Everyone has a digital identity. Our interests and world-views are carefully curated through our social media accounts, acting as an intangible representation of ourselves, or an avatar. With the COVID-19 pandemic, society as a whole has shifted to be largely dependent on the internet for virtually everything, especially information. This has resulted in our digital avatars shifting. In "Phone Alone USA," Alec Jerome Kreisberg creates a 3D visualization of his digital avatar navigating through the copious amounts of information as a response to the controversial and radical content he sees every day. Kreisberg invites the viewer to think critically of their avatar and curated world that consists of the information they process daily. Are you the one curating your ideas into your digital space, or is there an overarching figure puppeteering your thoughts and real-life actions?
Kreisberg explores the different aspects of the digital experience during this time, such as performative activism, pornography, anti-Semitism, right-wing meme rabbit holes, and the overwhelming feeling associated with mass consumption of information that was subsequently intensified during quarantine. These aspects are represented by a character Kreisberg frequently references in his other works named The Prophet, who acts as an embodiment of artificial intelligence. Imagery of what Kreisberg describes as “neural impressions” frequently flash across the screen, as well as data moshing- a visualization of information muddling together.
Much of Kreisberg’s work can be seen as snapshots and instantaneous direct responses, logging his ideas as memories. He builds a world in which his various characters, such as The Prophet, serve as metaphors for larger ideas present on the internet. Since he is also a musician, he typically starts with a track and then moves on to the visuals. For this piece, he made two tracks, one inspired by being stuck in quarantine, and the other about the civil unrest seen around the nation. The gradual progression from glitchy noise to a solemn deep bass informs the viewer of his thoughts during the process of his online documentation.
Kreisberg is aware of this being a collective experience and hopes to bring critical attention to this phenomenon, especially in a space like the Miami Design District. After having a shopping experience, you “stumble into a dark room in the corner and see a wild video that is just kind of breaking down everything... shopping is just another form of escapism, and so is the media, and so is everything in our society... it challenges the notion that everything is okay, and we’re going back to normal,” he explains.
Kreisberg is a Miami native and recent graduate of New World School of the Arts with a BFA in Visual Art & Technology. Before that, in 2013, he was studying classical and electronic music before moving on to film and animation.
“Phone Alone USA” is located in Paradise Plaza, Suite 133 in the Miami Design District.
Angel Casso recently graduated from Design and Architecture Senior High School in the Miami Design District. An artist, Casso primarily focuses on 3D environments and painting.