Video

ARGARMENIA, 2014

ALTERNATE REALITY GAMING, TUMO – CENTER FOR CREATIVE TECHNOLOGIES, YEREVAN, ARMENA, 2013

Where does spirituality and truth reside within the sacred ritual? Is it simply a game, theatre or an authentic exchange between the individual and the unknown? ARGARMENIA lies somewhere between a document and a work in itself. Using a series of augmented gaming environments played in Armenia, as part of an art residency, these excursions into alternate reality gaming combined with personal footage of Armenian religious and secular culture, disrupt the ways in which sense is made of reality and our dissensual relationship to memorial space and history.

This moving image work can either be viewed as a two channel projection or viewed in single channel format – split screen. Currently, it is without English subtitles which are not necessary to experience the work.

Even though at times both screens do occasionally depict the same event taking place at different intervals, predominantly the left hand side of the split screen is captured footage from three months in Yerevan that documents my everyday experience living as an outsider in a foreign country. Some of the footage includes historical war footage, park concerts, countryside tours to ancient temples and churches, local protests, cultural and religious rituals, and the final exhibition of classroom pedagogical processes. While on the right hand side of the screen the edited footage documents fragments from the actual in-game play of the Alternate Reality Games between three teams (red, orange and blue) that took place between players and game developers on the 8th, 14th and the 15th of December throughout Yerevan City.

Both narratives are meant to expand our understanding of what Alternate Reality is and how it functions in real-time and in real-space? And lastly, how as a record of these events it further serves to exaggerate our removal from the reality of the game by emphasizing our outsidedness from what is unfolding onscreen. The spectatorship of Alternate Reality Gaming serves both to undermine the meaning behind the narratives glimpsed post-event as well as to illicit a certain level of intrigue and puzzlement as to their meanings. This was one of the reasons for the editing decisions behind the use of the footage in order to find a suitable way to bridge both of these problems of spectatorship and outsidedness by re-enacting something on-screen which is fragmented and incomplete with something which seems more concrete and personal such as my everyday chance encounters with specific cultural phenomena.

The three month residency at Tumo was also an important opportunity to develop the pedagogical processes behind the ARG learning models, which included workshops held in class that introduced participants to new technological design techniques, script writing for games, playing the completed ARG, and the final design and presentation of the exhibition. All three processes aimed to develop students’ ideas on narrative structure, the delivery of their stories to the surrounding communities, the ways these interface with the surrounding landscape using new technologies, hardware and software applications and how to prepare, plan and design an exhibition for these past events…continue >>

CHRIS HOWLETT, ARGARMENIA 2014, 1-channel, High Definition Video, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 +2 AP, Duration 31:10min.

NEW DAWN, 2013

This is the full length video art work entitled “New Dawn” exhibited as a 4-channel unsynched work at Boxcopy gallery in Brisbane, Australia in 2013. It explores the mysterious nature of reality in the objects and the mediatized spaces that surround us day–to–day; how do notions of the body, speed, excess, morality and even revolution translate from a purely technological and virtual gaming space into the real space of the audience; what do these translations mean when approaching ideas on constructed reality and the speed at which reality is accelerating beyond our control? Can user generated content freely produced and disseminated online via social networks be considered a ‘social interstice’, when considering the complicit strategies of simulation, metonymy, appropriation, copying and role–playing? And lastly, are these shifts in the way we understand the development of new perspectives (truth) generated by a collective, such as a cloud or hive mind provide authentic opportunities for alternative models of subjectivisation and identity construction?..continue >>

CHRIS HOWLETT, New Dawn 2013, 4-channel unsynched, High Definition Video, PAL, Stereo. Edition of 5 +2 AP, Duration 37:08min.

NEW DAWN – PART I, EXHIBITION DOCUMENTATION, 2013

This new body of work entitled New Dawn explores the mysterious nature of reality in the objects and the mediatized spaces that surround us day–to–day; how do notions of the body, speed, excess, morality and even revolution translate from a purely technological and virtual gaming space into the real space of the audience; what do these translations mean when approaching ideas on constructed reality and the speed at which reality is accelerating beyond our control? Can user generated content freely produced and disseminated online via social networks be considered a ‘social interstice’, when considering the complicit strategies of simulation, metonymy, appropriation, copying and role–playing? And lastly, are these shifts in the way we understand the development of new perspectives (truth) generated by a collective, such as a cloud or hive mind provide authentic opportunities for alternative models of subjectivisation and identity construction?

The first component to New Dawn is a multi–channel video work which conflates the online spectacle of real events with virtual gaming. How do we determine certainty or truth and remove doubt from the decisions we make about real–time and online experiential data; now that our lives are progressively more than ever entwined with virtual space. The purpose of this new moving image work is to question this new phenomenon and what are the political, social and economic repercussions for these new technological developments on our bodies and subjectivities…continue >>

CHRIS HOWLETT, New Dawn, Part I – Solo Exhibition, Boxcopy, Brisbane, Australia, 2013 (exhibition documentation), High Definition video, PAL, Stereo, 8:56mins.

NEW DAWN – PART II, EXHIBITION DOCUMENTATION, 2013

The second component to New Dawn is an ongoing series of sculptural works that have been in development since 2010. This new body of work will examine the mysterious nature of our reality by combining 3D printing technology software with traditional studio based sculptural practices such as mould making and air brushing techniques. All of my past video work, machinima, performance and installation practice all attempt 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 identity. Unlike previous moving image works, these static sculptural works aim to primarily bring the body from a technological and virtual three–dimensional space into the real gallery space of the viewer…continue >>

CHRIS HOWLETT, New Dawn, Part II – Solo Exhibition, Metro Arts, Brisbane, Australia, 2013 (exhibition documentation), High Definition video, PAL, Stereo, 5:16mins.