OCEAN SEQUENCES (FABLES 1-10)
1-5 channel-synched (360°), interactive multi-channel game-mod, HD video (16:9) with 5.1 surround sound, PAL, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist.
As it gradually grows over the upcoming year, Ocean Sequences (Fables 1-10) is a mashup that re-animates 3D game characters and objects that are indexically tied to global events which impact the local and represent the relational ways in which war, as an extension of historical meaning and memory, drives the creation of homegrown personal ideology. Throughout the sequences, multiple shifting perspectives (POV) are simultaneously experienced at once. Each perspective of an object or a different angle of the scene, interweaves imagery of quasi-religious and consumer-cultural excess, with an exaggerated and stressful uneasiness brought on by the buoyancy of the objects moving across the surface of the ocean. In contrast to the surface depictions, are a series of ten fables that over the course of the narrative deepen the counter-image. They re-imagine a selection of political events in the guise of a moral tale to develop the rhetorical power of images and dissensual space to intervene in a wrong. Myth is the first iteration of these fables which focuses on Russian involvement in the Malaysian Air Flight MH17 terror attack. Additionally, both montages are further deepened by an immersive, hypnotic soundtrack that arises from remixing suspenseful audio track segments from popular Hollywood horror films, HBO series and Noir films. Furthermore, these soundscapes are also a combination of my own personal recordings of popular tourist destinations throughout Australia and various assortments of video game sound effects.
1/4 rear-projections, single-channel, HD video (16:9) with stereo, PAL, n/a mins. Image courtesy of the artist.
Tutorialized I: Guns & Ammo
An ongoing series of rear-projected machinima works in development, Tutorialized I-IV (2017), consists of four video works that include: Tutorialized I: Guns & Ammo, II: Bombs & Bodies, III: Vehicles & Machines, and lastly, IV: Explosions & Effects. These video works examine the complicit nature of online pedagogy and 3D design that feeds into the problematic pervasiveness of the military-industrial complex. Throughout the web, thousands of design tutorials are uploaded every day, created to teach users how to design, simulate, modify, and convert every type of conceivable weapon, and all manner of militaristic devices and machines into a 3D digital file to be sold or exchanged across the web. All, if not most of my expertise has been dependent on this DIY approach for learning skills associated with modding and 3D creation. Across the four works, a series of rotating fetishized images of various 3D militaristic designs are set in front of a background image of war which never fully comes into focus. The purpose of the work is to establish a tenuous and paradoxical relationship between a geo-political reality that is a result of the real, in contrast to the online design tutorial which builds the virtual thing itself that causes the destruction in question. Both contribute to the same problem of violence, yet the virtual object also provides the possibilities for combatting such real effects with the same exact design tools through the power of dissensus.
Strobe light synced, muti-channel, HD video (16:9) with stereo, PAL, n/a mins, 2007. Image courtesy of the artist.
POP Quest (Place of Power)
An ongoing machinima film in development consists of an installation component with a multi-player online game-mod. Endless Columns (2017) takes a satirical look at the invisible, psychological violence embedded within the institutional-archival framework of Australian Immigration Policy and the modern-day problem of hoarding, set in the virtual world of First Person Shooter (FPS) Zombie genre. Violence in Endless Columns (2017) is conflated between a hoard or over-abundance of game-assets which fills the space, along with the leaked Incident Reports of Transfield Security. Both act as architecture and metaphor for the traumatized body, while also providing a stage for the literalization of violence to act out on its surfaces. The virtual site of the game environment becomes a contested place of power between the act of reading, searching, knowledge creation and evading the onslaught of the hoard that awaits the unlucky players.
Game-mod, multi-player, single-channel, HD video (16:9) with stereo, PAL, n/a mins. Image courtesy of the artist.
Rebel Without A Cause
A selection of different 3D models used as the generic game asset for representing the dual image of the player as either Terrorist or Rebel. As they expand across multiple synched screens, the floating models create fields of overlapping bodies, reminiscent of galaxies or a swarm of locusts. Abstracted from their stereotypical gaming environments and third world-surroundings of desert, mud and dust they strobe in infinite space. They drift without a purpose – frozen in a hypnotic background of Photoshop pallet swatches that strobe and loop endlessly, forever trapped, in a never-ending cycle of pulsing colour.
Multi-channel sync, HD video (16:9) with stereo, PAL, n/a mins, 2007. Image courtesy of the artist.
The deliberate glitch places stress on hardware, (e.g. overloading graphics card and memory to produce visual glitches) which in-turn puts pressure on the performance of the PC. This enables a direct causal relationship which exposes the hidden structural operations behind the game physics. By disrupting the narrative game-play, glitching changes the perception of the original purpose of the game and redirects questions towards the intention of the artist away from the game developers. I see this as one example of how to maintain a level of critical distance in game-play by way of a repeating gesture, which generates another kind of critique by way of identity politics. Contemporary Portraits rely on the monochromatic colours of Wilson Security identity branding to structure its politics with the PC stress generating the glitching of Dying Light’s gaming assets. The background minimalist colours of Aqua, Red, Blue, White and Black represent the inter-connectedness of multi-national’s to the state apparatus for the outsourcing of their policing. The installation of Contemporary Portraits across the gallery wall, consist of game characters and figures who once populated a fictional virtual world, but now infect the purity of the space. A background chorus of in-game groans, rotting flesh, Islamic cries, and beachside atmospheric tracks, invisibly fill the spectator’s space, as they glitch uncontrollably next to one another.
Multi-channel HD video sound work, unsynced, stereo, PAL, n/a mins, 2007. Image courtesy of the artist.
There are a number of ways of looking at video games that conflate war history and violence with entertainment. One such pairing up of WWII War with the occult and legions of the undead is the multi-player game set in Berlin, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2, developed by Rebellion®. These games seemingly trivialize the horror of war by fictionalizing its history at the expense of national sacrifice and the memory of the fallen. However, can there be another way of looking at this genre in the same way Mel Brooks or Charlie Chaplain used comedy to unmask and dethrone power by parodying its historical characters and form? Machinima films like Repeater (2007), operate in this same vein and are designed to re-transmit, another kind of aestheticisation of history which focuses on the seriality of death through its staging and physics. Throughout Repeater (2007), every death sequence that befalls me through the entirety of the video game is captured. Unsynced death scenes, repeated one after another across multiple screens with church bells in tow, amplify the ridiculousness of this rag-doll effect, pushing it over into a solemn representation of modern day warfare where the civilian and soldier are one and the same.