Feb. 22 2018 09:52 AM

New art gallery dissects our digital personas

“Highly Reflective,” an eclectic pop-up gallery hosted by Sometimes Art House, comes to town Thursday.

The interactive gallery, a collaboration between Sometimes Art House and Red Cedar Art Collective, examines the “construction of the self” and the “selfie.” In other words, how we catalog our self-image digitally.

“The real point of this event is that winter is depressing,” said Sometimes Art House founder Audrey Matusz. “Let’s get out of our houses, have fun things to look at and be happy and celebrate these moments.”

Matusz is a senior arts and humanities student at Michigan State University. She wasn’t entirely satisfied with her education and found herself needing more experience outside of the classroom.

Her ventures outside of class gave her a taste for photography and film production. Matusz just needed a space to host art shows that would properly display the message behind her creative work.

Sometimes Art House was conceived not only to create a home for Mastuz’s own productions, but to give a platform for local POC, LGBTQ or female indentifying artists.

“Highly Reflective” relies heavily on interactivity between its installions and its audience. Fiddling with the art is usually a surefire way to get oneself removed for a gallery, but Sometimes Art House actively encourages attendees to take pictures of, and with the art.

“The theme is deconstructing individual identity and the selfie,” Matusz said. “Your online persona, your selfies, they’re another reflection of who you are on the inside — or perhaps how you wish people would perceive you.”

The exhibition is loosely inspired by a Los Angeles selfie pop-up show, Happy Place, which offers many installations, including ball pits, for visitors to use as selfie backdrops.

However, “Highly Reflective” wants to offer something different.

“We’re hoping that in your pictures, you’re reflecting some part of your identity,” Matusz said. “Either it is just your face, or the choices you made in the picture.”

The three hour long gallery will have five selfie stations, some of which are simply backdrops. There will be props and tripods for visitors to use, so they can take the perfect selfie. One station encourages attendees to interact with people as they take selfies.

As implied by the name, various reflective items will be hung around the house, to further bolster the idea of introspective and self-reflection.

A scavenger hunt will also take place, where the audience will be given a list with tasks such as filming performances or using a certain object for a selfie.

“We are not frowning upon taking pictures of yourself with artwork, it is encouraged,” Matusz said. “It is very interesting to see how people interact with art nowadays with phones.”

The gallery’s opening will be augmented with live performances by musicians ETTA and Krissy Booth. Drinks and fortunetelling will be provided, and attendees can also buy photography prints and vintage clothing.

“Highly Reflective” by Sometimes Art

House $5 donations will be collected at the door Time: Feb. 22, 6 p.m.- 9p.m. Location: 1701 S Cedar St, Lansing