Game Art: Tom Richardson's Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre (2017)
Tom Richardson, Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre, HD animation, stereo sound, 3 variations on a 13:35 min. loop, 2017 (excerpt)
Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre is the title of one Tom Richardson's new projects. For the past year, the British artist living in Vancouver, Canada has been experimenting with the Unreal Engine. The results are impressive. Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre was recently presented at the Capture Photography Festival in Vancouver (reviewed by Akimbo's contributor Steffanie Ling here), comprising an installation featuring an animated film, a series of prints, and a second video that served as window display in the gallery. Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre is a mashup repurposed from David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962) that pays particular attention to the controversial Sykes-Picot agreement between the United Kingdom and France. Headless historical figures - representing the various Super Powers of the day - discuss the fate of the World, redefining the geopolitical order of an entire region. The theatrical nature of History - its overt performative, spectacular aspects and the behind-the-curtains machinations by the élites - is rendered through computer animation, another form of deception.
Tom Richardson, Curtain Call from the Ruin of High Hope, Single channel video HD animation, silent, 04:34 min. loop, 2017
Still image from Tom Richardson, Rehearsal for a Synthetic Theatre, 2017. [source]
Mr. Dryden, Inkjet print, 16×20”, 2017, Edition of 3 (left); Dieffenbachia Amoena, Digital c print, 11×14”, 2017, Edition of 3 (right) [source]
Tom Richardson (b. 1990, Hastings UK) is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Vancouver, he holds a BFA from Emily Carr University where he received the 2015 President’s Media Award for best installation. Richardson’s cinematically infused works seek to reframe historical events for a contemporary context through drawing lines of research both from historical accounts and narrative fictions. Centred around animation, Richardson’s practice expands to include sculpture, installation and 2D works. Richardson is a founding member of Duplex, a DIY art space that hosts a gallery and studios on Fraser Street in Vancouver.