The "Networks" collection consists of works that critically assess the flow of information through communities, both online and off. Some works examine social networks, where automation impacts the curation of information. Other works analyze the effects of this technological curation. Afsara Chowdhury's piece, Explore Your Options, delves into the omnipresent pressure of Instagram and how a medium with a premise of sharing photos and videos has become the source of social standards. She analyzes how microscopic inputs of a single user can have macrocosmic effects on how society is represented. Joanne Pan's Speak for Yourself is a meditation on how the outbreak of a biological disease has fostered the viral spread of racism on the Internet. In Their Eyes, by Ruth Jean-Lubin, is a video voiced over with the artist's spoken word poetry. The work juxtaposes the media's criminalization of black men and the police brutality crisis, highlighting the systematic faults that cause needless tragedy. Fundamental for the functioning of both humans and technology, pieces in "Networks" stress the sensitivity of data transmission.

Speak for Yourself

Joanne Pan

Video, 2020, 4:21 RT

Speak for Yourself, by Chinese-American artist Joanne Pan, is an austere depiction of the morphed reality that exists in the midst of a global pandemic. As tensions rise on the political stage, so too do fears grow behind closed doors. At first glance, Pan's work seems like any other ASMR-style video, which has seen an increase in popularity in recent years. However, the viewer soon realizes that the calm of the video contrasts with disconcerting captions flitting across the bottom of the screen, depicting the artist's inner turmoil during this crisis.

With this work, the artist hopes that viewers can understand the reality that many Asian Americans are enduring as a result of this global health and economic crisis. With news media coverage predominantly focusing on numbers, the artist hopes to highlight the lack of human experiences portrayed in the media, despite the mass coverage of the global crisis.

In Their Eyes

Ruth Jean-Lubin

Video, 2020, 3:29 RT

A montage of videos, pieced together by artist Ruth Jean-Lubin, In Their Eyes juxtaposes the portrayal of Black men in America and the police brutality crisis. The overall presentation of black males in the media is distorted, exaggerating some dimensions while omitting others. While many aspects of black males' real lived experience tend to be missing from the collective media portrayal, some aspects are very much present, and are, in fact, exaggerated. Perhaps the most-discussed pattern is the association between black males and criminality, particularly in television news—where they are not only likely to appear as criminals, but also are depicted in ways that make them appear particularly threatening (compared with white criminals, for instance). African Americans are disproportionately represented in news stories about poverty, and these stories tend to paint a picture that reinforces stereotypes.

The video begins with a powerful spoken word, voiced by Jean-Lubin's brother, that draws attention to the way Black men are labeled and mistreated in America. Connecting the portrayal of Black men in America to the police brutality crisis,the video continues to show us the brutal treatment the police places on Black men. Jean-Lubin ends the video with her personal spoken word, emphasizing the fear and terror Black men face on a daily basis, fearing that today may be their last day. This is her call to everyone, no matter what race, that police brutality can no longer remain the status quo.

Explore Your Options

Afsara Chowdhury

Video, 2020, 5:27 and 6:53 RT

In Explore Your Options, Afsara Chowdhury analyzes the symbiotic relationship between users and social media. In its simplest form, social media curates a user's feed to fit their personal "tastes"; yet, these "tastes" are determined by the user's activity on the app. Over the past decade, social media has completely infiltrated our daily lives, giving it power over our mental state. This symbiotic relationship is complicated due to social media's ability to provide both entertainment and vexation.

Explore Your Options is an artistic experiment to "hack" social media. Instagram has the ability to impose societal norms upon the user. The user may be looking for puppies, but instead, Instagram's algorithm will showcase people with perfect, unrealistic lifestyles. This is the problem with Instagram's predictive algorithm—it is meant to show the user what they like based on the posts they engage with, but how accurate is it? By recording her screen, Chowdhury documents the changes in her explore page over time, an effort to curate her feed for herself by purposely selecting the data that Instagram receives from her.

Chowdhury is a Digital Marketing major and a New Media Arts minor at Baruch College.