British Columbia

Artist aims to blur real and digital worlds in new, immersive exhibition

Jorden Doody says I Must Be Streaming at the Kelowna Art Gallery was born out of our increasing exposure to the online world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I Must Be Streaming was born out of our increasing exposure to the online world, Jorden Doody says

Artist Jorden Doody stands beside her sculpture Heartfelt, part of the exhibition I Must Be Streaming at the Kelowna Art Gallery. (Dominika Lirette/CBC)

What do a giant toilet paper roll, a lightning bolt made of Astroturf and a six-foot-tall heart on a chain have in common? They're all part of a new exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery.

I Must Be Streaming by artist Jorden Doody aims to blur the boundaries between the real world and our online lives.

"A lot of my work is inspired by the digital realm but I just want to use that as an inspiration to also stay physical in the present, in the real world," Doody told CBC Daybreak South's Dominika Lirette.

"I wanted to bring a materiality to the people but then also it can be transferred back into our iPhones and shared that way."

The Instagram-friendly exhibit blends contemporary materials like faux fur and vinyl with traditional crafts such as quilting, felting and painting to create an immersive space.

A mural called Networth covers the walls in blue, yellow and red web-like lines that represent the Internet and envelop the exhibition's oversized sculptures.

Jorden Doody stands with her sculptures Fool's Gold and Saturated. (Dominika Lirette/CBC)

The sculptures themselves, including the giant felted heart and the astroturf lightning bolt, were inspired by the digital symbols we use daily. 

"I wanted to bring those icons out of our devices and really showcase them in a 3-D medium," says Doody. 

Although she began work on the sculptures long before the pandemic, COVID-19 had an impact on the exhibition. 

"I was considering all the things that were going on the last few months and it felt almost like a strange dream," she said. 

As closures and lockdowns began and people turned even more to their screens for news and entertainment, she imagined the whole world downloading information at the same time and came up with the name of the exhibition.

I Feel U is intended as a message of empathy and appreciation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Doody says. (Dominika Lirette/CBC)

Another piece in the exhibition spells out the words "I feel you" in fuzzy fabric. 

"I wanted to give to the viewer an empathetic message of appreciation," says Doody. 

She says it's also about the ways we reach out to one another online, especially during the pandemic when face-to-face communication is more difficult.

Doody is an MFA student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. I Must Be Streaming is her thesis project. She feels fortunate to have been able to get her show into the gallery at a time when many of her fellow classmates are still waiting for schools to reopen. 

She hopes to spark people's imagination with her show and encourage viewers to think outside the box.

"Really follow your dreams," she says. "Take a chance on an idea and follow it through."

I Must Be Streaming runs at the Kelowna Art Gallery until Nov. 1.

To hear more from Dominika Lirette's visit to the gallery, tap the following:

Associate producer Dominika Lirette speaks to Kelowna artist Jorden Doody about her new Instagram-friendly multimedia exhibit. 6:34

With files from Dominika Lirette and Daybreak South

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