machinima/digital video (1920 x 1080), color, sound, 37’ 06”, United States, 2023
Created by Brent Watanabe
The latest work by Brent Watanabe is a thought-provoking exploration of the intersection between virtual reality and contemporary culture. Originally conceived as a semi-narrative interactive experience, MINE spans eight mesmerizing episodes, each presenting a different facet of our complex relationship with consumption, waste, the environment, and the digital world. Originally presented on Meta/Facebook's VR platform Horizon Worlds, visitors are invited to journey through a kaleidoscopic array of immersive and fully-realized virtual environments, each revealing a new layer of insight and critique. From the grotesque realities of animal exploitation to the dark allure of gaming, guns, and surveillance, MINE is a bold and unflinching statement on the pressing issues of our time. The original work has been reimagined as a single-channel walk-through video edited by the artist for VRAL.
Brent Watanabe’s art practice defies categorization, fusing traditional techniques with cutting-edge technology to create installations that are at once visually arresting and intellectually engaging. Drawing on his extensive background in drawing and sculpture, Watanabe uses computer programming and electronics to create kinetic sculptures that are at the forefront of a new wave of digital art. Watanabe’s work has been recognized both nationally and internationally, with his groundbreaking 2016 project, San Andreas Deer Cam, receiving over 800,000 visitors in its first three months alone and being featured in publications such as New York Magazine, the BBC, and WIRED. In addition to his solo work, Watanabe has participated in group shows and screenings around the world, including Through Machine Eyes at the NeMe Arts Center in Limassol, Cyprus, Game Changers at MassArt Art Museum in Boston, and Playmode at the MATT Museum in Lisbon, Portugal. With recent solo exhibitions at prestigious venues such as SOIL Art Gallery, McLeod Residency, Jack Straw New Media Gallery, Gallery 4Culture, Anchor Art Space, and the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival, Watanabe continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of digital art.