Alone together?

Last week in New York, Red Bull Studios held an exhibition featuring web artist Ryder Ripps and his project “Alone Together.” The show discussed the new and omnipresent nature of the internet in our lives and the idea that the more we become connected in the virtual world, the farther apart we become in the external. The show responded to the focal question in neither a negative nor positive light, but asked viewers to consider it. I was reminded of Jason Farman’s concept of the sensory-inscribed body within a world of pervasive computing. Is engaging in virtual reality distancing us from one another or is it just another way for us to experience the world?

Ryder’s show is also an example of how an art space can be turned into an interactive, all-senses experience, rejecting the traditional gallery setting. You can read the full description of the show in the articles below.

“Conceived by Ryder Ripps AlONE TOGETHER exaggerates the relationship between the content creator and content consumer, illuminating the physical solitude of virtual relationships. This dynamic is physically reinforced by the sculptures’ divided orientation between the upper and lower floors of the space. The upstairs replicates the solitary voyeurism found in the online viewing experience while the downstairs performance enacts the corporal aspects of a network.”

“Exhibition goers become voyeurs, surveilling the performative Internet experience encased below. Just steps away are six self-mediated video interviews that serve as introductions to each performer/user, drawing back the curtain of content and addressing the dichotomy between our representation and corporal self.”

You can check out the Red Bull Studios page and Ryder Ripp’s site for info on the show ad other work he’s done.

I also recommend checking out this New York Times review, which includes a Snapchat tour of the the show:

In addition here is an article the NY Times ran an article about Ryder in the summer:



  1. Thanks for sharing! Suspicious that the website has no reference to the famous book “Alone Together” published fairly recently by Sherry Turkle. Turkle has been writing about the internet, technology and our bodies since a long long time. She is also referenced in our reading for this week.
    The show is obviously inspired by her and her work. Not giving proper attributions in your work is unethical, and as we know in academia, constitutes plagiarism which is a very very serious offence. But perhaps I’m just missing the citation. 🙂

    As far as your question — “virtual reality — is it just another way for us to experience the world?” I think it brings us closer and further apart, depending on which way you are analyzing it. Depending on your orientation to read experience, you will have a different answer. 🙂 I also think it’s important for us to think about ~augmented reality~ as opposed to virtual reality, as most of our daily lives are actually an enactment of augmented reality in a hybrid space.


    1. I had the same thought!! I read Turkle’s novel in 2012 so I immediately related to it when I saw Ryder’s show. At first I thought that he didn’t credit or reference her because he was loosely inspired but ran with the idea kind of thing, not directly using her ideas.

      However, since the show I’ve looked into him a bit [online, Instagram, word by mouth] and found that there’s been controversy around other projects he’s done, such as his reworking, so to speak, of Adrianne Ho’s Instagram photos. There’s an interesting article and interview with him discussing the situation here:

      It’s a pretty weird article and concept. I can understand his perspective to some extent, but it has some explicitly misogynistic undertones, apart from the actual manipulation of her photos. Especially considering his open-mindedness within the art he creates and embraces the media/digital aspect, it is quite questionable that it’s different with women. Pretty odd stuff, and I didn’t know any of this when I first posted about his show.

      I’m going to ask a friend at Redbull about the “Alone Together” concept and if he made any comments about Turkle’s book. I’ll update if I find anything out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also~ Regarding Turkle’s book– “Alone Together” is groundbreaking in that it was one of the first widespread discussions confronting technology, but I also feel that it is slightly one-sided. I felt at times that it was a manifestation of Turkle’s negative perceptions of technology based on valid research, but without considering others people’s entirely different perspectives– That the things she found to be negative might be considered positive by some. It was definitely eye-opening though, and got me thinking. I have to keep in mind that I read to 2 or so years ago, so I’m excited to hear other peoples opinions and ideas in class 🙂


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