be right back (brb)

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︎︎︎ Fabio de Frel

Why are we all feeling so overwhelmed? What does it mean to search for ourselves in the digital age? How are our screens affecting our self-image? After returning from a big trip with more questions than answers, director Fabio de Frel took an interest in how we give our identities shape in these technological times. As we scroll, seeking constant gratification and distraction, are we getting any closer to who we really are? In his debut film installation ‘be right back (brb)’, Fabio explores the impact of our online behaviour on our sense of self. With a focus on the younger generation’s lived experience, the project delves into the search for identity in a world where we put our lives on display.

How can young people today develop their mental health positively if a major part of their time is spent on smartphones and social media? Where young people used to embark on introspective journeys of self-understanding, Gen Z are being constantly distracted by a digital hyperreality driven by hedonism, self-obsession and materialism. Fabio de Frel doesn’t want to express judgement or provide answers, the immersive exhibition ‘be right back (brb’) is all about inspiring you to ask the right questions.

The title ‘be bight back (brb)’ has a double connotation—an abbreviation of the shorthand ‘brb’ refers to you being temporarily away from an online conversation, and returning back to reality. But above all the title speaks to the detour social media and smartphones can provide in the search for your identity—digital distractions from finding the way back to yourself.

The cross-disciplinary film project presents nine short films with an accompanying soundscape, directed and produced by Fabio de Frel & Julio Martin. Driven by in-depth research, each scene shows a way in which our attention and copy mechanisms have shifted, in a poetic and comedic light. How do our smartphones fuel our avoidance of self-awareness, boredom or pressure? Does social media nurture self-glorification, the need for external validation and escapism?

Inviting you to leave your phone at the door, ‘be right back (brb)’ is an offline experience to connect you to the moment and invite self-reflection—without the opportunity to scroll onto the next situation or seek immediate distraction. As you move through the space, the director of your own experience, Fabio de Frel encourages you to ask yourself the questions only you can answer.



be right back (brb) is a travelling film installation by Fabio de Frel. On display in Amsterdam 26th - 29th of may 2022.

  1. Amsterdam

© Fabio de Frel
© Fabio de Frel