Home Art The seduction of CGI and the bounds of the self

The seduction of CGI and the bounds of the self


Bassam Al-Sabah, IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS!, 2022, CGI video, color, sound, 30 minutes.

Bassam Al-Sabah queers gaming tradition and its fetish of the armoured male physique in his solo exhibition “IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS,” at the moment on view at The Douglas Hyde by March 5. Under, Al-Sabah discusses the psychic and bodily disintegration his character undergoes within the present’s eponymous CGI video—a hyperreal dreamscape that probes the bounds of masculinity, subjectivity, and illustration.

AS A CHILD, I performed a whole lot of video video games. I didn’t go many locations past my home, my college, and my grandad’s home, so my interplay with panorama actually got here from video video games. I’m fascinated by how panorama is represented and navigated in video video games, and within the relationship between the participant determine and the encircling surroundings.

The title of my new movie is borrowed from the online game The Legend of Zelda and connotes a journey that isn’t straightforward or secure. The piece options the identical character from my final movie, I AM ERROR, 2021, in which there’s extra deal with him partaking with incredible creatures, akin to a fairy and a dragon. There’s a weightlessness to his physique within the new movie, however he’s loaded with inner turmoil. The character is just not a human, however I’m permitting him to be represented as such onscreen, as his physique convulses from an outpouring of feelings.

CGI is seductive. I’m not afraid of that—I take pleasure in being actively seduced in an artwork area. The flowers are swaying in a barely seductive method on objective. However each on occasion that phantasm is damaged, and your eye catches these clearly empty buildings with strings holding them in place. There’s a hollowness to all of the issues I create. The hollowness is most pronounced when the boundary between the character’s physique and the panorama round him dissipates. He’s in a continuing state of orbiting, or falling, or coming into the concept of nothingness. The objects, the determine, and the texts that seem on-screen have a strained relationship to one another; the panorama is out of scale with the figures, and there may be nearly a failure on the a part of the varied components to commit to one another.

I attempted to present the determine inner organs with a few 3-D fashions that simply wouldn’t work collectively. The bones stick out and the interior guts don’t match within the abdomen. I ended up overworking a scene the place he was disappearing slowly, however then his guts appeared after which fell out. It was sort of gross. And I assumed, how does the mannequin decompose? Not the illustration of a decay. However how would a mannequin decay? This decaying physique is considerably disgusting, which is extra thrilling to me than a sanitized physique.

I’ve been going to the Douglas Hyde since once I was in artwork college, so it holds a extremely particular place in my reminiscence. I stuffed the gallery with sculptural fragments in dialogue with scenes from the movie, arranging them to assemble a sort of incoherent panorama. You could possibly say the sculptures are an extension of the movie, and vice versa. Each medium, together with CGI, has its limitations, and it’s fascinating to push towards them whereas additionally permitting this system to exist by itself phrases. Therefore the flatness of the polystyrene sculptures, which stand in distinction with the shiny, shimmery determine within the movie, although they each share the identical hypersynthetic high quality.

The character doesn’t have a lot company. His tears overwhelm his physique. Finally, he’s uncomfortable with the facility that he’s been given. At no level does he appear comfortable when he transforms to change into hypermasculine. He’s solely content material within the final scene, the place he floats by the sky with flowers rising out of his physique.


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