Since its development in the 60s, the internet has come a long way. It launched the world into a new age and continues to do so, transforming many things, but mainly the way humans communicate. It has made it easier to talk to whomever, wherever, and at any time. Observation of one another transpires, yet a screen shields the direct interaction. Artificial methods facilitate communication by obscuring the sound of the other's voice, the sight of their face, and the sensation of their touch.

The internet has come a long way, and the further it advances, the more it will undoubtedly distance people from a sense of humanity, causing alienation.  The very nature of the internet is, at its core, a solitary activity. Phones weren't made for an extra pair of hands; computers aren't designed with two keyboards. Humans are alone and anxious, desperately trying to connect, now more than ever.

An artist who goes by the name VAD depicts these feelings using 3D digital modelling. His art serves as a visual discourse on how smartphones and constant connectivity can lead to feelings of isolation and anxiety. Using 3D digital modelling, VAD showcases how modern technology produces anxiety and paints a narrative that underscores the urgency of integrating mental health support into public health agendas.

VAD’s art contributes to the broader understanding and awareness that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve, specifically Good Health and Well-being, which advocates for the necessity of mental health services adaptable to the challenges posed by rapid technological advancements and their impact on societal well-being.

Captive Within by Vad.jpg. Image courtesy of Darkroom.

Captive Within showcases a feeling of isolation. The cabin in the image can be seen as a metaphor for the man's mind. The view of the isolated cabin in the landscape suggests seclusion and confinement, mirroring the concept of being trapped within one's thoughts.

The smoke trailing from the chimney to form the skull-shaped monstrous cloud is particularly evocative. It seems to represent the outward expression of what is inside the man’s mind—his thoughts, fears, anxieties, and perhaps even his cries for help or desire to be understood. In the overconnected world of the internet, it's hard to notice a small cabin.

After all, millions of them are everywhere, and they all want someone to talk to. Small communities exist on the internet, and people can form connections through that, but at large, if someone truly wants to make their cabin known to the world, they must do something to get noticed. Unfortunately, like the monstrous cloud, many people manifest their emotions in extreme forms just so someone can hear their cries and rescue them from their cabin.

Virtual Reality by Vad.jpg. Image courtesy of Darkroom.

Often, the human mind creates worlds that are not real, comparisons to others on the internet occur, and gazes turn inward. A sense of insecurity and worthlessness is experienced by most. Virtual Reality depicts this essence of the internet and how most isolate themselves in their own virtual reality and forget to look at the beautiful world outside their window. VAD does an excellent job of capturing that feeling through, as he puts it in an interview with RAYDAR, his “beautifully disturbing” art.

Shell captures the feeling of being connected to everything yet feeling profoundly alone. The juxtaposition of old and new digital techniques symbolizes the enduring nature of the issues associated with the internet. The pixelated version suggests a throwback to simpler times when technology was less pervasive, while the high-resolution image confronts us with the present reality. Both versions, despite the technological gap, address the timeless human struggle with isolation and overcoming the emotional and psychological challenges posed by technology. 

VAD’s work serves not just as art but as a call to recognize and address the crisis of isolation in our society. His hauntingly beautiful yet deeply unsettling art lay bare the paradox of our times: that in reaching out to the world, we are, in many ways, drawing further into ourselves, losing touch with the tangible and the real.

VAD’s digital sculptures are a testament to the importance of preserving our humanity—our need for genuine connection and mental well-being—in an age where the allure of the screen often overshadows the warmth of human contact, we must find ways to reconcile our innate need for community and connection with the digital realms we inhabit.

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