Screen Time at KERB at KERB, Ancoats, 2 February–6 March 2023, free entry - Visit now
Ancoats’ coolest natural wine store, bar and events space KERB is currently hosting Screen Time, an exhibition from local artist, designer and writer Morys Davies.
Screen Time is actually a preview of a larger body of work (which cannot be shown in its entirety just yet due to space constraints), but the smaller display doesn’t stop the artist from delving right into deeper subject matter. As the title may suggest, the show takes a magnifying glass to technology in its broad sense and its impact on the human condition, with a leading motif of that most ubiquitous of devices – the iPhone.
Value and time become leading themes when considering the role of technology in our lives – even before we take into account the monetary value of our phones – in the case of Screen Time, the artist is specifically looking at Apple products, due to their proliferation and his personal relationship with the brand’s items. We know that time is the ultimate price demanded of us during the titular screen time and is the currency in which social media platforms operate. In fact, Davies’ work intends to encourage viewers to reconsider their relationship with their devices and the time spent using them – as an aspect of our lives we are generally in control of, should we be more vigilant with how we spend it?
This, of course, is not news to the average phone user yet sometimes even the most obvious of ideas can reach us in entirely different ways when they’re communicated in a fresh medium. Importantly, Screen Time is not a simplistic attack on a single brand, an ethereal idea of the evil corporation, or the killer algorithm. Instead, the project examines the glamourisation of violence and the radicalisation of the algorithms, not necessarily because of their creators’ murderous intentions but due to the knowledge that specific types of content keep us glued to our screens. Serving more of the same ensures the continuous scroll, while also blurring the lines between fact and fiction, where we can no longer find the truth in our online experiences.
The works are created with the use of screenprinting as well as spray paint, the result of many different experiments with the process, and a pinch of the artist’s secret technique developed in a way that breaks almost all of the rules of the medium.
Don’t worry – Screen Time is not a lecture on worn-out clichés – such as efficient time use and the dangers of Big Tech – so grab a glass of wine and enjoy the experience. Davies explores the topic as a fertile ground for both musings on our future as well as artistic experiments with his chosen medium. It’s an invitation for us to reconsider our relationships with the one device that rarely leaves our sight. Not the usual form of wine bar entertainment and certainly all the better for it.