Chris Howlett, Untitled Swarm, 2017. excerpt/preview only. Warning: stroboscopic, flashy colors.
A new video piece by Australian artist Chris Howlett, Untitled Swarm, shows "different 3D models used as the generic game asset for representing the dual image of the player as either Terrorist or Rebel." The video is vaguely reminiscent of Brody Condon's Adam Killer (1999), but the overall impact is more grotesque. Both artists work by subtraction and recontextualization. As Howlett writes, "Abstracted from their stereotypical gaming environments and third world-surroundings of desert, mud and dust they strobe in infinite space. They drift without a purpose – frozen in a hypnotic background of Photoshop pallet swatches that strobe and loop endlessly, forever trapped, in a never-ending cycle of pulsing colour." The title, swarm, is evocative of a recent Byung-Chul Han's powerful treatise on digital culture, In The Swarm.
Chris Howlett (b. 1974, Kokopo, Papua, New Guinea) graduated with a MFA from the Californian Institute of the Arts in 2000. His works have been exhibited internationally in festivals including GAMERZ in Marseille, 16 France, Inter-Society of Electronic Arts in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Videoholica International Video Art Festival in Bulgaria, Los Angeles Freewaves Festival of Film, Video and New Media and exhibited work at the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California. His solo and collaborative works have also been exhibited locally at the Gallery of Modern Art, Institute of Modern Art, the QUT Art Museum, The Arc Biennial for Art & Design and interstate at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Hobart Art Gallery, Cairns Contemporary Art Space and Blindside Artist Run Space in Melbourne. His public art commissions include “KICK OFF” which was a curated screen-based program at the new Metricon Stadium Homeground of the Gold Coast Suns and Australia’s largest public art canvas the QUT billboard project. In 2012, he was part of the DJ Culture: Contemporary Australian Video Art, screening in the Cinémathèque at Gallery of Modern Art and in 2013 underwent a residency in Armenia at Tumo – center for creative technologies where he completed a series of Alternate Reality Games called ARGARMENIA. He currently lives and works in Brisbane, Queensland.
LINK: Chris Howlett (Images and video courtesy of the Artist)