Kelly Clare enter/the net/here

Photos courtesy of the artist

An installation by Kelly Clare at the Edna Carlsten Art Gallery At the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, on display Feb 14-April 1.

by Sean Tyler

March 6, 2022

The internet has a body, and Kelly Clare wants her audience to sit and think about that. enter/ the net/ here is an installation comprising sculptures, fabric works, drawings, and videos combining to create what Clare conceives as a representation of the deteriorating reality left after the collapse of an idealized digital utopia. Clare and I spoke, and she described one of the goals of the work to, “concretize something {the internet} that has been framed as this sort of amorphous weightless nontangible clean impossible thing.”

{panorama installation view} enter/ the net/ here” 2022, Kelly Clare, photo courtesy of the artist.

The degraded aftermath of utopian dreams is what led Clare to use concrete breezeblocks as a visual metaphor. Clare talks about how a walk to locate herself in a new space ended with her developing a fascination with breeze block fences. Clare comments that she is, “thinking about dislocated time and the breezeblock as this sort of dislocated calendar.” The breezeblocks appear in videos, plaster replicas, sewn shapes, and drawn forms, some attached to form a non-traditional quilt

{Quilt image} “enter/ the net/ here” 2022, Kelly Clare, photo courtesy of the artist.

Clare specified that the premise for the show is several things: one being her ongoing research about the history of the interne, and another being a practice of thinking of digital space as physical space. Clare is interested not in the digital world as the crisp modern concept in Apple commercials, but as something that is corporeal, taking up space and consuming energy. Clare works with ethernet cables tangled and woven into complex knots to get at the messy physical side of the online world. Clare also creates complex layers of imagery and prints them on sheer tapestries that alternately obscure and reveal the installation behind them, an effect vaguely reminiscent of popup windows temporarily blocking the user’s desired website.

{Cord detail}“enter/ the net/ here” 2022, Kelly Clare, photo courtesy of the artist.

Continuing the digital/psychical muddle, Clare noted that the work will continue and that images from this installation may be incorporated in the next iteration. As Clare’s process evolves, she is trying to see documentation as “generating even more stuff to play with.” As work about the internet, created partially on computers, Clare sees connections between this digital/corporeal tangle and the recent way audiences have been viewing art via Instagram and digital exhibitions. The project will have a digital presence in the form of video walkthrough and an interactive web page. As Clare continues the physical form, she predicts designing her own breezeblocks and eventually completing fully sewn breezeblock quilt. Clare said that as her

Viewers can explore Clare’s work digitally at her website or Instagram

In the words of the artist the show will be “up from Valentines to Fool’s Day”