this candy-coloured exhibition documents the female experience online

QWERTY, flirty and crying is a new exhibition from cult internet artists Ambar Navarro, kyttenjanae, Arvida Byström and Brittney Scott.

by Tish Weinstock
27 September 2016, 10:20am

Arvida Byström, Self-Portrait - Detail, 2016

Taking the many facets of the female experience online as its central focus, QWERTY, flirty and crying brings together four cult internet artists - Ambar Navarro, kyttenjanae, Arvida Byström and Brittney Scott - in what is a bold statement on identity politics in the digital age. Flooded in neon pink light, the walls of the Big Pictures gallery in LA are teeming with internet-related paraphernalia; there's Ambar's Barbie themed band aids which she uses to patch up her broken charger cables and Brittney's neon pink arrow sign which spells out URLS, URLS, URLS, a witty play on sex shop signs that point punters in the direction of naked cam girls, a theme which is echoed in Kytten's where's god, a triptych of three looping videos of avatar strippers dancing, a meditation on the exploitation of women online. Particularly poignant is Arvida's Self Portrait, an image of herself printed onto fabric, with a pink charger cable threaded through her eye, a knowing wink to the power of the female gaze. A celebration of strong women in the internet age, QWERTY, Flirty, and Crying is not to be missed. Here the girls share their experiences so far.

What's the concept behind the show?
Brittney: It's about our experiences online. My piece specifically reflects the exploitation of girls on the internet.
Ambar: I think everyone might have their own concept behind what the show means, but at least for me I really wanted to push the pink girly factor in my Barbie print and play around with funny tech products like "here are these new barbie band-aids that help with your cable's split ends." I have some pretty torn up chargers all over the place and wanted to photograph them.

What's the meaning behind the title?
B: It kind of encapsulates what is thought of girls online.

What was the significance of having an all-girl show?
Kytten: Honestly, the point wasn't for us to do an all-girls show. We just want to be equal players and make great shit. That being said, it's an angle we all openly embrace and, because our work is deeply personal to us, femininity is going to be a recurring theme.

How would you describe each other's work?
A: I'd say we have some things in common, like colour and a strong online presence. But it is also pretty interesting because we are all from seemingly similar perspectives (white passing, middle class, living in LA) but we all come from different creative backgrounds. Ambar from stop motion, Kytten from CG, Brittney from more experimental and conceptual and me from photography.

Brittney Scott, URLS URLS URLS, 2016

What do you want the viewer to take away from the exhibition?
B: To be more open-minded.

Who or what inspires you?
A: The internet. Friends. So love on u guys <3
B: My friends inspire me, the internet inspires me, my main inspiration though is the stupidity of the general population.
A: Links my friends send me. I'm also inspired by scary, sad, or weird things I see online. Hopefully I'll start going in a new direction. I wish the full version of this video hadn't been taken down.
K: Right now I'm really inspired by 90s club hits and happy hardcore music videos. But it changes all the time. Real moments of human connection and emotion are like the biggest thing for me, though. That's what I try to capture and share with people.

What can we expect to see in the exhibition?
A: Pink. Internet presence in an offline format.
K: I have a print and three looping videos of strippers dancing.

What was the greatest challenge in terms of putting the exhibition together?
B: Coordinating schedules lol.

Ambar Navarro, ouch.jpg, 2016

What are you most proud of in the exhibition?
A: The display of each piece and how they work together

What's the most profound online experience you've ever had?
A: When I found Tumblr I was BLOWN away. I guess it just felt like a new way of moving online and connecting in a really great way.
K: Growing up with the internet completely shaped my life. Everything from Neopets to Geocities to Myspace - those early formative years online - made me who I am. I almost see the internet as a person, a friend. I feel deeply nostalgic about it and still collect old webpages like other people collect vinyl.
Brittney: Everyday online is special. I like how quickly news travels and how accessible information is. I like that people share their ideas and thoughts and feelings whether good or bad. I like the connectedness and community I've found.

And the worst?
Arvida: Hmm. That one is hard. I think aimlessly scrolling is something we all have to fight. Being online when depressed and instead of making connections just being this passive scrolling viewer. I hate that.

Kyttenjanae, wheres god, 2016

What's the bravest thing you can do as a young person?
A: I think it depends who you are. It is easy to be brave if you are not scared. So I think it depends what background you are from. For some people it might be to stay in school, for other people it might be dropping out. For some people it might be to dare to model, for some people it might be to say no? The list goes on!
B: To be yourself, be open with your feelings, be honest with people
A: ASK TO GET PAID FOR YOUR ART even though this shouldn't even be a brave thing it should be common sense and required by this point.
K: Be real and give a shit about something.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
A: Capitalism to fall down.
B: I hope to help/inspire people.
K: I just want to make stuff that makes other people feel things.

QWERTY, Flirty, and Crying is on at Big Picture LA through October 15. 


Text Tish Weinstock

Arvida Byström
ambar navarro
brittney scott
qwerty flirty and crying