The Real Brian Wilson

Torrance Art Museum 3320 Civic Center Drive Torrance, CA, 90503 January 20 - March 10, 2018 opening: January 20th 6-9pm

The Real Brian Wilson is a community based project created to explore the idea of individuality as it relates to one’s name. It began in late 2015 with the launch of a website for the Brian Wilsons of the world to interact with and share their own personal story. Through a six month long social media campaign I solicited participation from strangers that had nothing in common other than all sharing the same name. The  installation encompasses a multi channel video presented with a series of artifacts including of hand written

letters between Brian Wilson and I.


The multi-channel video presents a duality between an individual and a group of Brian Wilsons. One video shows an annual Brian Wilson meeting in which Brian Wilsons of the world meet in Scotland in a sort of ‘self help’ meeting type setting. The narrative in the group meeting uses stories submitted by actual Brian Wilsons through the website and features an actor named Brian Wilson. The other video shows the lone experience of Brian Wilson in Northern Ireland who has stumbled across a radio broadcast of the Brian Wilson meeting. The lone Brian Wilson travels through the unique landscape of Northern Ireland, a country that has been struggling with it’s own identity since it’s inception. Through the video he wrestles with his thoughts on individuality and the impact of his name.


The artifacts set up a narrative that enables the viewer to see into the project on another level, providing them with information regarding the “real” Brian Wilson as an active collaborator in the whole project. The piece plays with fact and fiction leaving the viewer wondering what is real and what is contrived in this exploration of individuality.


© Elizabeth Withstandley 2014, All rights reserved