an artificial edifice
Finding Fanon 2 by Larry Achiampong and David Blandy
Zo by Bob Bicknell-Knight
Glyphs iv - RheaDinS can nerFur BeakOm DiscOnNeckTed FrOM anY inDIvyDUelS nowLedJ aw EggsPearEyeAnts by Aylwin Greenwood-Lambert
The sun flickers on the horizon, just visible over a mass of artificial light emanating from a perfectly sculpted cityscape. As you shift your focus, narrowing your eyes and squinting into the distance, you manage to identify a police helicopter hovering above one of the skyscrapers, the pilot preparing to land after another successful assignment. You’ve been watching this hyper-real, seemingly autonomous scene play out for the past few minutes, only now realising that you have a life to get back to, regretfully tearing your eyes away from the beautifully rendered copy of Los Angeles being displayed on your television screen, back to the reality of the situation. This weeks exhibition on isthisit? was named ‘an artificial edifice’ and features three works, each dealing with artificial space and the overwhelming nature of the network, reflecting on the present in relation to our past and future selves. Larry Achiampong and David Blandy’s collaborative film ‘Finding Fanon 2’ utilises the Grand Theft Auto V in-game video editor, appropriating and building on the lost plays of Frantz Fanon. As the piece unfolds we’re introduced to the two artists as avatars within the video game space, exploring the seemingly deserted environment, patrolling dockyards and climbing mountains whilst a woman’s voice is heard over a subtle soundtrack. As the post-colonial condition is being considered and discussed by the unseen voice, you begin to understand that, for all its beauty, the seemingly perfect virtual world that’s being presented is as imperfect as the physical realm, due to the creators of the video game residing in the real, steeped with bias and hidden vitriol. Towards the end of the video the voice states ‘if I am guilty, it would be that I am guilty of dreaming of emancipation’, summing up the escapism that players wish for when powering up their console or donning their virtual reality headset, only to find that these worlds are becoming more real than the reality you’re attempting to escape. This leads to my own piece in the show, ‘Zo’, a film that continues to interrogate the escapism that one seeks from their apparent real life. Various moments of down time from the science fiction video game franchise Mass Effect are observed in the background whilst in the foreground a text based conversation occurs between myself and an internet bot, first chatting about inconsequential moments, eventually leading to a discussion on what it means to be human and what ‘real’ intelligence reflects. The final work in the show is from Aylwin Greenwood-Lambert titled ‘Glyphs IV’. Serving as a background for the other works, the digital print depicts an array of images that are garnered from Google’s vast database, arranged to phonetically spell out the lengthier version of the artworks title ‘RheaDinS can nerFur BeakOm DiscOnNeckTed FrOM anY inDIvyDUelS nowLedJ aw EggsPearEyeAnts’. As the internet and various virtual realms continue to affect and distort the language we speak and the actions we take, where and what is the end game?
Curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight