PHANTOM

2021, Digital Performance, Dimensions and Duration Variable

Phantom envisions a corrupted sub-section within a videogame, which self-manifests creating a glitching digital realm, formed outside of human design and intention. Within this vast virtual environment are three female performers who cycle endlessly through sequences of fractured and inhuman choreography.

 

Created using Indie game design software, the work reflects upon and responds to the patriarchal tendencies of the gaming industry. The performers subvert stereotypical female videogame characters, seeking to deny these superficial tropes. Each performance disrupts caricatured videogame character movement, contrasting these highly stylising and specific actions with raw and visceral movement patterns. These embodied actions imagine a virtual body learning to move for the first time, whilst being violently interrupted by the dominant existing physical vocabulary of gaming movements. It also explores the differences between physical and virtual bodies, juxtaposing a physical body at rest, limp and heavy, with the virtual body at rest, strung ridged in ‘T’ pose. The combined tension between these states breaks down the performers’ bodies, creating grotesque digital forms that bend, twist and compress in ways that the physical body cannot.

 

Performed and choreographed by the artist, the movement sequences were recorded using motion capture, allowing for a paradoxically embodied yet disconnected process of creation. The physical body existed in a loop, emulating digital and videogame-like movements, attempting to physically glitch, freeze and stutter whilst also seeking to provoke error in the motion capture tracking system. The physical body would contort and twist, deliberately obscuring limbs and moving sensors, trying to control the ultimately unpredictable process of creating glitches. These errors could not be perceived by the artist during the recording and could not be replicated after the fact. 

 

Credits:

Commissioned by Site Gallery

Motion capture by Limbo Tech

Audio by BasicShapes / Ben Dixon

BTS Photography by Alina Zum Hebel