What is the truth about the Gold Coast? Heterotopia explores the juxtaposition between the reported Gold Coast and the virtual possibilities caught up in sites of otherness. What reality is being explored becomes the fundamental question of this art work. Where there is fun there is also fear. While there is the impersonality of high-rise living there is also the fun at ground level. While solutions for crime and violence mean more police and heavier policing there is no attempt to look at the underlying causes for the sensationalised violence and gang related activities by the media. Is the Gold Coast to be New York at its worst? Is it the new Miami? Is the future so bleak for the coast that the end is automatically assumed to be horrifying? Heterotopia, with its over the top use of simulated fountaining blood, hypnotic soundtracks and virtual violence, suggests that there is a conflict between the constructed reality of the media and that reality which holidaymakers know.
CHRIS HOWLETT, Heterotopia 2013, 1-channel, High Definition Video, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 +2 AP, Duration 5:00 mins.
“Bushstalkers” was a Two Player Interactive Game Mod which used the UT3 game engine to create a giant fantasy forest where two players could explore aimlessly without the capability to shoot their guns. Their only guide was a series of coloured spotlights which pooled up as the players walked into their vicinity, each triggering a personal story from war veterans returning from Iraq. Their stories contained personal, ideological, moral and ethical narratives which complicated the viewers conception of empiracle truth based observations set against the backdrop of a corporate, media driven landscape, and the way we inhabit a particular set of subjective positions. All of the stories were sourced and recorded from online social networks, blogs, websites and news channels…continue >>
CHRIS HOWLETT, Bushstalkers 2013, Interactive Game-Mod with Console, 2-channel, High Definition Video, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 +2 AP, Duration 7:00 mins.
METROPOLIS: PART I-III, 2009
“Metropolis I, II & III” uses the game SimCity Societies to construct three imaginary and psychological zones in order to create a meditative space for reflection, seduction and poetic, apocalyptic reverie. Abstraction, repetition, the grid, and architecture all play their part throughout the world in “real” cities town planning strategies in order to produce territory and the modern civilization. The recent Chilean and Haitian earthquake, South-Pacific islands devastated by tsunamis, apocalyptic meteorites and the dire predictions associated with climate change, overshadow the construction of these three different, yet strangely familiar virtual sites that all strive to undermine both the logic of the game and our own safe, hygienically controlled lifestyles. In “Metropolis I, II & III”, dystopian, authoritarian and sublime, gated estates merge and dissolve into one another conjuring up disturbing comparisons between our real, lived experience and our day-to-day mediated trauma, represented elsewhere in our fantasies or across the electric spectacle of the global, media screen…continue >>
CHRIS HOWLETT, Metropolis: Part I-III 2009, 1-channel, High Definition Video, PAL, Surround Sound. Ed of 5 +2 AP, 24:20 mins.
HOMESTEAD: PART I-II, 2009
“Homestead: Part I-II” is a Machinima film which charts the demise of Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his family. A Modernist Glass House fortifies the once idyllic farm surroundings with its own “Grand Designs” inspired build your own home philosophy which eventually traps and suffocates its own occupants within its transparent labyrinth. While the architecture consumes and creates its own stress tests around its inhabitants the accompanying soundtrack charts the demise of Kevin Rudd’s leadership in Australian politics and the repercussions his right-wing decisions have had on both a local and international level. From controversial topics such as “Art or Porn?”, Iraq war veteran stories giving us the “truth about money and war”, Kevin Rudd’s attack on art in Australia to the “Fat Bastards” aussie meat-pie philosophy on pedophilia and artists, “Homestead: Part I-II” humorously takes aim at the rise of conservatism and the repercussions that this ism produces. It ends with Death silently standing vigil in his hooded costume, looking out into the quite serene suburban landscape, contemplating what kind of future may lay in waiting for us all.
CHRIS HOWLETT, Homestead: Part I-II 2009, 1-channel, High Definition Video, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 +2 AP, Duration 16:21 mins.
MICHAEL JACKSON 4 WAYS: PART I-IV, 2009
“Michael Jackson 4 Ways: Part I-IV” is a machinima film designed to activate an immersive space from which to critically and creatively consider how reality and simulated environments both construct and reconfigure our ideas about the nature of subjectivity and identity. The video work explores these new phenomenons through Sims 3, which is a strategic life simulation video game where players construct and control their Sims in various social activities and form relationships in a manner similar to real life. Sims 3 does not have a defined final goal and its gameplay is open-ended. Michael Jackson was a person who cut across international racial and gender divisions with his music and lyrics, but whose personal life created intense contradictions between his private life and his role as a musician. As the copies of the Michael Jackson Sims play out their animated roles in Paris Hilton’s house, the accompanying audio tracks expose the political and moral debates surrounding accusations of paedophilia. “Michael Jackson 4 Ways: Part I-IV” questions the slippery position the viewer inhabits, to make informed, truth based decisions over these personal and moral online statements. Where does one locate one’s moral and ethical decisions based on the artists’ aesthetics?…continue >>
CHRIS HOWLETT, Michael Jackson 4 Ways: Part I-IV 2009, 1-channel, HD, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 + 2AP, Duration:32:28mins.
HUMAN VS. HUMAN, 2009
“Human Vs Human” is a Machinima film which uses various autobiographical war veteran stories from online social networking sites, live recorded 3D game play from first person shooter games and remixed pop songs from all male pop groups to create alternative narratives which subvert and intensify their original meaning. The video work inserts the real life personal narratives of soldiers into a virtual gaming world cut with pop music, in-game narratives and atmospheric sound tracks to create a disturbing, conflated look at the reality of warfare, its simulated double and the psychology of masculine violence and seduction…continue >>
CHRIS HOWLETT, Human Vs. Human 2009, 1-channel, SD, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 + 2AP, Duration: 20:15mins.
In the scenic, Walt Disney inspired “Homesteads”, the family unit and children’s innocence come under attack from advancements in new technology to create a disturbing look at exploitative daytime talk shows, online predators and clueless parents with their siblings, rebellious angst. As we listen to the contestants they confess their own harrowing experiences, each one more traumatic than the last; crying, audience anguish and theme music, punctuate the carefully crafted narratives delivering unto us an entertaining film script filled with monsters, sunflowers, manicured gardens, horror stories, cockroaches, people on fire, garbage and people pissing on themselves. The anti-verse that unfolds before our eyes asks us to reflect on how we function as a society in response to these new real and virtual spaces of interaction, how we might respond to the political dimensions of these expanded sites of inhabitation, and how they might also represent a more troubling scenario for the possibility of dissent or opposition in our media saturated culture…continue >>
CHRIS HOWLETT, HomesteadS 2009, 1-channel, High Definition Video, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 +2 AP, Duration 8:11 mins.