Christina Melchiorre                                                                                                                                      portfolio   about   cv

escapism: bts

Even though I have made the conscious choice to keep my family in my life, the level of interactivity and exposure to them is not random, but something that I control. However, this is only a recent discovery, as these choices were not always consciously made. As an adolescent, a majority of my behavior towards my family was avoidant. I did not want to be involved with the issues and fights that they created, but even so, there were times when this was not a choice. It was during these moments that I found myself wanting to escape from what was happening, yet at the time, I did not know that there was a term for this feeling. I continued to avoid them and the issues that would occur from the end of my adolescence into adulthood, especially when I began attending college.

With college came a more well-developed sense of autonomy and individuality. I was able to pull myself out of the space I had been in with them (physically, mentally, and emotionally), enabling me to gain an outside perspective on my situation. This is what allowed me to see that I was subconsciously practicing escapism, while also giving me the opportunity and time to heal, which allowed me to eventually confront my situation. After coming to these realizations, I began to explore what it all meant through my artwork.

Accompanying both videos is a sculptural install made of 770 pieces of paper, all of which include meta-data from photographs that were screenshotted or saved, 70 of which are the photographs themselves, and 100 are screenshots of YouTube history search results containing the keyword “BTS”. The paper structure represents and consists of the media consumed within both videos, but is externalized to consume the space, “spilling” from the video sources into the realm of the room. Its mass speaks to the amount of information having been consumed within the past year, representing the consumption of media, as well as my own life.

Over 100 hours were spent creating this installation, which also speaks to the amount of time that is used when consuming media, where creating seemed tedious, but absentminded ingestion seemed endless. The fast-paced, jarring, stuttering, and intrusive nature of the compilation, coupled with the slow, extended, and drawled GoPro footage, enunciates the length of time and nature that this media is consumed. All of this information compiled together is overwhelming, intense, overstimulating, and is quite obsessive in nature, making one question the amount of time spent in their own media consumption.

Escapism: BTS is the piece that shifted my perspective from the subconscious to the conscious. The creation of it began with an instinctual drive to create a piece based on what I was investing most of my time in; consuming media from the band BTS. In this piece, I used various types of media, including video and sculpture, to create a sensorially overwhelming installation. It consists of media consumption spanning the length of 475 days pertaining to the Korean pop band Bangtan Sonyeondan, or BTS. One video consists of over 150 minutes of footage from 30 videos that have been condensed into one 45-minute video, creating a compilation of 1 second cuts that were spliced together, all pertaining to BTS, including music videos, interviews, scenes from their variety show, and fan-made edits from media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram. The other is a nearly 1 hour long video of GoPro footage that shows me laying in my bed, scrolling through Instagram, absentmindedly consuming all media pertaining to the band, exhibiting behavior that is unfiltered.

Regarding my own consumption, I had been spending so much time on them and their content that I was not focusing on anything else in my life. Once I began to make this piece and analyze why I was doing so and what it was about, I started to realize that it was because I could not focus on my daily life, much of which was consumed by my family, and at the time, very negative events. This led to my research about escapism, which by definition means “an activity, a form of entertainment, etc., that helps you avoid or forget unpleasant or boring things” (Oxford 1). I made the connection that the piece was not made from pure instinct, but came from a place that was subconsciously aware of my aversive actions. This newfound knowledge gave me a sense of power over my situation; one where I felt like I had some control over a situation that seemed like I had no control over at all. And now that I realized I was escaping my situation, it was this power that gave me the ability to confront my situation in other bodies of work.

© 2023 by Christina Melchiorre