other tools of destruction.
“I’ve been really irritated with the way our generation uses social networking,” said Smith. “We don’t really use it for our own good but more for entertainment and put our minds somewhere else rather than the immediate task.”
Smith says she realized the overuse of social media was becoming a problem during a bake sale one year.
“You know how hard it is to run out on the quad and try to even get people’s attention because everyone has their headphones on and they’re down staring at their cell phones?” she said.
In a corner of the gallery at Earl Hall, the exhibit included a royal blue wall similar to the colors Facebook is known for.

photo courtesy Haley Lynn Smith
The artist, student Haley Smith

Participants would place their plaster tile Facebook icon on a stand and have their way with it. They would usually destroy the icon against the wall, pick up any pieces left and paint it however way they wanted to and then glue it against another wall. The wall consisted of what past participants did to their icons.
It even featured plastic “duck lips,” poking fun at the popular Facebook profile picture pose many users have posted. Smith filmed all of the participants as they destroyed their Facebook icons.
In another section of the show, people were then able to write anything they wanted to about social media on a board. And instead of signing it off with their name, people used their Facebook ID numbers to identify themselves.
One board read, “No I don’t want to feed your cow. I hate Farmville.”
Aside from the interactive parts of the exhibit, visitors were also able to check out a couple of art pieces that Smith put together.
One piece was made with over 1900 small figurines that Smith said she made herself facing up at a large “F” using the Facebook logo font.
Next to the piece, there is a card that reads, “Auto correct just capitalized Facebook but not god. Weird.” The sentence was a Facebook message from Peter Vecelli, a student at Southern.
Smith said it took hours to put the piece together.
There is also an essay Smith wrote explaining the motivation behind her project.
“In this body of work, my goal is to produce an environment, which urges the viewer to question the nature of connectivity,” reads the essay. “My hope is that after viewing my sculptures one will leave with a new perspective on ‘Our New Relationship.’”

Photo courtesy Jon Moreno
Lara Mowrey in the process of destroying the plaster Facebook logo.

A participant in the project was junior Lara Mowrey, a psychology and philosophy major, who said Smith told her about her exhibit.
“I like the whole concept of the smashing of the physical icon and the expression you can use towards something that is so common in today’s society,” she said.
To excessive social media users, Mowrey has something simple to say.
“Pick up a book and read,” she said.
Smith concurs.
“I want them to be cautious of social media and know it’s not always an innocent tool as you may perceive,” Smith said. “I just wanted my show to be informative as well as fun and interactive and talk about a concept that’s very now and contemporary.”

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