FOMOphobia (2013)

FOMOphobia is a network-connected installation that attempts to embody the social media burden of the artist. Incoming messages, notifications, and tweets are signaled with loudly ringing bells, flashing red numbers, and an alphanumeric LED display of the content.

Full Description

FOMOphobia consists of five individual pieces representing Twitter, Facebook, email, SMS/voicemail, and RSS feeds (blog reader). Each piece consists of a two-by-two foot wooden medallion of white mahogany inlaid into golden oak replicating in large-scale the familiar iPhone icons, a large red LED numeric display showing the number of unread messages inset into the upper right corner (also calling to mind the badge notifications on an iPhone), a red alphanumeric display along the bottom displaying incoming messages, and a red alarm bell hung above the piece.

As each message arrives, the corresponding piece would ring for several seconds, the number of unread messages would be updated, and the message, SMS, email, or tweet would be displayed.

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2013
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Sunday Feb 23rd, 2014
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • wmodes, primary creator
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Artist Statement

FOMOphobia is a network-connected installation that immerses the viewer in a visualization of the artist’s real-time social networking anxiety, sounding alarms and keeping count of unhandled content.

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is a form of social anxiety described as “a compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for social interaction, a novel experience, or other satisfying event.” FOMO is the result of our bombardment by modern networking, more insidious because we take an active part in it, simultaneously stressed out about and perpetuating our own addiction.

FOMOphobia brings this private guilt to the surface with glaring numeric displays and alarm bells. It exposes the artist’s social networking burden and addiction, revealing both the accumulation and content of his social media messages. FOMOphobia provokes viewers to re-weigh the value of their relentless connectedness.

Like social media itself, FOMOphobia simultaneously attracts and repels. The installation features individual monitors for each of the artist’s most insistent social media and chairs inviting the visitor to become immersed in the piece. Each monitor consists of a prominent numeric LED counter of the number of unread or unhandled items, paired with a clangorous electric bell that sounds whenever the number increments. A single line LED display scrolls through messages as they are received exposing the content of the artist’s social networking.

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