Modeontwerper en kunstenaar Irene Ha opereert onder de naam Baby Reni. In haar werk imiteert ze de taal van Generatie Z. Ze archiveert als het ware de visuele verschijnselen van willekeur die ze in haar dagelijks leven ervaart, zoals een pakje melk dat omvalt en daardoor in de witte vloeistof ligt. Of lichtspotjes in een verlaten winkelcentrum die reflecteren als sterren in de spekgladde, stenen vloeren. Deze gegevens worden terugvertaald in haar werk: Woorden worden daden, patronen worden prints en onderlinge maatschappijen worden mannequins. Haar universum werd groter dan dat ze vanuit haar slaapkamer ooit voor mogelijk had gehouden. Deze Salon neemt je mee in het volgende ongewone tienerdrama met Baby Reni in de hoofdrol.
Operating as Baby Reni, Irene Ha mimics the tone of how coming of age storytelling unfolds. Not only copying Gen-Z’s vocabulary and digital mannerism, but also archiving its visual cues of randomness she comes across in her daily life. All of these givens are translated back into her body of work: words can become acts, patterns can become prints and mutuals can become mannequins. In this way her universe became even bigger than she could have ever imagined from her bedroom, where Baby Reni is the main character in the following unusual teen drama (maybe meet cute?):
Since you are here I will spill the tea (1) ; being born as a second generation immigrant kid, I feel like I do not belong nor here nor there. It is as if trying to fit in = making me feel more alienated than ever! Therefore I found refuge again in turning to communities in a fluid existence I am not physically in touch with, but a community build on the internet.(2) I feel and feel like it is okay to feel. (4) But mostly I wanna feel… connected to the world around me. (3)
During one of my Youtube clickbait binge sessions I stumbled on this pre-covid shot of a woman fully dressed in Burberry on a motorbike (5) ; for the first time I could kinda identify myself with someone somewhere I am supposed to ‘be from’. Why is it that she’s there and I am here and we’re both wearing the same? And my favorite rapper does so too? (6) Hers bootleg, mine vintage and his brand new. Apparently this beige checkered prints exists in eternity. It was not only this, but also the full body coverage that foreshadowed our reality post-covid: mask on my face (7) now I look like an emoji. (8)
They say the ‘younger generation’ (9) is unpredictable. Also, we have less sex than the youth 20 years ago. I don’t know what point they are trying to make with this but The World just feels like a collective hallucination we’ve all been trapped in. (10) It’s quite funny: when you see this world. (11)
All I know is that I would be taking mirror selfies in my teenage bedroom and they would still think that I am cute. (12) Or being on a desperate sewing bender (13) and they would still call me a designer. *in the red lights bright like Fanta strawberry, (14) why do 21st century spirits prefer soft drinks offerings over blood?* While I might be feeling lonely, as lonely (15) as that time I was in this empty shopping mall and my iPhone ran out of battery. (16)
We could become anything we want: my mom told me I could become a rapper and I once met a rapper who also told me I could become a rapper. It sounded as ridiculous to me as a dog in a hoodie. (20)
We could be anywhere we want: feeling connected whenever the Apple logo (18) on our Macbook enlightens. Find me anywhere, any time. They call me Reni (19), Baby Reni.
5 *angry face emoji’s* I hit the send button. My head hurts I text my other friend (20). The world is just flexing on us (21) So don’t @ me! (22)
Slowly my life of as a zoomer is being commodified and turned into info graphs (23). Embodying the Young Girl (24) I become my own source of capital while this is the least that I want! …always having romanticized my life as if it is a melancholic youthful photograph taken by Rineke Dijkstra (25)
I mean, my life can be filled with ecstasy (26) and blissful moment I don’t need serene lighting to prove this given. Blurry iPhone pics (27+28) reminisce me of staying up all night, running out of time. (29) We can double tap scroll as much we want. (30) In the end it’s about seeing and feeling the magic happen not only URL but also IRL. (31) But first of all, I need to clean my room (32) before I have the courage again to change the world.