I Love You, Be Safe by Ian Alan Paul of San Francisco is video headshots of performers giving overlapping, monotone readings of lines like "Baby, where are you," "You need an ID to get in," "Take care." Lines like "Pentagon hit" slowly clue you in that the words come from text messages sent on September 11, 2001. It's powerful material, but the voices become an irritating cacophony.

Back at RISD, Clement Valla of Providence wittily plumbs the distortions of technology by turning Google Earth errors into funhouse mirror postcards of highways that drape over bridges and bridge spans that seem to come apart at the middle. Graham Smith's Digital Painting: Social Network includes an animated "digital painting" of a field and stream at night buzzing with the glowing circles of lightning bugs, which are meant to represent his Facebook friends. As an image and metaphor, it's simplistic. But what's fascinating is a group of shelves next to it, labeled with the names of these friends, and each holding something they gave him when he sought them out in person. An ex-girlfriend offered a work nametag; his longtime best friend, a hair rubber band; that friend's sister, a charm bracelet; a "girl from college dorm," a rock. Mostly it's junk, but these tokens begin to speak of our relationships — virtual and in the flesh — of how they ebb and flow, of the sometimes tenuous strands that connect us to one another.

Read Greg Cook's blog at gregcookland.com/journal.

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