ALASKA Projects, Kings Cross, Sydney.

2015 - Present

Portraiture as playable game.

A Portrait of Bradbury in Gamer Space is both an online portrait work and installation project. In 2015 the work was given a home (and a continued existence) through ALASKA Projects Gallery in Sydney. The work is presently hosted as a part of their online gallery project, ALASKA Online, and the work can be downloaded here:

 A Portrait of Bradbury in Gamer Space – ALASKA Projects, Kings Cross, Sydney - ALASKA online

A physical component of the work was also developed specifically for ALASKA Projects Gallery. It involved the installation what can only be described as a "Lair."

The concerns of this particular work are layered within the context of installation, interactivity, game design, simulation, documentary, video, history and portraiture. Portraiture, once an antique medium reserved for the preservation of ruling class figures, has been re-contextualised in this work through non-objective orientated game-design. The expansion of the medium of portraiture into that of game design is unique and open to further exploration. At present, this particular work operates as a virtual sculpture garden with the  dedicated subject being Garry Bradbury of Severed Heads fame. Through the use of consumer grade technologies and techniques (A similar styling to Garry's own experimental music production), the work explores and expands upon a myriad of different tropes, methodologies and practices that, whilst on their own could be viewed as generic, together form a complex web of interdisciplinary exchanges and ideas that can be received as deeply or  superficially as the viewer/player wants.

Being a work that occupies such a wide plethora of artistic modes, it is natural that the ideas presented within A Portrait of Bradbury in Gamer Space occasionally operate in a conflated manner. Bradbury is an iconic and pioneering figure in the history of Australian electronic and experimental music. Having been a member of the seminal electronic post-punk outfit Severed Heads, he is a unique personality that reminds us of an important period in Australia’s musical and avant-garde heritage.

Bradbury’s practice has covered a vast amount of ground in terms of musical experimentation and performance. He is an influential figure in shaping the ideas and identity of experimental Australian music. Working from the sub-cultural mores of the post-punk and industrial movements that have existed from the 1970’s through to the present, where skill in the context of musicality was of little value compared to the effect of industrial sounds (where the “ultimate end of the industrial object is failure”), [1] this particular portrait and installation seeks to explore and expose similar junctures that exist within the realm of simulacrum, portraiture, biography, digital decay, isolation and addiction. Whilst assessing the politics and aesthetics of a connected digital age, one can witness the rise of similar concerns that were shared in part by Bradbury’s post-punk generation. This is the concern that humans were/are becoming increasingly disconnected from their natural/immediate surrounds through a subservience to unthinking technologies and processes. However, where noise and experimentation with electronic audio were used in order to challenge and amplify the more discordant aspects of Bradbury’s own era, A Portrait of Bradbury in Gamer Space seeks to address and heighten the broader disconnects we have in our current era as interactive 3D technologies begin to confuse the line between education and entertainment, solitude and isolation, reality and play.

As we have moved beyond the age of mechanical reproduction into that of digital simulation, it is likely that these lines will become increasingly blurred.

[1] Paul Hegarty, Noise/Music (New York and London: The
Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd, 2007), 112-113