CHRIS HOWLETT, How To Get An Education, 2016-19, 1-channel synched, HD video (16:9), Stereo, PAL. Duration: 6:00 mins
Chris Howlett uses interactive video, performance and sound art, site-specific sculpture, machinima, and painting to explore a number of fundamental questions around the way in which new technologies affect society. In How To Get An Education, the artist uses the image of a carpet as a canvas, or rather, a screen, onto which he projects memes, gifs, images, game characters and animation, symbols and corporate logos, to explore the geopolitical reality of global warfare that effects and drives online video gaming and trends.
As the Howlett writes,
How to Get An Education is an allegory of conquest. The depiction of the Iraq War is the dominate feature of the first half of the film using Afghan war rug style, while the second half explores meme culture through a modern IKEA designed carpet. Furthermore, I wanted the projected image to map onto the body of the spectator as they walk across the field of colour and to function as another screen. The viewer’s body underneath the projection is now directly implicated in the larger context of a global-technological conflict, geopolitics, or consumerist behaviours. What does it mean to participate as an actor on this stage filled with digital explosions, weird pixelated video game icons, corporate logos, memes, masks, or western and eastern carpet design? Where does their responsibility lie in preventing war, facilitating it, ignoring it, or resisting it? What role can internet culture play in this scenario?
Howlett graduated with a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2000. His works have been exhibited internationally in festivals including the GamerZ in Marseille, 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 is currently based in Brisbane, Queensland.
LINK: Chris Howlett