Brenton Alexander Smith, Stop for a moment, machinima, 4' 42", color, sound, 2019
BRENTON ALEXANDER SMITH
67 Sydenham Road Marrickville NSW 2204
John Chamberlain meets the digital uncanny. In Brenton Smith's solo show at SCRATCH ARTSPACE in Sydney, Australia, stop for a moment, James Graham Ballard, video games, and automobiles collide and collude to create situations that appear both familiar and bizarre. Smith gives machinima a third dimension using crushed automobile parts welded together and electronic parts to bring them to simulated life. The automobiles' viscera are on display, both on the screen and in the gallery space. Both virtual and physical, these organic/mechanic/machinic creatures know and crashforms evoke Shinya Tsukamoto's cyborgian entities.
Stop for a Moment underpins an endeavour to explore the potential for nonhuman entities to elicit an affect in human viewers. The car accident is a central theme using the driving simulator video game BeamNg.drive, known for its ability to realistically simulate car crashes. By pushing the limits of what the game engine allows, Brenton Alexander Smith forces the game into a crash scenario that would be impossible in the real world producing organic-chaotic shapes in response to the extreme input, coupled with strange twitching movements that afford them a sense of nonhuman liveliness referred to as ‘crashforms’. The title of the show invites the viewer to not only take a moment to view the work but to take a break from the pressure to perform in today’s technologically driven society. Like the crashform, it invites the viewer to allow a certain vulnerability for just a little while.
Brenton Alexander Smith’s practice emerged from an interest in the relationship between humans and machines. His work explores the point of connection and disconnection between humans and the artificial in the cycle of technological renewal. He frequently draws from abandoned and damaged technical artifacts, such as crashed cars, to create works that seek to elicit an affective response in the viewer. Many of his works aim to arouse feelings of sympathy for broken or discarded machines. Smith’s practice takes form in a variety of media. In several works, the residue of car accidents acts as a sculptural material that echoes the organic through mechanical forms. These sculptures are part relic and part creature, inert yet imbued with a faint sense of liveliness. Smith graduated from the Sydney College of the Arts with honours in 2014. Since then, he completed an artist residency in Iceland, where he held his first solo exhibition at the Akureyri Art Museum. The same year Smith received the Freedman Foundation Travelling scholarship. He is currently working on an MFA at UNSW Art and Design in Sydney.
LINK: Brenton Alexander Smith (All images and videos (c) Brenton Alexander Smith)