The internet is a weird place, no one can argue that. Small moments of happiness and connection to humankind are swiftly tempered by the strange, uncomfortable and usually negative aspects of the web. It’s a chaotic swirling nightmare most of the time and if you are living in 2019 (which I assume you are if you’re reading this) youre most likely online more often than you’d like to admit. When I think of the small great wins for the internet I think of people like Bread Face.
Ok, so I know what you’re thinking: really? Her performance work is divisive (it is just her smooshing her face into different varieties of bread) but in my opinion, I think she’s onto something. From where I’m sitting, she’s the faint glimmer of hope at the end of the depressing cyber thread. Her art, performance, ASMR, whatever you want to call it is nothing short of magical. When I watch her videos I immediately feel transported to a more innocent, tactile place, one that exists outside the parameters of my four inch screen. I think of being a kid and how my senses were not only keen, but hyper-aware. At first, I’ll admit, I was confused, but within seconds, that perplexed look washed off my face and was immediately replaced by joy. Pure, unadulterated joy.
Bread Face is categorized under ASMR, which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response. This style of video, which usually includes a visual and audio component, can be of soft-spoken binaural sounds or isolated audio of different everyday sounds, like crinkly paper or tapping and scratching. Viewers and listeners typically fall into one of two camps, they either love or hate it. Fans say it creates a tingly, calming effect while those who are less impressed, say certain audio can make them cringe or feel ill (think nails on a chalkboard.) Whatever your taste, ASMR has taken the web by storm over the past few years and even brands have taken notice. Rarely, however, does it crossover within the contemporary art world, except for maybe in the case of Holly Herndon. Bread Face has created something completely unique and aesthetically genre-defying. Blending elements of nostalgic music, fashion and lighting design, Bread Face’s videos elevate ASMR to a higher place. Her work is humorous, sexy, avant-garde and most importantly perhaps, accessible. People LOVE to watch her online and we’re no exception.
It’s no surprise then, to hear were excited to be catching more of her next month at the Seattle Art Fair (August 1 – 4, 2019.) Her interactive installation, Self Facing, will feature baked goods created exclusively for the fair. The public will be encouraged to play with the bread in whatever tactile way they feel compelled. The altered baked good will then be on display. This installation touches on themes ongoing in the evolving oeuvre of the ASMR internet sensation including somatic materials, domesticity and of course, voyeurism. Take a look at one of her videos above (headphones recommended) and learn more about the Seattle Art Fair and Bread Face’s performance art here.