Our Digital Servitude: Viktor Timofeev/John Gerrard

John Gerrard, Farm (Pryor Creek, Oklahoma), 2015, still from digital . Image courtesy the artist.

John Gerrard, Farm (Pryor Creek, Oklahoma), 2015, still from digital projection. Image courtesy the artist.

An acquaintance of mine works for a successful video gaming company, producing their short, film preview-like teasers and advertisements. Generating footage using free-floating perspectives within the worlds of the games, he considers his work as factually capturing those worlds, and refers to himself as a “documentary maker.” This is a peculiar spin on machinima—the term used for videos produced from within video game platforms—but video games are a reality we have long invested in, so why not treat them as such? It highlights the fact that our world is habituated and crossed through with digital processes; they don’t exist in opposition to the “real,” but as equal fact on the experiential spectrum. The politics and possibilities of so-called virtual realities have been increasingly explored in galleries and other platforms (the work of practitioners like David O’Reilly, Jason Rohrer, and Benjamin Nuel are notable examples); two recent shows in London presented very different versions of this landscape, to ask where within it we might stand.

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