Welcome to Our new portfolio

Elizabeth Withstandley

See All Exhibition Locations

The Real Brian Wilson


23’ HD video

The Real Brian Wilson is a community-based project that delves into the concept of individuality in relation to one's name. It was initiated in late 2015 with the launch of a website, TheRealBrianWilson.org, aimed at facilitating interaction and story-sharing among individuals named Brian Wilson from around the world. Through a six-month-long social media campaign, I reached out to diverse individuals who shared the same name, ultimately connecting with a young writer in Northern Ireland who became an active participant in the project.

Originally conceived as an installation, The Real Brian Wilson features a two-channel video presentation accompanied by a series of digital artifacts, including handwritten letters exchanged between Brian Wilson and myself. The project is also exhibited as a single-screen composite.

The split-screen video provides a juxtaposition between the collective experience of a group of Brian Wilsons and the individual journey of Brian Wilson in Northern Ireland. One video showcases an annual meeting of Brian Wilsons, where individuals with the shared name convene in Scotland in a setting reminiscent of a self-help gathering. The other video follows the solitary experience of Brian Wilson in Northern Ireland, who discovers a radio broadcast of the Brian Wilson meeting. Against the backdrop of Northern Ireland's unique landscape, a region grappling with its own identity, the lone Brian Wilson embarks on a personal exploration.

Through the convergence of these narratives, The Real Brian Wilson invites viewers to contemplate the complexities of individual identity, the shared experiences within a community of namesakes, and the broader socio-cultural implications of personal identity in a changing world.

The Real Brian Wilson