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Mushpit’s Interiority Complex
Photography Dexter Lander, fashion Charlotte Roberts

Mushpit explores social media hysteria in new exhibition

Bertie Brandes and Charlotte Roberts, founders of the homegrown zine, explore our collective anxieties alongside a series of artists for one-night-only

Bertie Brandes and Charlotte Roberts are expanding the satirical and genre-blurring spirit of Mushpit beyond the pages of their self-published zine with a one-night-only art show that taps into social media anxiety. On a bigger scale than ever before thanks to a collab with shoe brand Melissa, the punnily-titled exhibition, Interiority Complex, doubles as both a launch of the brand’s Flygrl collection, as well as a multimedia exploration of “self-surveillance and the body online” through art by an all-female line-up including Hannah Perry, fashion designer Elliss Solomon, and Dazed 100 alumni video artist Natalia Stuyk. With huge, printed curtains (reworking the traditionally feminine domestic sphere for 2017), 3D rendered videos examining symbols from our daily digital lives (like the Instagram tagged box), and a limited edition Dexter Lander-lensed Mushpit zine too (“Obviously, zines are our thing,”) – you’d be forgiven for thinking this might be quite a chaotic experience.

“We wanted this exhibition to be a bit mad and frantic – but also, in the middle, to have quite a calming space where you can read the zine and be like, ‘It’s OK, we’re all in it together’” – Charlotte Roberts

That was the intention, really: “The whole thing is about interiors and playing with different ideas of what spaces are meant for,” Roberts says, going on to explain the “increased level of hysteria” they wanted to mimic from social media. “It’s just relentless. We wanted this exhibition to be a bit mad and frantic – but also, in the middle, to have quite a calming space where you can read the zine and be like, ‘It’s OK, we’re all in it together.’” Whether it be cyber-stalking, or comparing yourself to the rich, pretty girls who just seem to exist on the internet for a living, travelling and living their best life – Interiority Complex is all about experiencing the intensity of this obsession but, also, having some respite to reflect on these unsettling social media-anxieties IRL.

It’s not all bad, though – the exhibition promises to have the same fun-approach-to-crisis the pair have on the pages of Mushpit (their last issue was aptly titled “Crisis Issue”). As they’ve told us before, “Mushpit exists primarily in crisis mode,” – and humour is a particularly good way to deal with the absurdity of things. That is from, for example, the fallout of a post-Brexit Britain, to a reality where the phrase printed on their exclusive zine for the show – “You’re the first thing I see when I wake up; the last thing I see before I go to sleep,” – is more about a stranger behind the screen than an actual real, face-to-face human connection. “We talk about it a lot,” Brandes admits, weighing in on the pros and cons: “There are these amazing positive aspects of it, but then I think everybody I know, including myself is happier when they’re not on it.” “It is cool for building communities,” she carries on, warning, “but it can also be a way of exploiting these communities.” “Yeah,” Roberts agrees, “It’s like, for every one completely unique and needed collective, there’ll be like ten marketed fake girl gangs.” Self-awareness then, is key, to navigating this space and, as ever, Mushpit promises to deliver just that – with a side of drinks, DJs and fun. Go along to see for yourself. 

Interiority Complex is on at the Galeria Melissa, London on Thursday 10 August from 7pm. RSVP here, and follow @themushpit and @shoesmelissa for more details