‘FELT B4E’ at Oakland's B4BEL4B brings together artists like Jeremy McKeehen, Jawn Billetes, Nicole Ruggiero, Jess Audrey, and more.
Every Saturday, The Creators Project premieres a new issue from net art platform and artist collective, FELT Zine.
Boasting a standing archive of 21 live issues, net publishing platform FELT Zine is gearing up to host its first very own exhibition of digital art projects at the artist-run gallery and performance space, B4BEL4B, in Oakland, California. Curated by FELT's own Mark "Digital" Sabb, the FELT B4E exhibition will feature virtual reality simulations, live video streaming, interactive digital art experiences, and new videos and GIFs by net artists associated with the zine. Among the featured artists are FELT alumni Jeremy McKeehen, Jawn Billetes, Nicole Ruggiero, and Jess Audrey. "This is truly an exhibition for people who love net art, and we're all just coming together to celebrate," Sabb tells Creators. "My dream is to create a space where we can just put all of the bullshit to the side and just heal in the moment together."
This isn't your traditional art exhibition; it's a 100% digital display which Sabb plans on taking full advantage of as curator. For example, the credits for each piece on display will be presented digitally, allowing Sabb and his collaborators to swap out different artworks from week to week.
The title of the exhibition makes reference to the slang that's become a part of a global daily internet language, which Sabb says is often inspired by black American youth culture. The event's organizers hope that the playful title, coupled with net art's deceitfully glossy aesthetic, creates a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere that allows all those involved to connect on a deeper psychosocial level.
The FELT B4E exhibition came together through a mutual dedication to the lives of the underrepresented and at-risk. This shared impetus between FELT and B4BEL4B helped amass the show's collection of artistic responses to the physical and mental trauma of our generation. The gallery describes the show as an emotional reaction to events that have transpired over the last few months. The gallery writes, "We've celebrated some of our highest personal achievements along with fighting some of our hardest losses in public such as the Ghost Ship tragedy and the rise of global populism. Now, as much as ever before, the artist is being called upon to be an activist, and the creative community is answering that call with care, innovation, and ambition."
The virtual gallery FELT Zine has carved out of cyberspace was created under the idea that "net art could be a purely democratic form of expression by enabling anyone with an internet connection access to tools of creation with very little barrier to entry." Sabb says the artists involved in the FELT B4E show exemplify this ideal. "As much as this exhibition is about believing that we can overcome oppression, it is about hoping that we can believe in ourselves and one another to still make the changes for which we have been wishing."