This project was created specifically for an exhibition in CerModern, Ankara, Turkey.
Having not visited Ankara I decided to explore my relationship with this city through purely digital means. I downloaded topographic data from four important locations, divided into 1km square sections, and created simplified first person games. Each of the locations were chosen by Turkish artist Hüseyin Arici for their recent political significance.
There is naivety in the lack of detail of the finished piece which is reminiscent of the way in which looking at a 2D map conjures up images of what a particular city looks like.
A model of the important protest figure #DuranAdam, The Standing Man of Turkey, was added to each of the locations.
Four screenshots were then printed as real-life postcards. These will be displayed with Arici’s own corresponding postcards.
This work was created with the help of Sarah Younan, Tom Kitchen & Hüseyin Arici.
Playable versions of the game are available here (Mac & PC).
Webcam en plein air
'Webcam en plein air' is a project exploring the traditional nature of paining en plein air and the contemporary subject matter of painting from webcams. I've chosen webcams from around Ireland. As an Irish artist living abroad, I wanted to touch on the subject of emigration and location.
When I lived in Ireland I would often paint the local landscape, this is something of an homage to that and the romanticised view of one's homeland.
The webcam paintings must be completed very quickly, with changing skies and inhabitants. I plan on returning to a number of these locations and painting again, with different results. Something that can be missing through painting from photographs.
Webcam en plein air 1, Tramore, May 2014
Webcam en plein air 2, Belfast, May 2014
DayZ en plein air
DayZ en plein air is a continuation of my exploration of Video Games vs Contemporary Art.
I have produced a number of pieces looking at this relationship, translating digitally manufactured landscapes into traditional painted landscapes and vice versa. A recent series of paintings exploring the idea of location and emigration through live painted webcam scenes has led to the development and return to video games as source imagery.
With painting from webcams, I really enjoyed the demonstrated sense of time and the haste required by these paintings. Skies and angles can change without warning.
I focused on this when working with the DayZ paintings. DayZ is a popular online indie game, whereby the protagonist is dropped unassumingly into a post-apocalyptic eastern European country. The landscape is vast and beautiful, not to mention full of zombies. The purpose of the game is purely survival. Other players can work alongside you or can murder you and steal your supplies. It is this hostile environment and difficult gameplay that drove me to use DayZ. I like the idea that painting directly from this game, from a live screen, has it’s inherent hazards, forcing me to paint quickly and move on. If you stay stationary in DayZ you do not last very long at all.
Painting from a game displayed on a screen is much more enjoyable than painting from a photograph. The game has all the beautiful ambience, wildlife, weather changes and interaction you don’t get from a photograph.
Through this small series of work I have married the idea of traditional en plein air painting with the contemporary nature of competitive online survival games.
All works are 12” x 18” Oil on Board, 2014.
Exhibited by Third Person View as part of Far Lands in the Millennium Galleries, Sheffield during Games Britannia 2014.
Four ‘postcards’ represent the output of this project, which began as a response to digitised 3D scans of various objects from the archive of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
I found instant affinity with an Aztec mask.
The 3D scans were incredibly detailed and offered the opportunity for the file to be enlarged to the scale of a landscape.
The 3D wire mesh file was imported into a games development suite which was then used to create an interactive landscape based on the face of the mask. The Eyes and mouth became canyons and the nose developed into an unreachable peak.
The landscape was textured and decorated with inspiration from a recent trip to Mexico. Clichéd game objects were added, such as ammo crates, barbed wire and watchtowers. These textbook game objects help explore the issue of Mexico as a country with both border and political issues.
Four screenshots were taken and are presented as ‘postcards’.
The exhibition features a recorded play through of the game and viewers are invited to download their own copy to play.
Half-Life: Crate Edition
German artist Aram Bartholl describes the role of the crate in first person shooters as ’a generic, duplicatable and locationless object.’ Indeed, it is a common trait of modern gaming to lazily use such generic objects to fill space, create obstacles and provide cover from opposing forces.
Half-Life: Crate edition pokes fun at the status quo and offers a light-hearted revamp of one of the genre’s most beloved examples. Almost all of the textures in the 1998 classic have been replaced with various low resolution crate textures. The result is both humorous and disorientating.
These Landscapes deal with fictional locations from source images taken from computer games, but its from the use of paint in reproducing them that they suddenly become real. The spectator attaches properties of reality to otherwise unnatural locations.
Many of the scenes depicted are from post battlefield locations, often quite decrepit. The scenes are chosen for their eeriness and stillness, inherent in the subject matter. There is something very uneasy in these environments created for simulated violence.
The images here are also chosen for their relation to romanticised paintings touching on the historical weight of paintings within art. A number of other images were chosen and painted as smaller works but never fully completed as they held less significance to the concepts of reality I was trying to establish.
The paint is applied loosely to the board and brush marks are visible, relating to the tactile quality of the medium and allowing the scenes depicted in the paintings to exist by hinting at the supposed reality of the source image, via the historical context of painting in art.
Outpost II (Lighthouse): Oil on Board, 120x180cm
Outpost IV (Bridge): Oil on Board, 120x180cm
Outpost I (Petrol Station): Oil on Board, 120x180cm
Outpost III (Hotel): Oil on Board, 120x180cm
Outpost V (Beach House): Oil on Board, 120x180cm
The addition of the military installation adds a contemporary subject to otherwise 'dated' landscape paintings. The contemporary theme adds political weight to a painting that has nothing to do with such subject matter.
Military installation subject matter relates to the idea of the computer game shooter more than the previous landscapes, but they sacrifice the calmness and relation to historic art inherent in the landscape painting.
Watchtower I (Double Cross): Oil on Board, 120x120cm
Watchtower II (Osprey): Oil on Board, 120x120cm
STAR WARS: UNCUT
Contribution to Emmy Award winning project 'Star Wars: Uncut'
Directed by Casey Pugh.
Front page of New York Times Arts supplement
CLIFTON represents a reinvention of the Avon Gorge. The popular multiplayer game Worms has been used to recreate a two-dimensional version of the landscape with reference to level structure, comedy violence and bungee jumping. In this instance the worms are controlled by the computer and use a variety of weaponry to destroy the surrounding landscape.
You can download the map for your own copy of Worms here:
A different direction with the Skyboxes. This time I have paired computer game creation software with traditional aspects of painting. These images were generated using the same software as many games developers use to produce the skies in games.
The landscapes are influenced roughly by German Romantic painting, retaining thematic and structural parallels to the works of Casper David Friedrich. The result is a series of images that simultaneously reference the history of art and contemporary gaming culture.